Is it a Blackhead? And How to Treat it! - Really Ree
By Ree

Is it a Blackhead? And How to Treat it!

19 Mar 2015 (Updated: 20 Jan 2019)

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My great friend and business partner Stephanie Collins beat me to this article on the difference between Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments. I have included some of her article within as it is a great read for those who wish to know the more about the subject.


Do You Squeeze?

A great cause for concern for many of us is congestion around the nose and chin area. The accumulation of ‘blackheads’ can sometimes make the nose look like the seeded strawberry and cause us to squeeze the area to extract them. This isn’t such a good idea!

Blackheads are a build up of dead skin cells, sweat and bacteria. The reason they have the ‘Blackhead’ is because they are open to ‘oxidation’. On extracting or squeezing the blackhead you will find it will have a plug like appearance that is waxy with the distinctive black head.

It is recommended that the extraction of blackheads should be performed by a therapist as it can cause further damage to the surrounding areas if done incorrectly.

Not a blackhead?

Sebaceous Filaments appear as pin like dots over the nose, upper cheeks, chin and forehead. They can be grey/tan/flesh coloured and tend to be grouped together.  If pressure is applied they pop out like whitish spikes. They tend to plentiful and quite literally never ending, made up of  skeleton of 10-30 horny cell layers which enclose a mixture of bacteria and our naturally occurring sebum which is present in our skin / pores / hair follicles. There is no getting rid of them – even when extracted they refill within 30 days – usually sooner. There is no treatment a skincare professional can offer to banish sebaceous filaments for good. 

Why do we get them?

One of the main roles of sebum is its purpose as a waterproof barrier on our skin it keeps our skin healthy and protected by fighting bacterial and fungal infection. So even if we could, we wouldn’t want to get rid of it all together would we?

In years gone by when we (Steph and I) were teenagers, there were a constant stream of adverts with the promise of banishing the unwanted blackheads with the wonders of Clearasil that would quite frankly strip the lacquer from any wooden furniture let alone putting it on the skin. More so now there are the strips that you place over the nose and chin that evict the unwanted lodgers from vicinity along with any healthy skin that may be just minding its own business!


Regular cleansing, exfoliation and protection is the key. Skincare products such as charcoal/kaolin masks are excellent for drawing out impurities and excess oil, gentle facial scrubs used twice a week paying particular attention to the troublesome areas will also help. Regular treatments with your skin therapist will also be a great investment in reducing pore size and refine the skin as the therapist will focus on using advanced ingredients like AHA’s, BHA’s and Enzyme peels within the treatment.

So step away from the magnifying mirror, stop squeezing to oblivion and take comfort in the fact we all have them! it is quite normal and very manageable.

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One thought on “Is it a Blackhead? And How to Treat it!

  1. I have found that the most effective way to get rid of blackheads is Paula’s Choice BHA 2% lotion. I’ve tried the 4% lotion and it is too harsh. It took about a week of daily application on my nose to see results. I have tried so many other products including masks and Biore pore strips but the blackheads kept coming back.

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