Blackhead Causes: Find Out the Ways to Prevent and Correct

blackhead causes

Blackhead Causes and Solutions

While this isn't the most appealing topic to touch on, many people ask the question: What causes blackheads, and how can we get rid of them?

Blackheads can make anyone feel very self-conscious, especially if they’re quite visible. They can make face to face experiences daunting. They can also become worse with time, especially if they are not addressed. Cosmetic wearers can inadvertently make them worse by continually applying primers and makeup to cover them, thus deepening their effect into the hair follicles and never really eliminating them.

Our Charcoal Detoxifying Exfoliation Scrub contains a long list of plant derived active ingredients to help reduce and eliminate blackheads and breakouts.

What are Blackheads?

When the opening of a pore or hair follicle becomes clogged with sebum (oil), dead skin cells, cosmetics, and comedogenic ingredients, it then solidifies, and then the surface color of the clog often darkens. This is what is commonly called a blackhead. There are a number of skin conditions in which blackheads are an important component. The medical name of this structure is a comedo.

Blackheads can appear on various parts of the body, primarily on the nose, cheeks, back, and chest – but in other areas as well.

How are Blackheads Different than Whiteheads?

A blackhead is more like a plug of dead skin cells and sebum that is discolored. It is also known as a comedone (as noted above). A whitehead is a closed comedone. A blocked pore that stays open is a blackhead, while a pore that closes up is called a whitehead.

Another distinction is that blackheads are less irritated, while whiteheads can be in an irritated flared state. The irritation is associated with the infected state of the whitehead clogged pore due to the proliferation of acne bacteria. Blackheads are less irritated and almost dormant, so they’re not necessarily infected, but instead a clog that needs to be cleared without causing inflammation.

If you’ve ever tried to unclog a blackhead, and causes some irritation, swelling, or inflammation, they you might have then experienced a whitehead or pimple response as a result. The key is to gently and carefully eliminate the blackheads without causing a disruption.

"Beautiful skin requires commitment - not a miracle."

Blackhead Causes

Blackheads are caused when sebum secreting pores in the skin are blocked. Skin follicles typically contain one hair and a sebaceous gland that produces oil. It might sound confusing, but the oil helps keep your skin soft and hydrated so it’s definitely a good oil to have to some degree, but you don’t want to have too much of an excess of that oil.

Dirt, oil, and debris build up. The primary culprit is actually pore clog accumulation which can be dead skin cells, sebum and even makeup.

Excessive sweating from exercise, heat, or stress can cause pores to go into overdrive – compounded with skin that’s under-cleansed their skin after exercise. The dirt and debris can imbed itself into the pores. Keep in mind that exercise is very good for your skin, and if you don’t have an exercise routine, implementing one is a great thing for your skin, body, and mind. But the cleansing aspect is imperative. If you’re short on time, bring a pack of face wipes and use them until you have a break later to do a proper wash.

Cosmetics and haircare products can also cause pores to clog. Prevent hair products from coming into contact with your skin by putting your hair back while you get ready. Be sure to cleanse your entire hairline in the evening to remove any residual results of products reaching your face.

Oily skin types can be more prone to blackheads. If you currently have an oily skin, here are some tips to help you reduce dirt and bacteria: Don’t touch your face, wipe your phone off regularly with a phone safe cleansing product to eliminate dirt, bacteria, and grime, as well as wash your hands to help prevent and accumulation of dirt and oils.

Natural Ways to Treat Blackheads

First thing’s first, there are a few things you can do it reduce and prevent blackheads, in your day to day life routine:

Change out of sweaty or dirty clothes as soon as possible.

Cleanse skin in the most effective way you can as soon as you can, until you can do a more thorough job at a later time. Toners and wipes are quite handy while away from home.

Wear natural fibers to help skin breath more naturally and reduce the chance of trapped dirt, oil, and sweat.

Ingredients to Reduce and Prevent Blackheads

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid helps reduce blackheads because it penetrates the pore and clears out all that trapped material and also encourages cell turnover. Find a product that includes salicylic acid, and you’ll be on the road to clearer pores and skin.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has been a long time favorite of skin care experts who realize it’s important benefits, especially for acneic skin or skin with blackheads. While it is an oil, and you should not add it directly to the skin without diluting it slightly, it is one of your top options. Finding products with tea tree oil is an excellent idea. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help you correct your blackhead issue quite effectively.

Acids (AHA, Lactic, etc.): Topical acids are one of the top ways to keep your skin clear, as well as a top contender for anti-aging, since acids will gradually lift away dead skin cells and generate new skin growth. Using products with glycolic acid is an incredibly effective way for reducing and clearing blackheads because it acids are a smaller molecule, which means it can penetrate deeper into the pores to dissolve oil and dirt.

Manual Exfoliation: Scrubs and skin care brushes designed for cleansing are excellent options for a manual exfoliation step. Here you can literally remove the dirt, oil, and dead skin reducing your chance of accumulating blackheads, and help your skin prevent the clogging of pores going forward. Stick to skin loving and natural ingredients, versus harsh chemicals and ingredients. Those will not only strip your skin of too much necessary and protective oils, but it will then cause your skin to create even more oil to compensate and stress your skin out – which of course causes pore to be inflamed and brings on the opportunity for breakouts. Remember: gentle and natural.

Vitamin A / Retinoids: Retinoids can help prevent the kind of pore clogging that ultimately lead to blackheads, as well as speeding up your skin's cell turnover. This is why it’s also a favorite among anti-aging skin care experts.

Green Tea: Green tea is an anti-inflammatory and well as an anti-bacteria ingredient, which is a great choice for clearing up skin of blackheads. Green tea also helps break the cycle of too much oil production, either due to skin type or hormones. Both of these functions of green tea on the skin make it an excellent choice for blackhead removal and prevention.

Clay: Clay products help to draw oils and toxins out of the skin, which helps to unclog pores. Using a natural ingredient based mask with clay in it is a must have if you’re dealing with blackheads.

Sulfur: Sulfur is an excellent ingredient to look for when dealing with blackheads, because it can help with blackheads, as it targets the two main causes: the build up of dead skin cells and the production (and sometimes over production ) of sebum.

Our Charcoal Detoxifying Exfoliation Scrub contains a long list of plant derived active ingredients to help reduce and eliminate blackheads and breakouts:


There are easy solutions and steps you can take to reduce and eliminate blackheads. Blackhead causes are easy to remedy if you change a few simple things about your daily routine.

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Jeanette @

I'm a formulator and skin care expert, wife, parent, and fur baby mom. I specialize in active ingredient research and studies, and share that information with you via our blog and products. Please reach out anytime you have questions!