The Cause Of Blackheads in Men's SkinMany men are annoyed or puzzled about how to get rid of blackheads (comedones) or whiteheads (milia). So what’s the fuss all about? Mainly, products that claim they can get rid of blackheads don’t work and the problem continues. Instead of improving the condition in men’s skin, they make matters worst. Blackheads, found in oily skin, and whiteheads, found in either dry or oily skin are just hard to banish. Even though it is hard to overcome clogged pores, there are things you can do to improve your skin.
So what’s the cause of blackheads and whiteheads? A normal functioning pore generates a normal amount of sebum or oil. When a normal amount of oil is generated, it effortlessly moves through the pore and out onto the surface of skin, where it develops into a hardly noticeable film forming a protective, healthy barrier over the face. The amount of oil produced is regulated by hormones, specifically androgens, which are the hormones that create masculine human characteristics.
When hormones trigger too much sebum or oil to be produced, dead skin cells are in the way and the pore is damaged or misshapen. The path for the oil is then blocked, creating a clog, which creates an ideal environment for blackheads and whiteheads to occur. Aggravating these conditions further are the use of men’s skin care products that have ingredients similar to the composition of sebum (human sebum is a mixture of triglycerides, fatty acids, wax esters, squalene, cholesterol, and cholesterol esters). All these substances are normally found in thousands of skin care products and they can absorb into the pore and add on to the build up of sebum. Interestingly and contrary to popular belief, mineral oil and petrolatum cannot absorb into the pore because their molecular size is too large. Both ingredients feel greasy, especially on oily skin, but neither has been proven to clog pores or contribute to blackheads. When a combination of skin cells and too much sebum are trapped inside a pore and the pore is not covered over by skin, the clog is exposed to air, causing cells and sebum to oxidize and resulting in the dark color of a blackhead. When the sebum and skin cells are inside a pore that is covered by skin, they are not exposed to air and therefore stay clear, but form a slight white bump under the skin.
So why do some men have whiteheads and not blackheads and why does the problem occur in certain parts of the face but not others? Why do some men break out from certain products but not getting any blackheads? Why do certain products trigger blackheads but not acne? There are no specific answers to those questions. It appears to be mainly a genetic predisposition accompanied by the right conditions (mentioned above) randomly taking place in any one of the thousands of pores we have on our face. Not to mention an unknown reaction to the thousands and thousands of different men’s skin care ingredients we may come in contact with from the various products we use.