BYE BYE BLACKHEADS:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Article Read Duration 3 min read

At La Roche-Posay we’re often asked what causes blackheads, and how to treat them. It’s a complicated topic, so we’ve enlisted our Acne Skincare Expert, Rachel McAdam, to help you on the road to porefection.

Here she sorts the fact from fiction and discusses the best skincare for blackheads

WHAT ARE BLACKHEADS?

Blackheads are a common form of blemish that typically appear on the oilier t-zone area of the forehead, nose and chin, but can also occur on the chest and back. Specifically, they are open comedones – small bumps that appear when a pore is blocked with sebum (oil) and/or dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria.

 

What Causes These Blockages?

These blockages occur when the cells that line the pore accumulate rather than turnover and shed away. When the skin’s natural oil combines with the skin cells inside this pore, it creates a ‘plug’. Factors that contributes to blackheads include oily skin, sluggish cell turnover, and environmental factors such as cosmetics, pollution and humidity.

 

Why Are Blackheads "Black"?

Whiteheads are closed comedones, while blackheads are open comedones. With blackheads, the pore is open at the skin’s surface and there is a dark yellow, brown or ‘black’ appearance. This is because oxygen interacts with the blocked oils and oxidation takes place. This process makes oils look darker

HOW DO BLACKHEADS WORK?

Can't I Just Scrub Blackheads Away?

No. An over-zealous approach can cause more harm than good. As with all types of acne, a gentle cleansing routine and chemical, rather than physical, exfoliation is essential to remove dead skin cells and debris from deep in the pore. You need to consider what is happening far below the surface of the skin.

 

Is It Ever OK to Just Squeeze Blackheads?

We don’t recommend squeezing blackheads – unless done by a doctor. This process can damage the skin and cause a rebound effect. Also, you’ll risk infection from bacteria on fingers which can lead to an acne flare up. It is always best to give your skin the tools it needs to make cell turnover more efficient and balance the oil on the skin.

 

Do Blackhead Strips Work?

Pore strips will give a cosmetic ‘fix’ by removing dead skin cells and dirt from the skin. Hence the blackhead might not be as visible. But they do nothing to stop more blackheads from appearing, and can cause irritation on more sensitive skins.

 

Why Do My Blackheads Come Back After I've Squeezed Them?

See answer above! If you are not regulating oil production and using ingredients that prevent blockages from occurring, blackheads will remain a persistent problem.

WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE
FOR BLACKHEADS?

 

Can't I Just Close My Pores?

You might have heard the saying that pores are not windows – this is true. They don’t open and close. However, pores tend to be wider when there is a higher volume of oil in the skin. So oil regulation is key to improving the appearance of pores.

 

What Products Are Best For Treating Blackheads?

You need a regime that both unplugs the pore and targets the cause of the blockages. La Roche-Posay has created the Effaclar range for tailored acne management.

The first step is twice daily cleansing with a soap-free, pH balanced cleanser designed for oily skins, such as Effaclar Foaming Gel. (Makeup removal is obviously a non-negotiable if you want squeaky clean pores!)

 
Blackhead-prone skins still need moisture, as dehydrated skins will actually produce more oil to compensate. So opt for a non-comedogenic, oil-free product that hydrates while regulating sebum production. Effaclar Mat is a mattifying, pore refining daily moisturiser that reduces sebum production with a powerful new active ingredient called Sebulyse.

Opt for products that contain beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid and lipohydroxy acid (LHA). These have a keratolytic action, gently exfoliating the skin and preventing blockages. Effaclar Mat contains LHA to visibly refine the skin, while Effaclar Duo Plus contains both LHA and salicylic acid to increase cellular turnover, as well as linoleic acid to target the pores.
 

TRUE
OR FALSE

SUGAR CAN MAKE
ACNE WORSE.

TRUE

Recent studies haves hown that high Glycemic Index foods - the ones that cause blood sugar to spike- can make acne worse.  We know it's easier said than done, but to keep your skin happy, steer away from sweets, sugary drinks, and goodies made from white flour and stick to high-fiber foods, like whole grains and pulses, instead.
Learn More

SQUEEZING A PIMPLE WON'T
DO YOU MUCH GOOD.

TRUE

Even if it seems like a quick fix, squeezing a pimple will actually make things worse for your acne-prone skin as it could actually damage the infected hair follicle and increase inflammation. You could even introduce a new infection with your fingernails.So popping zits is a harmful habit and best avoided.
Learn More

CHOCOLATE IS BAD
FOR ANE-PRONE SKIN.

FALSE

There is no solid evidence that chocolate has any effect on acne, even if everyone is different so acne could cause breakouts to some people. Dark chocolate is actually filled with skin-loving anti-oxidants.
Learn More

OILY FOODS
EQUALS OILY SKIN.

FALSE

Acommon acne myth is that grease on your plate translates to more oil in yourpores, but there is no direct link between the two. However, a diet rich insaturated fat can fuel micro-inflammation in all of the body's organs,including the skin.  In short, bacon andchips won't cause acne, but moderation is the best policy for overall health.
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WE ALSO HAVE
A RANGE FOR THAT

EFFACLAR is a complete range of anti-imperfection solutions that targets all the stages of the imperfection life cycle with a high efficacy, while ensuring a perfect tolerance.