Closed comedones go away

How do I get rid of blackheads?

Since blackhead acne does not have any inflammatory symptoms, it can be treated very effectively with just small adjustments. Here you can find out how blackheads arise and which aspects you should pay attention to in terms of skin care, lifestyle and nutrition.

What is blackhead acne?

The term "blackhead acne" (acne comedonica) colloquially describes a mild form of common acne (acne vulgaris) in which no inflammatory symptoms (e.g. pimples) occur, but only oily skin and open and closed comedones (blackheads) comes. The T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) of the face is mainly affected, as there are a particularly large number of sebum glands (skin fat glands) in this area.

The blackheads can come in two different forms: white blackheads (whiteheads) and blackheads (blackheads). Whiteheads are closed blackheads caused by the build-up of sebum under the skin. Blackheads lie exposed at the opening of the skin pore. The dark color arises because the body's own pigment melanin (which is responsible, among other things, for the development of pimple marks) reacts with oxygen. Since open blackheads easily come into contact with bacteria, they can be responsible for the development of inflammatory symptoms such as pimples and papules even with mild acne (acne comedonica).

Do I have blackhead acne? Have it tested now!

If you are still unsure whether your skin blemishes are blackhead acne, our experienced dermatologists will be happy to help you. Simply fill out our online questionnaire: Your skin will be analyzed and you will receive a professional assessment (including treatment recommendations).

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Causes: How do blackheads arise?

In many cases, blackheads have hormonal causes. They therefore occur particularly frequently during puberty or during major hormonal changes in adult life (e.g. discontinuation of the birth control pill, pregnancy). In hormonal (blackhead) acne, an excess of male sex hormones (androgens) leads to the simultaneous production of sebum being promoted and the skin becoming keratinized. The result: the discharge ducts narrow, the sebum can no longer properly escape from the skin and blockages occur, which become visible as blackheads.

Experts also assume that the predisposition to acne is hereditary and that, in addition to diet, the following factors can also play a role in the development of blackheads:

  • Use of cosmetic or care products (e.g. sun cream) with a high fat content or comedogenic (pore-closing) ingredients
  • Use of certain medications (e.g. vitamin B supplements, sedatives containing bromine)
  • Consumption of cigarettes / nicotine
  • Contact with bakery textiles (e.g. rarely washed towels)
  • Stay in places with high humidity

Formation of blackheads: what role does diet play?

Current studies have shown that an “incorrect” diet can also play an important role in the development of blackheads: Short-chain carbohydrates cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly. In response to this, the body produces more insulin, which not only converts energy but also promotes sebum production. Blackheads can also arise if the following foods are part of your regular menu:

Every skin is different and the foods mentioned do not automatically have to have an influence on the complexion of your skin. You can test the effects very easily by removing the food (groups) from your meal plan for a few weeks and recording the reaction of your skin in a diet diary.

Treatment: How do I get rid of blackheads?

Blackheads are not dangerous, do not itch or hurt and in many cases go away on their own over time. If they do not bother you personally and no other symptoms (e.g. pimples) arise from them, they do not necessarily have to be treated (dermatologically). Since blackhead acne can also represent an early stage of mild acne, it is advisable to counteract the blackheads with at least the right cleaning and care in order to prevent the possible development of inflammation symptoms at an early stage.

What can I do against my blackheads?

To find the right treatment for your blackhead acne, you can simply fill out our online questionnaire. You give our experienced dermatologists the opportunity to analyze the complexion of your skin and show you which treatments and ingredients are right for your skin.

Certified experts

The doctors we work with are certified experts in their field.

Remove blackheads with the right care products

In order to combat blackheads as effectively as possible, comedolytic (blackhead dissolving) agents such as benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and salicylic acid are particularly helpful. They can be found in many over-the-counter acne remedies available at pharmacies or drug stores. When choosing products, you should also make sure that the following criteria are met:

  • Mainly dermatologically tested ingredients (e.g. zinc, aloe vera, panthenol, bisabolol from chamomile)
  • No skin-damaging alcohols (e.g. Alcohol Denat., Ethanol, Benzyl Alcohol)
  • No comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, isopropyl myristate, oleth-3)
  • low pH

Even if creams and care products may smell less good as a result, you should also avoid products with perfumes and fragrances, as these can trigger contact allergies. Disinfectants should also not play a role in the treatment of blackheads, as they can weaken the skin's natural protective barrier and thus stimulate sebum production.

If you are unsure which active ingredients are the right ones or whether the blackheads should be treated differently, a dermatologist can advise you.

Dermatological treatment of blackheads

Even if dermatological treatment is not absolutely necessary if the blackheads do not bother you: If you have a particularly large number of blackheads or skin care alone does not show any effect, prescription acne medication in the form of creams and gels can be a good option for blackhead acne to counteract. The dermatologist can adapt the active ingredients of the cream individually to your skin and also add supporting ingredients (e.g. niacinamides). A combination of the following active ingredients helps to combat blackheads effectively:

  • Retinoids / vitamin A derivatives (e.g. tretinoin, adapalene)
  • Benzoyl peroxide (BPO)
  • Azelaic acid
  • Salicylic acid

Get rid of blackheads: which home remedies work?

Home remedies such as steam baths, healing clay or masks can help open pores and allow excess sebum to drain away. However, we advise you to try mainly natural or herbal home remedies. Although they can also suffer from intolerance or side effects, the risk is generally lower.

Counteract blackheads through an adapted lifestyle

In addition to the nutritional factors mentioned, there are also a number of personal lifestyle aspects that a change can help to get rid of blackheads. This includes:

  • Lots of sport / exercise
  • Do not use make-up with comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients
  • Refrain from cigarettes and alcohol
  • Reduce stress factors as much as possible

Can I express blackheads?

Whether blackheads or pimples - we do not recommend expressing symptoms of acne. Blackhead acne does not usually cause inflammation on its own. By pressing on the blackheads, however, you ensure that underground inflammation occurs or that additional bacteria get into the open areas of the skin. In addition to painful inflammation, this can also result in a significantly increased risk of scars and acne marks.