They're formed similarly to a regular pimple, as they are still trapped sebum in your pore.
But instead of sitting on top of your skin, they sit level to the pore.
This sebum becomes oxidized in the air, as the skin is open, and ends up getting hard and tacky.
This makes it hard to remove from your skin.
So now you have a general idea to answer the question, "What are blackheads?" Now, you want to know what they look like.
Unlike reddish zits with white tops, these look like yellowish-gray freckles.
They like to congregate around your nose especially.
If you look closely at the faces of teen adults and young adults - and even some not-so-young adults - you'll see a whole spread of blackheads.
However, you don't usually see them unless you're about a foot away.
Now, do these blackheads heal like acne does? Unfortunately, not usually.
Regular acne responds to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but these ingredients to little to nothing for a blackhead.
The issue is that the skin is so tightly packed around the blackhead that extracting it - or getting anything into it - becomes incredibly difficult.
Because it's already oxidized, or dried out, the drying agents of regular acne medication has little effect.
So, your "what are blackheads" really isn't solved until you find some removal methods that really work.
Here are some of the best methods for removing blackheads.
- Steaming: Steam your face over a pot of boiling hot water.
But don't stick it too close to the water! You just want the steam to soften your skin and relax your pores.
Steam for 15 minutes, then move onto the next step.
- Remove with a blackhead removal tool: Take the looped end of a blackhead removal tool and scrape it gently across your blackheads.
Apply gentle pressure - just enough to squeeze out the comedone, but not so much you leave red marks and scars.
- Blackhead "vacuum" cleaner: Invest in a blackhead product that dries out and cleanses the pores.
These are sometimes called "pore vacuum cleaners" because they suck out all the impurities.
But really, as long as you get a blackhead-specific treatment, you can skip the gimmicky nicknames and just treat your spots.
You can apply a mask of beaten egg whites, let it dry for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.
This helps reseal the pores so they don't pick up a lot more bacteria - at which point you're back to where you started with clogged pores.