Here's How to CheckPosted on June 24, 2022 Written by: 100% PURE®
All too often mistaken for blackheads, sebaceous filaments are actually perfectly normal, and if you have them, you are absolutely not alone, and you have nothing to be concerned about.
However, the confusion surrounding sebaceous filaments has led most individuals to attempt to get rid of them in ineffective ways.
We’re here to dispel the differences between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, as well as how to properly manage them for happier, smaller-looking pores.
Sebaceous filaments are tiny, tube-like structures that are found naturally occurring in the skin. Like blackheads, they are a normal occurrence in the skin, and their purpose is to help modify oil flow.
Sebaceous filaments are formed when the pores fill up with oil, which then becomes those tiny dots you might notice across your nose and cheeks.
The oil produced by your skin and found in sebaceous filaments is what’s known as sebum, and it functions to moisturize and protect the skin.
Sebum is redirected from the skin’s glands and onto the surface through sebaceous filaments, where it then works to fight aggressors and pollutants from your environment.
But when there’s an overproduction of sebum in your pores, the oil can build up and begin to clog, consequently stretching out the pore until it becomes visible to the naked eye.
When they reach this state, it makes sense that many individuals mistake their sebaceous filaments for blackheads, as they can often look pretty similar.
So what are the differences between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, anyway?
The confusion between sebaceous filaments and blackheads is nothing new. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, skin-care was all about drying up the skin as much as possible. And along with many unfortunate products, this era popularized pore strips.
With products such as these, our aversion to both blackheads and sebaceous filaments as a society is apparent. However, it’s important to understand the differences between the two because they occur for different reasons, and require different means of treatment.
Let’s start with defining what blackheads are.
Blackheads are recognized as open hair follicles (or pores) that have been clogged with a mixture of sebum, dead skin cells, and pore buildup that has been oxidized, hence the term “blackhead.”
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Blackheads are, in essence, a form of acne known as open comedones, which is often an early sign of acne in an individual. Typically, blackheads are characterized by a widened opening of a hair follicle caused by a clogging of sebum, but it can also occur due to Cut Bacterium acnes (C. acnes) bacteria and/or inflammation. Consequently, blackheads are considered to be a non-inflammatory form of acne, and they’re found around the face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and back.
Sebaceous filaments, on the other hand, are not clogged pores, and they are not problematic in any way. In fact, they’re not even classified as a form of acne, but instead considered a "normal" type of pore that has been filled up to the surface.
So let’s answer the question: do you need to remove sebaceous filaments?
In short, no.
Sebaceous filaments are a naturally occurring, normal part of your skin, and as such, you cannot get rid of them. In fact, from a dermatological perspective, there is really no need to remove them.
However, there are some individuals who find their sebaceous filament uncomfortable, or they might not like the appearance of them.
So that begs the next question: even if you don’t have to get rid of your sebaceous filaments, can you?
In short, yes.
Let’s talk about how.
Because they are essentially places where oil in your skin gathers, sebaceous filaments can be uncomfortable and visible, especially for those with oil skin and consistently large pores.
It’s worth noting that sebaceous filaments can actually be professionally extracted, however, the effects of removal are only temporary, and the sebum will eventually return.
Still, there are ways to shrink the appearance of sebaceous filaments in the long run, with consistent care. To reduce the appearance of enlarged sebaceous filaments, make sure to focus on skin care products that are formulated to manage oil production. While pore strips will provide very short-term effects, a good cleanser will help to reduce oil production, which can over time help reduce the appearance of pores. We especially recommend a good AHA cleanser or our Pore Detox Herbal Cleanser for managing sebaceous filaments.
Keep in mind, though, that sebaceous filaments are natural, essential parts of your skin and cannot be completely removed.
It’s also helpful to avoid squeezing sebaceous filaments. Not only is this ineffective, but it may injure the skin and damage your pore, even making it bigger in the process.
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The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.