How common are blackheads?
Blackheads are extremely common. Almost all of us have lived with them at some point. They can be particularly prevalent during adolescence, but they can ‘pop up’ at any time and remain a constantly recurring skincare issue for many.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are caused by a variety of issues, including rising hormone levels (hence why they’re so common during our teenage years), which increase the number of oil glands and the amount of sebum our skin produces, leading to blocked pores and blackheads, pimples and – sometimes – to even deeper lumps like cysts.
Beyond an increase in hormones, there are numerous other factors at play that can cause blackheads. These include:
- Diet (especially diets too rich in sugary, fatty, processed foods and drinks, and lacking in fiber, raw vegetables and fruit, adequate hydration, and essential nutrients like zinc, plant-sourced fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E).
- Food sensitivities (if you think this is a problem for you, an elimination diet is a good starting point)
- Endocrine disorders
- Harsh synthetic chemicals found in too many cosmetics and personal care products
Tips to control/prevent blackheads, dependent on severity?
A holistic, healthy lifestyle can help to control blackheads, no matter what their severity. For those with constantly recurring issues, or particularly problematic blackheads, a more stringent approach to diet, skincare, and other lifestyle factors might be necessary.
- Great skin begins with a healthy gut! Find a diet that works for you, eliminating foods that are overly processed, and ensuring you have an adequate intake of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and water.
- If it helps, give your digestion a boost by taking some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice before meals.
- Regular fasts or detox can help, by relieving internal and external stresses on your body.
- Manage stress (sleep, exercise, meditation, etc.)
- Get a little bit of sunshine (lots of healthy vitamin D and positively great for the soul).
- Go easy on synthetic soaps and shampoos
- Adopt a skincare routine which genuinely cares for your skin! Look for products free of harsh synthetic chemicals and that have natural, organic ingredients full of antioxidants and with known anti-inflammatory properties.
NOTE: Despite an acne type skin often being overly oily, the answer is not necessarily to dry it out (the solution offered by many of the products currently on the market to combat blackheads and acne). Often, this simply leads to disturbed skin and can, in fact, aggravate the condition. Instead, the skin will benefit from having a balanced, normalised sebum. The naturopathic opinion therefore is to restore balance (internally and externally). Hence, a calming moisturizer like Task Force Nine can be very beneficial.
The Organic Skin Co:
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