Not the most glamorous of topics for this week's glossary, I know, but let's face it (excuse the pun) we've all been there. Sufferers of adult acne, in particular, will know just how upsetting waking up and finding one of these babies nestling on your skin can be.
Blackheads are scientifically known as open comedones. They occur when excess skin sebum (oil) and the skin cells become clogged in the sebaceous hair follicle. They appear to be black in color and can often be quite painful.
They are termed 'non-inflammatory lesions' by doctors and dermatologists, as unlike the red bumps and pus-containing pustules, they generally don't swell.
Blackheads are caused by partially blocked pores, and the black appearance is not dirt, as you may think, but the oxidising effect of air on the sebum in a blocked pore and the melanin pigment from the dead skin cells.
The best way to get rid of blackheads is to remove the cause of them — dead skin cells and excessive sebum, using products that are not too astringent. Anything overly harsh, will strip the skin of all oil, causing it to retaliate by producing more.
Watch this space for more expert tips and tricks for getting rid of blackheads.