Sebaceous Filaments Vs. Blackheads – What’s the Difference?
by: Jen Okhiria February 5, 2019 Updated on February 7, 2019
If you’ve ever suffered a smattering of blackheads that just don’t clear away, take a closer look. You might not be dealing with blackheads at all, but sebaceous filaments instead. While similar to blackheads, sebaceous filaments are a different animal altogether.
What Are Sebaceous Filaments?
Unlike blackheads, sebaceous filaments are not a clogged hair follicle that needs to be cleared away. Rather, they are a completely normal function of the skin. As Dr. Lily Talakoub of McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center explained to us, “Sebaceous filaments are particles released from oil glands. Blackheads are oxidized keratin (produced by the squamous cells of the skin). Because they are open to the air, they oxidize and look black.”
Sebaceous filaments are needed in order to carry sebum through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin, keeping skin moisturized and flexible. Everyone has sebaceous filaments as they are found in every hair follicle on the skin! When visible, they do resemble blackheads, but are lighter, often appearing as tiny grey or beige dimples that lay completely flat to the surface of the skin. As The Pretty Pimple points out: “Because sebaceous glands are highly concentrated around your nose and forehead, sebaceous filaments are more robust in these areas too.”
Can You Pop Them?
Yes, a professional can technically extract sebaceous filaments, but this will not solve the problem. For many people, sebaceous filaments may not be visible at all. However, for those with an oily skin type or larger pores, sebaceous filaments can be just as noticeable as blackheads – but much more difficult to extract. This is because unlike a blackhead, a sebaceous filament won’t “go away” by squeezing it out – they are supposed to be there. Even if they are extracted, as a normal function of the skin, they will grow back to continue their work lubricating the skin. The bottom line: Yes, a professional can technically extract sebaceous filaments, but this will not solve the problem. To decrease the appearance of sebaceous filaments, the best line of attack is to focus on skin care that minimizes pores and controls the skin’s oil production.
How To Remove Sebaceous Filaments
While sebaceous filaments aren’t an issue the same way blackheads are, that doesn’t mean that you want to see them. As Dr. Lily Talakoub says: “They improve the skin’s appearance when removed. Chemical exfoliation through gentle fruit acids, gommage or microdermabrasion are the best methods to remove them.” Not only is a professional facial a great starting point to remove sebaceous filaments, but the esthetician can also recommend pore shrinking products to help manage their appearance on a daily basis. We recommend an Eminence Organics skin care routine that focuses on deep but gentle cleansing along with regular exfoliation.
Try a great cleanser like the Stone Crop Cleansing Oil. Unknowing to many is that Oil combats Oil. This gentle cleanser will help decrease the appearance of your sebaceous filaments. For a pore minimizing product start using the Raspberry Pore Refining Masque.
Stop in at the Spa and we can help you chose the right products for your concerns.