You know that eternal combat against blackheads? The never-ending search for a product, that would minimize your pores and make your skin clear and smooth? I have some bad and some good news for you.
They aren’t blackheads! And therefore – you can’t just squeeze them out. In some cases, anyway.
If they aren’t blackheads, most likely they are sebaceous filaments. A natural part of you, that belongs to your skin. They are a tiny collection of sebum + dead skin cells around a hair follicle. Some people have perfect skin and they aren’t visible but with – let’s say oily skin – they are visible and can be mistaken for blackheads. I have sebaceous filaments. A lot of them. I have some blackheads too – but it’s important to spot the difference.
A blackhead is just that – a clogged pore with a black head. It’s quite easy to spot (cause it’s black).
Sebaceus filaments look almost the same but they have grey, brown or yellowish head. And as I said – they are a natural part of your skin. They are smaller, but they can be bigger too if the pore is enlarged. No matter how many times you extract them, they always come back. That’s how you know. Isn’t that kind of relieving?
Here is my skin in it’s all glory in HD: Sebaceous filaments, enlarged pores, blackheads, closed comedones and an oily but dry skin. All that brown spotting is sebaceus filaments/my pores. Here is another photo where you can see the difference clearly.
Okay – so you may have a skin where there are brown spots all over your face and you can’t get rid of them. And you just have to live with it. This is most likely the case – so you should prepare for that and embrace your looks anyway..
(And I am with you on this one ’cause I don’t have the perfect skin and will never have that. It’s okay too, pal. We don’t need to be perfect!)
.. but there are some products that you can use to help live with them and to not make them worse anyway, ’cause they can turn into blackheads (Sons of bitches, I know!). And needless to say the most important thing would be to eat healthy and drink lots of water – ’cause that has a huge impact on your skin condition.
Since the sebeceous filaments are your pores just developing sebum and hair they are likely to come up. To surface. At least that’s how my skin works – and it can even feel bumpy if I haven’t exfoliated it in a while. So the best product to keep your skin smooth – is to exfoliate.
The best recommended products for treating SF or enlarged pores are BHA and AHA products. They are basically acids – and they help to exfoliate your skin without the physical irritation and to keep your pores cleaner. AHAs are water soluble and a bit more gentle to the skin and BHAs oil soluble and especially recommended for oilier skin. There is a lot of info on both of these on the internet but I found this article on this one amazing blog that I suggest you read.
There are AHA/BHA products for daily use and then there’s exfoliators and masks, that you only use once per week. I’ve mostly used products from the last group because it’s the easiest way to bring these acids into your skincare routine without drying out your skin. Usually all the brightening masks or products that promise glow include acids. If you haven’t tried a brightening mask you haven’t lived! They actually work – and the secret is in the gentle exfoliation (=brightening) they give. I want to note that when you’re using BHA/AHA products your skin gets more sensitive to the sun and a sunscreen is a must have. Every day.
You can also exfoliate your skin with scrubs that work by just physically scrubbing your skin – but always be careful not to rub too much!
Here are some of the products I’ve been using to treat my skin.
This scrub is very traditional in addition that it’s actually very gentle. It’s oil based and it doesn’t strip your skin from it’s natural moisture. It transforms into a milk when water is added and it leaves the skin clean and soft. Definitely a favorite!
This is a mud mask but it contains lactic acid. Mud masks are another great way of taking care of the SF. Mud absorbs sebum from the skin leaving it fresh and clean. A mud mask favorite! This is really purifying so if you have a dry skin, you might want to skip this.
Sosar Sacred Forest Peat Mask
I couldn’t make a list and not tell you about this. This is awesome. It’s pure peat and it dries quickly and absorbs all the excess sebum. It’s really effective so maybe not so good for a dry skin.
COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
As you can guess, this is a mix of AHAs and BHAs which can be benefitial for getting the best results – if your skin can take it. This toner is really lightweight and it absorbs quickly. It can be sprayed straight onto the face which makes using it so quick and easy. It’s quite affordable too and the INCI list is really impressive. I tried using this daily for about two weeks but my skin didn’t like that. Before that I used this every once in a while after cleansing and I loved it that way. But in daily use this felt too drying especially now since it’s been minus 20 celsius outside. I still wanted to include this one here because there are different skin types and what didn’t work for me might work for someone else.
Photo is from Pixibeauty
Pixi Glow Tonic*
I tried the little bottle I got from my lookfantactic calendar and I wanted to throw it on this list too. That ‘Glow’ comes from a clear skin that you get by using glycolic acid (AHA) that is in this product. This is especially good for normal, dry or mature skin. This didn’t feel drying at all on my skin, but I didn’t get to see any major improvement in my skin in the quick week that the product lasted on me. This is really affordable and looking at it’s INCI list I like that there are mostly natural ingredients in it, minus the fragrance that I could live without.
EkoPharma Anti-Acne Treatment Gel 3 %
This is an amazing product that I learned to love at work. I used the pro-version (6 % that is only available on the facials done by professionals) on customers and sold many bottles of this. Since then I’ve been buying it for myself too. It’s extremely effective and therefore a bit drying too. You need to be careful with this. I quickly learned that it’s not that great for the whole face but works best for the problematic areas: areas with acne or red pimples. Also – it is applied on top of lotion so it’s the last product you should put on your face. It still works and it doesn’t dry out your face and give you scarring that way. This is a natural organic product and the brand is Finnish – I’m not sure if it’s sold worldwide. But I bet there are similar products out there that I recommend for acne or bad, bad pimples.
The BHA, that I use daily is a serum. It is The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Concentrate and I have a post for it here: A serum, that actually makes a difference.
I hope this post helped some of you. Let me know what are your favorite AHA/BHA products – would love to try something new!