Turns out your blackheads might just be dark pores


If your blackheads have nine lives and are immune to every treatment on the planet, we have news for you. Your blackheads, might not actually be blackheads. 

According to skin care expert Caroline Hirons, if you’ve been obsessing over your blackhead speckled nose and wondering why you still have this issue at 30+, you should “stop looking at your nose in a magnifying mirror right now”. Because, as Caroline suggests “you probably just have dark pores”.

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These ‘dark pores’ go by the name of ‘sebaceous filaments’, and they typically inhabit the t-zone. But how can you tell which is which?

If you get in close enough to examine the surface of your nose (a flattering sight we know), you may see what looks like a scattering of dark dots. But, inspect a little further.

If they are indeed black, then chances are you are looking at blackheads.

However, if they are a darker yellow, grey or clearer tone, then you’ve got sebaceous filaments.

Infact, everyone has them. They are part of the skins pore structure and they are responsible for channeling the flow of oil along the lining of the pores in which they sit. As your pores begin to fill up with this oil, the filaments become more visible. 

The good news; hardly anyone even notices them. And the bad news; you can’t totally eradicate them so don’t drive yourself mad trying.

However you can help keep them under control with regular BHA acids, like salicylic acid, as they are able to dissolve the oil build up within the pore lining. 

bh recommends: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ExfoliantBurt’s Bees Soapbark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing CreamSukin Naturals Blemish Control Spot Banishing Gel

If you’re still unsure of the difference, a way to test (albeit a gross way) is to see the consistency when extracted. 

Sebaceous filaments will resemble a free-flowing, tiny strand of wax-like hair when squeezed out, while blackheads have a plug-like appearance. Apologies for the visual.

While it’s not a guaranteed development, sebaceous filaments will become dark if the pore lining becomes exposed to oxygen, aka turning into a blackhead.Skin care class, dismissed.Main image credit: @theparlourclovellyDo you battle with stubborn blackheads?  What are your tips for dealing with sebaceous filaments?

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Comments 33

  1. I had blackheads since forever until a few years back. Used to squeeze them out. Woops. Just enlarged pores now. I exfoliate. And do skincare routine now. As before I did nothing when my skin was so oily and I ate bad foods. All pores were clogged.

  2. Like most teens, I had blackheads when I was younger. I’m early 50s now and thankfully they aren’t an issue for me anymore. I keep my skin clear by always making sure I cleanse thoroughly, exfoliating once a week, and using my Foreo a couple of times per week. I’ve had my Foreo for a long time, and it’s definitely worth the investment. It’s made a huge difference to the condition of my skin.

  3. Wow didn’t know that you can have dark pores Thank You BH for the information try to keep my skin clean and always take makeup off before going to bed, this helps to keep your skin radiant with the help of Serums.

  4. One of the most frequently asked questions in Bh’s forums over the years has been people asking about how to remove their blackheads. I knew about the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, but this article is a great explanation.

  5. I have dark and enlarged pores :(. I’ll have to start exfoliation as well as applying a pore refining toner on them as this seems to help make the pores appear slightly smaller.

  6. I don’t think you can mistake the two.

    Well I don’t think you can mistake the two on your own face. Maybe on someone else’s.

    (by that I mean freckles vs other pore issues)

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