Blackhead Causes

Oil production in the sebaceous glands increases during puberty, causing comedones and acne to be common in teenagers.[2][4] Acne is also found pre-menstrually and in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.[2] Smoking may worsen acne.[2]

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Oxidation rather than poor hygiene or dirt causes blackheads to be black.[1] Washing or scrubbing the skin too much could make it worse, by irritating the skin.[1] Touching and picking at comedones might cause irritation and spread infection.[1] It is not clear what effect shaving has on the development of comedones or acne.[1]

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Some, but not all, skin products might increase comedones by blocking pores,[1] and greasy hair products (like pomades) can worsen acne.[2] Skin products that claim to not clog pores may be labeled noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic.[6] Make-up and skin products that are oil-free and water-based may be less likely to cause acne.[6] It is not known whether dietary factors or sun exposure make comedones better, worse or have no effect.[2]

A hair that does not emerge normally can also block the pore and cause a bulge or lead to infection (causing inflammation and pus).[4]

Genes may play a role in the chances of developing acne.[2] Comedones may be more common in some ethnic groups.[2][7] Africans and African-Americans may experience more inflammation in comedones, more comedonal acne, and earlier onset of inflammation.[2][7]