ZocdocAnswersHow long do blackheads last?

Question

How long do blackheads last?

Is it normal for blackheads to last for months? I sometimes squeeze them out and that is pretty painful, but if I don't it seems like they just never really go away on their own. Should I be doing something other than just trying to wait them out?

Answer

Blackheads are a type of acne that occurs when skin pores get clogged up by dead skin and other debris. This debris reacts chemically with the air to give the black appearance. You are right that, if you do not treat the blackheads, they can last for months. However, is never a good idea to treat blackheads by squeezing them. This is because the pressure from squeezing can potentially cause an infection or even scarring of the skin. The best way to treat blackheads is by doing things that remove and prevent the buildup of the skin debris. To start, make sure to wash your face every day with a good but mild facial soap. If this does not work, then you can also add exfoliating preparations or scrubs. If this still does not work, then using a comedonolytic is your next step. Comedonolytics are chemicals that remove debris. Two common over the counter comedonolytics are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They are found in many different acne treatment brands. If, after all of this, you are still having trouble then it is time to talk to your primary care doctor or your dermatologist, who can prescribe you additional creams that are stronger and more effective.

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