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October 26, 2022
Did you know your face contains tiny sebaceous filaments made of triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene. They line the pores on the face to channel the flow of sebum (oil) into the skin to moisturize it.
For most these sebaceous filaments are not noticeable. For those with oily skin or overactive sebaceous filaments they can look light gray or tan. This is NOT a blackhead. This is sebaceous filaments with excess oil.
It's not until excess oil mixes with dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria in the follicle/pore opening, which produces a bump. If the skin over the bump opens, the air exposure causes the plug to look black, forming a blackhead.If you’re bothered by gray or tan sebaceous filaments, it’s important to have a consistent cleansing routine. This means cleanse in the morning to remove the dead skin cells that surface during the night – and – cleans in the PM to remove any makeup, dirt, and once again the dead skin cells that surface. Some skip the AM cleanse, and that's not a good idea. Especially when trying to manage overactive sebaceous filaments.
Use an exfoliating face wash as needed such as CBE Botanicals Scrub Away the Day to clear out clogged pores. A double cleanse on occasion may also be necessary. Alternating between an exfoliating cleanser and a nourishing pH balanced cleanser like NeoGenesis Cleanser is an excellent practice. This helps to maintain skin oil balance.You can also use an exfoliating serum with salicylic acid such as NeoGenesis Salicylic Acid Gel. Salicylic Acid is a BHA that can penetrate the oil on your skin to get deep into your pores to dissolve dirt, bacteria, and dead cells.
A twice weekly exfoliation practice is ideal for those with gray or tan filaments. This allows the sebaceous filaments to wick oil effectively without clogging up. Another way to add exfoliation is using acids like glycolic and lactic acids in CBE Botanicals Revive Exfoliating Serum. A combination of AHAs and BHAs is ideal to keep your skin clear and your pores clean. As always, consistency in your skincare routine will keep these kinds of issues at bay.
While it’s important to have a consistent skincare routine, it’s also important not to be overly aggressive prohibiting natural oil to moisturizer the skin. Rarely will anyone need to exfoliate daily unless there is a severe problem. Over exfoliation will lead to stressed, dry, and inflamed skin.Do not pick at or squeeze a sebaceous filament or blackhead. This can lead to spreading bacteria and dirt. These tiny grey specks can be extracted by an esthetician or dermatologist to avoid excessive irritation or permanent scarring, but this won’t eradicate them. They will naturally fill back up within 30 days because they are a part of your pore structure. Again, for most this won't be noticeable but for others it is.
Now that you know those gray and tan pores are sebaceous filaments, and how to care for them, you're on the way to having clearer, healthier looking skin.
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