Sebaceous Filament: Difference from Blackheads, Treatments, Prevention, and When to See a Doctor

Sebaceous Filament: Difference from Blackheads, Treatments, Prevention, and When to See a Doctor
Subaceous Filament - Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
SHARE - Many people think that tiny freckles on the nose are blackheads. In fact, those freckles can be sebaceous filaments.

What are sebaceous filaments?

Sebaceous Filament - Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

So, actually there are tiny glands under our skin. It produces sebum, an oily substance that helps to lubricate our skin. The sebaceous filament is a way for sebum to flow to the skin's surface.

Why people often confuse sebaceous filament with blackheads? When your body produces too much sebum, your sebaceous filaments will be filled up. Then, they can be seen and look like big pores.

But, when the sebaceous filaments are filled up and visible, they can also create whiteheads and blackheads. You need to know that sebaceous filaments are a part of the skin. Meanwhile, whiteheads and blackheads are types of acne. See the differences below!

Sebaceous Filament vs Blackheads

1. Structure

A blackhead is a plug at the top of a pore. This plug causes oil can't go out through the pore. How about sebaceous filaments? The sebaceous filament is a thin hair-like structure, 
located inside your pores to help sebum go to the skin's surface. Sebaceous filaments have no plugs. 

2. Color

The sebaceous filament looks like the head of a pin and the color can be yellow, grey, or clear. The noticeable sebaceous filament may look just like a dot on your skin while blackheads have
a very dark color, looks like a plug at the top of a pore. Also, it can be darker when the plug contacts with the air. 

3. Extraction

When you squeeze sebaceous filament, it will come out from your pore, but it produces nothing. Squeezing your sebaceous filaments is not recommended because it can leave scars on your skin or make your pores bigger.

When you squeeze blackheads, the dark plugs will come out and there are white or yellow sebum and skin cells come out too. 

What causes sebaceous filament?

Usually, the noticeable sebaceous filament can occur in people with oily skin or larger pores. For people with drier skin and smaller pores, this condition is not common. There are some factors that can make your pores bigger:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Sun exposure
  • Having ticker hair follicles

How to Get Rid of Sebaceous Filament

Sebaceous Filament - Photo by Binoid Cbd from Pexels

1. Salicylic acid

Some people call salicylic acid beta-hydroxy acid. This is found in many facial products, like cleanser and acne creams. These products contain 0.5 to 2.0% salicylic acid.

What is this acid for? Basically, this acid helps reducing oil in your skin and sebaceous filament's size. This acid can dissolve with oil, so it can go through sebum and clear your pores.

If you apply this a product with salicylic acid in it and it makes your face drier or peeled off, try to apply the product once a day or two. Do the application less often.

If you are allergic to aspirin, don't apply products with salicylic acid on your skin because salicylic acid is a kind of aspirin.

2. Benzoyl peroxide

This ingredient is usually found in acne products. This is used for drying your skin, limit your skin-oil, reduce the size of your pores. But, benzoyl peroxide can cause over dryness and peeling off, especially at bigger concentrations.

Apply the products with benzoyl peroxide less frequently if you experience this condition. Change your products with the ones with a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide. 

3. Tea tree oil

This is an essential oil that is usually used to treat acne. It's also used as a solution for oily skin. But, if you are allergic to it, you can dilute the oil to a strength of 5%. If it still causes allergic signs like hives, swelling, or breathing trouble, go to medical care immediately.

4. Sun protection

Too much sun exposure can make your pores bigger and make your sebaceous filament visible. Besides, sun exposure also can cause skin damage and skin cancer. So, using a sunscreen every day can help to minimize the bad effects for your skin and keep your skin healthy.

For people with oily skin, you can apply sunscreen with oil-free or noncomedogenic written on the products. So, it won't plug your pores. 

Sebaceous Filament Prevention

The AAD says that it's important to make your oil and moisture on skin balanced. Thus, you are suggested to do these:

  1. Wash your face every morning, evening, and after doing exercise.
  2. Avoid scrubbing your face because it will irritate your skin and make it looks worse.
  3. Apply facial products that are oil-free or non-comedogenic.
  4. Apply maturations to keep your skin hydrated.
  5. Apply skin cleansers that are gentle and foaming because heavy products can make your skin dry and produce more oil.
  6. Don't buy cleansers that are oil or alcohol-based because it will irritate your skin. 

When to see a doctor?

Sebaceous Filament - Photo by Linkedin Sales Navigator from Pexels

If the products don't give satisfying results and make your skin gets worse instead, it's better to see a doctor or dermatologist immediately.

Usually, dermatologists will give you more powerful medications to reduce oil production. But in many cases, the medications will lead to fewer noticeable sebaceous filaments. 


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