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Controlling Milia, Blackheads and Enlarged Pores

The problem of bumps on the face is something we are all faced with at some time or other, be it blackheads, milia (whiteheads) or acne. Worse yet, is the scarring that can occur if they are handled improperly. All these skin conditions are a direct result of improper skin exfoliation.


What exactly are milia and blackheads and what can you do to prevent them?



Milia is most commonly known as whiteheads. They are white bumps that form when the skin fails to properly exfoliate itself. As the name suggests, the head of a milia is white, and they are tiny raised white spots. This condition while able to affect anywhere on the body has an affinity for the area around the eye and the cheeks.


Milia is most often caused from sun exposure, using the wrong products for your skin as well as skin that just does not exfoliate well.



Blackheads, also known by the less common medical name of open comedones are one of the most frequently encountered skin conditions. These bumps result from hair follicles being blocked by oil and dead skin cells. Because the pores are opened, exposure to air causes the exposed end to become black due to oxidization. Blackheads also tend to have bacteria because of this exposure to pollutants from the air, and the fact that the pooled oils and debris provide an ideal breeding ground for them. Blackheads as the name implies are the reverse of milia, which have white heads because the pores are not opened and so they are not exposed to air.


Blackheads appear on anywhere on the body that has sebaceous (oil) glands, hence they are not only on the face, but also appear on your back and chest.    Blackheads are the main cause of acne. Look for the words "non-comedogenic" on cosmetic products packages. This claim means this product does not contain ingredients that are known to clog the pores and encourage the appearance of blackheads.


Enlarged Pores

These develop primarily as a result of a build up of debris at the bottom of a pore. This debris results from makeup that is not properly cleaned off, pollutants from the atmosphere and dead cells that your skin sheds daily. As dead skin and other material presses against the pores they become enlarged. As a matter of fact, blackheads can result in enlarged pores. As the blackhead grows it forces the pores to expand to accommodate it.


The first step in controlling milia, blackheads and other such conditions is to clean your face daily. Cleaning the skin at least twice daily is recommended. Twice weekly exfoliation of the skin is recommended, but be gentle. Use a mild exfoliation scrub, whether itís store bought or homemade.


For best results make sure that any product purchased for pore health includes the following ingredients: Azelaic acid, Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta hydroxy acicds (BHAs) and topical Vitamin A. A diet high in fruits and vegetable and drinking lots of water goes a long way in preventing blemishes.


It is recommended that extracting blackheads and other pimples be left to a professional, as too rough handling of the skin in extracting them can damage the skin and lead to scarring.


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