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Normal skin has sweat glands and oil glands that empty their contents into the surface through microscopic pores surrounding hair follicles. Secretion from these glands help to keep the skin moist and supple. However, in some people overproduction of oil (sebum) and the presence of dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin can cause widening and clogging of these pores.

Blackheads, or comedo, are actually widened pores that contain sebum, skin debris, and bacteria.

These are also sometimes called pimples, acne or zits, which cover the face, chest, back, neck, legs and even buttocks. They can be small or become bigger, causing pain and inflammation.

Blackheads and enlarged pores often develop during the teenage years, but they can also develop during adulthood. Hormonal changes during these years and around the menstrual period stimulate oil glands to become more active, thus causing enlargement of pores, which can be clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria.

Home Treatments for Enlarged Pores and Blackheads

There is no cure for acne or blackheads, but keeping the skin clean can help control them.

Washing the skin with gentle soap such as Cetaphil once or twice a day can help reduce oiliness and keep dirt away from the pores. However, try to avoid using skin products that can clog pores. Avoid picking, squeezing, or scrubbing your pimples.

Over-the-counter skin care products that contain benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid can help dry up acne and reduce blackheads. Some facial lotions also contain alpha-hydroxy acids, which help dry up blemishes and antibiotics, which help unplug enlarged pores. If these home treatments do not work, consult a doctor.

Medical Treatment of Acne

Depending on the severity of acne, doctors may prescribe stronger medicines and use a combination of treatments to control them. Moderate to severe cases of acne may benefit from using benzoyl peroxide, which comes in different strengths in the form of soap, lotion, gels, or other liquids. Doctors may recommend prescription-strength products that contain retinoids and antibiotics, which may be applied directly on acne (topical) or taken by mouth (oral). Azelaic acid can also help clear acne by killing bacteria on the skin. Some doctors also recommend taking low-dose oral contraceptives in women whose acne flare-up before menstruation.

Treatment of pores and blackheads usually take time to work, and some treatments may seem to make acne grow worse before they get better over time. Finally, if you are using retinoids (such as isotretinoin) and alpha-hydroxy acids, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun's rays and it will be advisable for you to put on some UV light protection or sunblock when going outdoors.

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