Acne 101: The Differences Between Blackheads And Dirty Pores

Getting acne as a teen, you are not entirely prepared for the different types of acne that you get. In fact, not everyone gets every type of acne, nor does everyone get as much or as little acne as their peers. Even though this topic is probably covered in most health and wellness classes, what your health teacher probably does not teach you is how to recognize the differences between blackhead acne and just dirty pores. There are ways you can tell them apart, and very different approaches on how to address dirty pores and actual blackheads.

Blackhead Acne

So named for the multiple, miniscule black bumps it produces, blackhead acne does not go away when you wash your face. It is incredibly stubborn and hard to remove, even with some of the best over-the-counter acne products. If you try to squeeze blackhead acne, it may not "pop," instead causing more damage to your skin while you push, prod and squeeze it out of shape. If the blackheads do pop, they produce a thin line of grayish nastiness topped with a black head that looks like tiny worms exiting your pores. You are best suited to consult a dermatologist to treat chronic blackheads rather than try to treat them on your own.

Dirty Pores

Dirty pores, on the other hand, can look like blackhead acne and contribute to the development of blackheads, but are in no way acne themselves. As you sweat and shed skin and touch your face with dirty hands, or the winds and smog in a city sweep by your skin, the dirt settles in your pores. It is much more noticeable if you have medium- to large-sized pores, but people with small pores can get dirt in their pores too. If you squeeze what you think are blackheads and you just get a little blob of dirt popping out all over, you just have too much dirt in your pores.

The multiple black dots of dirty pores look like black freckles, but unlike blackheads, dirty pores wash clean and leave no trace of the black freckle effect behind. If you make a habit of washing your face twice a day as a teen, you can remove a lot of dirt from your pores and eliminate both the appearance of acne and the potential for dirty pores to become blackheads. Washing your face with a dermatologist-prescribed cleaner can help immensely.

For more information, consult a dermatologist at a place like East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC.