Alison's Blog

Black Skin Teacher


The malfunctioning of the sebaceous glands found in the skin will likely cause acne, whiteheads, blackheads, oily skin and even dry skin.

Sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin which secrete lubricating oily matter called sebum into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair making the skin soft.

There are millions of hair follicles (pores) on the body, including the face. These follicles contain one hair and sebaceous gland each.

When the skin sheds dead skin cells, they can get into the follicle, mix with the oil and forms a plug that pushes to the surface and forms a bump called comedone.

Whiteheads and blackheads affect millions of people from the African origin and usually more visible on light skin people. They commonly appear on the face, shoulders, neck, chest ,back and sometimes behind the laps as well.




Whiteheads are also called closed comedone. The word closed is used to imply that the pore is covered with a thin layer of skin that allows the sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria to build up and remain just under the surface of the skin. Because it is a closed comedone, it is not exposed to oxygen or air hence it is not oxidised keeping its colour white. Whiteheads are usually not painful but can cause embarrassment and affect social activities.

Most people especially girls will have more whiteheads on their chin. To notice whiteheads on your chin, move your lower lip inside your mouth to stretch the skin on the chin as shown below in color and black and white.

Zoom photo for better view

                                      Fig: whiteheads under the chin


Blackheads have the same material found in whiteheads but the difference is that blackheads are open comedones. The sebum in the pores contain a pigment called melanin, the substance that gives our skin color. Because the comedone is open, melanin turns dark or oxidises when it is exposed to the air. This is why blackheads are dark. They are not dirt so scrubbing does not remove them. Most people experience blackheads around the nose regions.

Zoom photo for better view

                           Fig: Blackheads around nose region

Read article on preventing and treating whiteheads and blackheads


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