People with oily skin or enlarged pores may have sebaceous filaments that are easier to see. But unlike blackheads, sebaceous filaments tend to be sandy colored or light grey, rather than black. Blackheads, on the other hand, are actually black in color.
Blackheads are a form of acne. Sebaceous filaments are not a type of acne, they are normal structures within the skin. However, the overproduction of sebum that causes sebaceous filaments to fill up and become noticeable can also cause whiteheads or blackheads.
Since sebaceous filaments are a normal part of your skin, you cannot get rid of them. While large sebaceous filaments can be professionally extracted, removing them is only temporary—they always come back.
The white stuff that comes out of your pores like thin strings when you squeeze your nose is called a sebaceous filament. It's mostly made up of sebum (oil that your skin produces) and dead skin cells. This substance typically collects in pores around your nose and chin.
Because pore strips aren't strong enough to remove blackheads, but are able to pull out sebaceous filaments, they end up stripping our skin of our natural oils and getting rid of the pore's protection from bacteria.
When the excess sebum mixes with dead skin and bacteria, that's when the filaments can become inflamed—and that's where blackheads come into play. Once those sebaceous filaments build up and up, they can quickly turn into acne. Then once it oxidizes, it'll turn dark in color, and—poof!
Truth be told, you can never completely get rid of sebaceous filaments. You can extract them, but they'll come back shortly thereafter, usually around 30 days or less for those with very oily skin. They're something everyone has, and most people won't notice them anyway.
Get to squeezing: Understanding where a sebaceous filament lies within the pore is critical for proper extraction. They live inside pores, which is why the only way to extract them is to angle your hands and squeeze from the sides and bottom of the pore.
Sebaceous filaments can never be completely removed. If they are extracted, they return quickly, usually within 30 days or less for those with very oily skin. Therefore, experts advise against taking them out since sebaceous filaments are more difficult to remove.
Pores can become clogged with excess oil, dead skin, or dirt, or they can appear more prominent as a result of too much sun exposure. Other factors that can influence pores becoming clogged include genetics and hormones.
The stuff you squeeze out of them is pus, which contains dead white blood cells.
A dilated pore of Winer is a large blackhead. Both are formed because of clogged pores. A mixture of air and the exposed contents of the clogged pore turn the blemish black (oxidization).
Blackheads are pesky, clogged pores that often show up on your face and are typically most noticeable on your nose. While they might not be as inflamed as other types of acne, blackheads are just as annoying. It's tempting to squeeze and pop your blackheads, but doing so tends to make things worse.
Sebaceous filaments are most commonly found in the centrofacial areas and the alae nasae in postpuberal individuals with large facial pores and seborrhea.
Are Pore Vacuums Effective at Clearing Pores and Blackheads? “Pore vacuums certainly can be an effective tool in helping to regularly clear pore congestion, however they're not essential component to a skincare routine,” says Dr. Reszko.
Blackheads look like black dots that have formed on your skin. Blackheads are called open comedones. Comedones are the skin-colored bumps that form when you have a pimple. In the case of blackheads, these comedones consist of follicles beneath your skin with very large openings, or pores.
Sebum doesn't cause facial odour:
The sebaceous glands are tiny glands in the skin which produce an oily/waxy substance, called sebum, to moisturise the skin and hair. These glands are found in greatest amounts on the face and scalp. Sebum has no smell, but its bacterial breakdown can produce a bad smell.
Nazarian recommends exfoliating with topical medications, such as glycolic acid, retinoids, and salicylic acid, to break down the plugs and dissolve them.
Your nose is likely oily because your sebaceous glands are producing more oil than necessary to keep your skin hydrated. The sebaceous glands beneath the pores in your skin are responsible for producing the natural oils, also known as sebum, that keep your skin healthy.
The best topical treatment for sebaceous filaments and comedonal acne is prescription nighttime topical retin-a, specifically Tretinoin and Tazorac or over-the-counter adapalene gel in conjunction with a morning Salicylic acid wash—a keratolytic (destroying the excess keratin).
Look closely at the tip of your nose. Do you see small, pin-like dots on the surface of the pore? If the dots are quite dark, then you're most likely looking at blackheads. If they have a clear-ish tone, or a gray or yellow tinge, what you're likely seeing are sebaceous filaments.
Board-certified dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD, said pore strips aim to remove debris that accumulate within pores, which includes dead skin cells, oil, wax, mixed yeast and bacteria.
Pore strips can damage more sensitive, thin skin and even pull out both skin and hair. That's why there's a warning within the instructions to only use nose strips about once a week. Overusing nose strips can make your skin actually look worse. Pore strips can be abrasive, causing skin irritation and turning red.