Blackhead

Blackhead
Classification and external resources

Blackheads on a nose.
ICD-9 706.1

A blackhead (medically known as an open comedo,[1] plural comedones) is a yellow or blackish bump or plug on the skin. A blackhead is a type of acne vulgaris. Contrary to the common belief that it is caused by poor hygiene, blackheads are caused by excess oils that have accumulated in the sebaceous gland's duct. The substance found in these bumps mostly consists of keratin and modified sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous gland), which darkens as it oxidizes. Clogged hair follicles, where blackheads often occur, reflect light irregularly to produce a blackhead's "black" hue.[2] For this reason, the blockage might not necessarily look black when extracted from the pore, but may have a more yellow-brown colour as a result of its melanin content.

In contrast, a "whitehead" (more commonly known as a pimple or a closed comedo) is a follicle that is filled with the same material, sebum, but lacks a small opening to the skin surface. Since the air cannot reach the follicle, the material is not oxidized, and remains white.[3]

See also

References