Sebaceous Filaments Vs. Blackheads

If you’ve ever suffered a persistent pocket of blackheads that just don’t clear away, take a closer look. You might not be dealing with blackheads at all, but sebaceous filaments instead. While similar to blackheads, sebaceous filaments are a different ball game altogether.

What Are Sebaceous Filaments?

Unlike blackheads, sebaceous filaments are not a clogged hair follicle that needs to be cleared away. Rather, they are a completely normal function of the skin. Sebaceous filaments are particles released from oil glands.

Blackheads form when a clog or plug develops in the opening of hair follicles in your skin. When the skin over the bump opens, exposure to the air causes it to look black and a blackhead forms.

Sebaceous filaments are needed to carry sebum through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin, keeping skin moisturized and flexible. Everyone has sebaceous filaments as they are found in every hair follicle on the skin!

 When visible, they can resemble blackheads, but are much lighter, often appearing as tiny grey or fleshy beige dimples that lie completely flat to the surface of the skin. Because your sebaceous glands are highly concentrated around your nose and forehead, sebaceous filaments are more prominent in these areas too, especially if you naturally have oily skin.

Can You squeeze Them?

Trying to extract sebaceous filaments can injure the skin and cause scarring. It can also damage and stretch the pore, making it appear bigger.

A skincare professional can technically extract sebaceous filaments, but this will not solve the problem.

For many people, sebaceous filaments may not be visible at all. However, for those with an oily skin type or larger pores, sebaceous filaments can be just as noticeable as blackheads – but much more difficult to extract. This is because unlike a blackhead, a sebaceous filament won’t “go away” by squeezing it out – they are supposed to be there. Even if they are extracted, as a normal function of the skin, they will grow back to continue their work lubricating the skin.

The bottom line: Yes, a professional can technically extract sebaceous filaments but to decrease the appearance of sebaceous filaments, the best line of attack is to focus on skin care that minimises pores and controls the skin’s natural oil production. (P.s this does not mean to over exfoliate as it can cause more to appear!)

How To Remove Sebaceous Filaments

While sebaceous filaments aren’t an issue the same way blackheads are having them removed will improve the skin’s appearance. In clinic your therapist will perform a gentle enzyme based skin peel to loosen and soften them before removing them.

Microneedling is also a fantastic clinical treatment for minimising pore structures thus meaning they are much less obvious to the eye.

Not only is a professional facial a great starting point to remove sebaceous filaments, but your skin therapist can also recommend pore balancing products to help manage their appearance on a daily basis.

Need help with your pores? Contact the clinic and we can help you chose the right products and treatments for your skin concerns.