How can I get rid of dark spots? Should I squeeze them?

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Jenna S. Lester is a dermatologist and director of the Skin of Color Program on the University of California, San Francisco.

Q: I have dark spots on my nostril, chin and chest. Should I squeeze them? Does utilizing a moisturizer make them higher or worse?

THE: Although it is tempting, it is a unhealthy thought to squeeze blackheads along with your fingers. This can trigger trauma to the pores and skin and result in hyperpigmentation or scarring.

Instead, I recommend you attempt to get rid of them in a single of two methods: You can seek the advice of a dermatologist or an esthetician. This is a good choice if you wish to get rid of them rapidly. But it can be costly, costing between $100 and $200 per session.

Alternatively, you can strive topical therapies, which take longer to work however are cost-effective and can allow you to finest in the long term as they stop future blackheads from forming. They’re additionally obtainable at most drugstores and at a spread of costs, so that you can discover the best choice on your funds and your pores and skin.

Salicylic acid chemical peels can additionally assist deal with comedonal zits. Be certain to seek the advice of an skilled exfoliator, particularly in case your pores and skin is deeply pigmented, as exfoliation can trigger irritation and discoloration.

To perceive what therapies are efficient, it helps to know the way and the place blackheads—technically a kind of zits—happen.

Blackheads seem in an element of the pores and skin referred to as a follicle, typically referred to as a pore, which is a channel that begins beneath the pores and skin and opens on its floor. A hair protrudes from the pore opening, however is often so small that it’s not seen.

There are thousands and thousands of pores overlaying your physique. Each pore has a sebaceous gland that goes into the pore opening and acts as a moisturizer for the pores and skin and hair. Dead pores and skin materials can be eliminated by way of the pores, the place it can be washed away.

But typically oil and useless pores and skin can accumulate contained in the pore and its opening. This creates a blockage that causes extra oil to build up. When that oil and useless pores and skin materials is uncovered to air, they darken and kind blackheads.

Blackheads can seem wherever, however most frequently seem in areas with lots of sebaceous glands, such because the again, chest, and face.

They can trigger scarring, which frequently seems as small “icicle scars” on the pores and skin and can be related to a kind of zits referred to as comedonal zits. With this sort of zits, you may even see blackheads and closed comedones – often known as whiteheads, that are small, skin-colored bumps. These are additionally closed pores, however as an alternative of being open to the air like blackheads, they’re closed in order that the fabric inside doesn’t darken.

Some moisturizers can make blackheads worse

Blackheads typically seem throughout puberty as a consequence of a rise in hormones, particularly androgens. These hormones stimulate the glands to supply extra oil, resulting in clogged pores. Teens aren’t the one ones with zits. Hormonal adjustments that happen all through life, resembling these throughout being pregnant or menopause, can trigger grownup zits.

Many of my sufferers use oils on their hair that can get on the floor and trigger blackheads. Oils utilized on to the pores and skin or by way of moisturizers can have the identical impact. If you are vulnerable to blackheads, search for non-comedogenic (that will not clog pores) or oil-free moisturizers.

A topical remedy that basically works

Most zits and dark spot therapies require endurance. It can take as much as three months to see enchancment, and consistency is vital.

retinoids: Retinoids assist tackle the oil manufacturing and useless pores and skin buildup that trigger blackheads. They are additionally efficient in treating the discoloration brought on by blackheads, which is widespread for individuals with dark pores and skin pigmentation.

If you select a prescription-only retinoid resembling tretinoin, you must focus on the suitable focus along with your dermatologist. Adapalene 0.1 % gel is out there over-the-counter.

Retinoids can be used wherever on the physique with zits, however most are meant to be used on the face. They can trigger irritation, so it is vital to make use of solely small quantities and use the product a number of occasions every week. Use moisturizer for dryness and use sunscreen as they can make your pores and skin extra delicate to the solar.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid: Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid assist exfoliate the pores and skin and cut back oil manufacturing. They are used as a cream, gel or wash.

I often suggest lotions in concentrations of 4 to 10 % as a result of they deal with all the space, however some sufferers choose to make use of them as a spot remedy to hurry up the decision of a particular blemish.

Like retinoids, they can dry out the pores and skin, so they need to be launched slowly and paired with a moisturizer when wanted.

Benzoyl peroxide can bleach your garments or towels, so remember of it after utilizing it or select merchandise that comprise salicylic acid as an alternative.

Sunscreen: Sometimes dark spots can seem as a long-term outcome of unprotected solar in a situation referred to as Favre-Racouchot. It isn’t identified why this occurs, however it’s thought that solar injury causes the pores to enlarge.

If you are going to be exterior for lengthy intervals between 10:00 and 16:00, shield your pores and skin with a wide-brimmed hat. Wear SPF 30 sunscreen day by day and reapply usually.

See a health care provider: Have a well being query? We will discover an skilled to reply it.

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