Sebacaeous filaments are essential in the lubrication of the skin because they are the structures that allow sebum (oil), to flow to the surface of the skin.
They are cylindrical in shape with a whiteish-yellowish colour and are found in areas of the skin rich in sebaceous glands.
They can be seen by the naked eye and are often confused with blackheads because of their appearance.
This is due to the fact that when the body overproduces sebum, the sebaceous filaments can fill up causing them to become very enlarged and therefore visible.
The difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments is that blackheads are type of acne whereas sebaceous filaments are not.
This is because sebaceous filaments are always present in the skin, they are apart of the structure of the skin and can’t be removed, while blackheads are formed when hair follicles become blocked and have the ability to be treated by a variety of ingredients.
What are the causes of sebaceous filaments?
Firstly, it’s important to note that it is totally normal for the skin to produce sebum and sometimes overproduce sebum. It’s a natural reaction to a change in your environment and should be regarded as a naturally protective measure that our body produces to fight environmental aggressors and dehydration.
The biggest cause of a visible sebaceous filament is really just pore size. Which makes sense because the more space you have to fill up the more it does.
Pore size is usually attributed to something completely out of your control. For example age, size of the hair follicle and genetics. There haven’t been very many studies on what environmental factors determine pore sizes but some say exposure to sun has an impact too.
How do you treat a sebaceous filament?
Well, the truth is that you don’t because technically you can’t actually get rid of sebaceous filaments. And you shouldn’t really want to because dry skin isn’t much fun either.
Even the notion of trying to extract or squeeze empty a sebaceous filament is useless because they tend to fill up again.
The way I look at treating a sebaceous filament is very much the same as how I would treat oily skin.
Firstly, keep the skin properly exfoliated with a chemical exfoliant. Something like Pixi Glow Tonic would work here.
Secondly, keep your skin hydrated and don’t be afraid to fight oil with oils. The root cause of this issue is that your skin is asking for hydration. One of the best ways to provide that is though oils, so don’t be afraid to use something like Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate from Kiehls (which I have used and loved) after your exfoliating stage to keep the skin hydrated.
Lastly, a mist might be the one thing missing from your routine. I think that mists can sometimes be misconstrued as a completely useless part of your routine when in actuality if your skin is dehydrated it could be product that makes the biggest difference.
This is because it’s locking in your routine and adding an extra layer of hydration that you wouldn’t normally get. Currently, I’m using the WLDKAT Skin Coconut Water + Noni Fruit Electrolyte spray. The application of this is perfectly even all of the skin and it’s super hydrating.
How can you tell the difference between a sebaceous filament and a blackhead?
It’s actually quite difficult but it’s mostly down to colour. Blackheads are black while sebaceous filaments are slight more grey.
But the important thing to remember is that it’s actually not hugely important because they are both treated in the same way.
If you follow the three rules I listed above you should start to see a difference in, not just this topical concern, but overall skin health.
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