Our skin is a mirror reflection of our inner health. Skin, the largest organ of our body, also reflects our emotional health, life style, and diet. There are many things that affects our skin including acne, blackheads, spots, blemishes etc. Let’s put some light on how to banish blackheads.
Understanding Our Skin To Banish Blackheads
BLACKHEAD & WHITEHEAD
In a black head, the part of the pore at the surface of the skin is stretched and open. The black color is dead skin cells, bacteria and oil stuck down in the pore. Because the top part of the pore is open, the scientific term for a blackhead is an open comedone (pronounced “comb-ee-doan”).1
A white head is also a clogged pore, except, unlike a black head, the top of the pore is not stretched open and exposing the clogged portion. The pore is still clogged, but the surface of the pore is closed so dermatologists call this a closed comedone.1
FOODS THAT SAY HELLO TO BLACKHEADS
On my list of ‘skin enemies’, sugar comes at number 1. I have got a sweet tooth and it really affects my skin terribly. Refined sugar, mostly found in baked items, candies, drinks etc spikes our insulin level, which in turn leads to collagen and elastin breakdown. These are fibres responsible for skin softness, suppleness, strength and elasticity. Aggravated insulin level can also increase sebum production which is a welcoming factor for blackhead breakouts.
Excess of dairy products promotes insulin level spikes and increased blood levels of androgen, which leads to excess oil production and increased potential for blackheads.
Alcohol is very notorious because of its empty calories and nill nutritional value which does no good to skin. It is also responsible for altered insulin level.
Makeup and other skin care products can clog pores and thus resulting in blackheads.
It can be a very important contributing factor specially during the times of puberty and menopause.
This type of skin is widely prone to blackheads.
Stress is a contributing factor to a damaged skin.
GOOD NUTRITION TIPS TO BANISH BLACKHEADS
- Hydration is the key to beautiful skin. At least 8 glass of water is needed to keep skin hydrated and supple looking.
- Foods rich in zinc like raspberries, blackberries, sprouted pumpkinseeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, avocados and cashews help reduce inflammation and bacteria production and improves immunity. This in turn improves skin health.
- Fresh fruit is always satisfying and healthy sweet treat.
- Craving for sweet foods can be satisfied by eating dark chocolate. It also contains zinc and has antioxidants.
- Swap whole grains, vegetables and beans with white pasta, rice and bread etc.
- Choose lean proteins like chicken or fish like salmon and sardines over fatty proteins.
- Go for nuts which contain selenium, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron, which are all essential for healthy skin.
- Raw vegetables as snacks can provide essential vitamins and minerals to combat skin problems. Carrots, rich in beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, can improve skin health and helps to banish blackheads.
- Vitamin C, an antioxidant, responsible for growth and repair of skin tissues
- Coffee craving can be quenched by taking decaf coffee varieties, but in moderation.
- Moderation is a key in taking dairy products. Also look out for dairy alternatives, such as almond milk and soy milk.
- Omega-3 fish oils not only good for heart health, but they can do wonders for unhealthy skin. Unlike other fatty foods, the natural oils in salmon offer anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts, flaxseed oil, and beans can also provide a source of omega-3 oils.
SOME OTHER TIPS
- Wash face thoroughly to remove any makeup, specially before going to sleep.
- To banish blackheads, use remedies to reduce oil from an oily skin.
- Wash face several times with water during a day and then gently dry with a soft cloth.
- Don’t squeeze the blackheads with your nails as it can cause an inflammation and later leave a scar.
- Sleep properly.
- Use mild soap and cleaners according to your skin type.
- Appropriate sunblock should be used to avoid harmful rays of sun.
SOME HOME REMEDIES
As blackheads are a result of open, clogged pores, it’s best to treat pores so that they are closed. Lemon juice acts as a natural astringent. Apply lemon juice to the affected area for a couple of hours and wash. Make it sure to avoid sunlight exposure as lemon makes skin sensitive to sun.
Wash your face before an exercise. The sweat coming out of pores will soften the blackheads. Wash afterwards to remove dried sweat blocking pores.
Make a spreadable paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area. Massage the paste in gentle motion for couple of minutes and rinse thoroughly. Baking soda has amazing exfoliating and properties which helps remove the blackheads. It also dries skin so don’t forget to moisturise the skin afterwards.
Clay has been used for centuries for skin related ailments. Mud mask does the amazing job of drawing out oils and other impurities locked in pores.
Egg white mask is amazing to provide nourishment to the skin and tighten skin pores temporarily. Apply egg white, let it dry and then apply a second coating. Go for 3-5 layers of egg white mask.
The cheapest and easiest way to keep blackheads away is a gentle wash of the face with water to flush away dead skin and excess oil. Pat dry with a soft towel.
Yusra Kashif (Nutritionist)