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Sebaceous Filaments – What are they and how do you get rid of them?


Many of us have stood in front of the mirror and carefully studied the skin, and perhaps noticed small dots on the nose or cheeks? Many then assume that these small dots are blackheads or blackheads. If you looked a little closer or tried to squeeze them, you may also have discovered that there is nothing there. Then we can introduce you to what are called sebaceous filaments, which is the medical term for these structures that can appear along your pores.

Sebaceous filaments play an essential role in bringing the skin's natural oils from the sebaceous glands up to the skin's surface. Similar to pores, these can become clogged with both excess oils and dead skin cells. This is when we perceive them as small dots with a black, gray or darker skin color. In this blog, we're going to take a closer look at sebaceous filaments and give you our best tips on how to get rid of them.


It is completely understandable that many of us confuse blackheads and sebaceous filaments, because they are similar. But it is important to understand the difference between them, to be able to distinguish them and learn how to treat them.

Unlike blackheads, sebaceous filaments are completely natural and an important part of the skin's makeup. Without them, the skin would not be able to bring natural oils up to the skin's surface. You can explain it so simply that filaments are the "good" ones when it comes to the skin's functions, while blackheads are the "bad" ones because they block the skin's normal function.

Blackheads are clogged pores filled with excess oils, dead skin cells and sometimes even bacteria. Therefore, they appear as small dark dots on the surface of the skin. Although they may look similar on the skin's surface, the two conditions are completely different on our skin.


Technically, it is not necessary to treat or get rid of sebaceous filaments as they are a completely natural part of your skin. But, many of us want to reduce the visibility of these spots and maybe even clear them out to make them less visible again. Below we go through several steps you can start from.

1.Always remove make-up in the evening

If you leave makeup on your face before going to bed at night, you can increase the risk of clogged pores. It is therefore very important to always remove make-up in the evening and to clean the skin properly after a whole day. For best cleaning results, use double cleaning. Start with a cleansing balm or cleansing oil on dry skin to dissolve makeup. Then follow up with a water-based face wash, to remove any remaining skin products and dirt.

2. Wash your face after exercise

After a workout where you've sweated on your face, it's important to wash your face with a cleanser and continue with your other skin care routine. It is important to never allow bacteria and sweat to remain on the face for a long time, as this can lead to clogged pores and sebaceous filaments, along with other skin problems such as irritations or acne breakouts.

3. Exfoliate the skin from time to time

It is important to regularly exfoliate the skin as the sebaceous filaments can become filled with an overabundance of the skin's natural oils and dead skin cells. In general, it is recommended to do a peeling or scrub twice a week for the best effect. If it is carried out more often than that, you may risk irritating your skin. Exfoliation can be performed with either a physical exfoliant in the form of a scrub or a chemical exfoliant with glycolic acid or salicylic acid.

4. Add retinol to your skin care routine

When it comes to improving the skin's texture, products containing the ingredient retinol are ''the holy grail''. This ingredient is known to regulate cell renewal and thus prevent pores from clogging and sebaceous filaments from appearing. By using a cream or serum with retinol in your skin care routine, once or twice a week, you improve the skin's texture. As your skin gets used to the ingredient, you can also increase the number of times a week you use retinol products.

5. Use face masks

For many, face masks are considered only as an alternative product to use in the skin care routine and not as a necessary part of it. But if you choose the right face mask, you can actually see a big difference when it comes to keeping both pores and your sebaceous filaments under control. The best formula for this is a cleansing formula made with oil-absorbing charcoal or clay.

6. Try a magical trio of active ingredients

Everyone's skin is different and while some have too sensitive skin to use more than one active ingredient, some have skin that gets good results from three different active ingredients. A combination of salicylic acid, niacinamide and retinol has been shown to give good results and can make a great trio to reduce the visibility of sebaceous filaments. A good way to try this is to add salicylic acid and niacinamide to your skin care routine after your skin has gotten used to using retinol.

7. Don't forget to moisturize

Unfortunately, many of us misunderstand how to treat and care for skin with high sebum production. Keeping your skin barrier hydrated and healthy can help prevent the skin from overproducing sebum (the natural oils). By using a lightweight and oil-free moisturizer, you add moisture without overdoing the amount of oil.

We sum up

Sebaceous filaments are simply necessary for the skin to function properly. This means that you cannot remove them permanently, but you can easily take some steps to reduce their visibility. By following the tips we mentioned above, such as exfoliating the skin, adding moisture, using retinol and other treatments, you have a good starting point to achieve a more even skin texture. If you are still unsure whether it is black dots or sebaceous filaments you see on the surface of the skin, it may be a good idea to book an appointment with a dermatologist who can help you find the right treatment for your particular skin.
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