Not Blackheads: Sebaceous Filaments and How to Get Rid of Them

Pore strips won't help you here.

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Do you want the good news or bad news first? When confronted with these options, the logical answer would be to choose the bad first so you can end on an optimistic note. However, in this instance, when we are talking about the infuriating dark pinpoints that stand between you and the flawless complexion you last had in 2007, there's a twist. So do you want the good news, the bad news, or the hopeless news first? Too late.

The good

You might not have blackheads! Whoopee! Those oh-so-squeezable (DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT) speckles dotting your nose are probably sebaceous filaments, which is great, but also like "a clog by any other name would be just as maddening." By definition, they're "loose, porous mass[es] of horny detritus" that collect around hair follicles when dead skin cells and sebum mix. More cause for joy and felicitations: While blackheads are classified as acne, sebaceous filaments technically aren't— plus they diminish as we age and our skins dry.

The bad

Is it not bad enough having to look at them when you have one of those episodes where you stare into the mirror like "IF ONLY I COULD RID MYSELF OF THE CURSED OIL SNAKES THAT RESIDE IN MY FACE CREVICES, THEN I WOULD BE PERFECT (minus my hubris and bunions, of course)?" No? Then know that, even though it is very satisfying, scraping or pinching sebaceous filaments is like booking yourself a first-class ticket on the Broken Capillary Express with Nonstop Service to Enlarged Poresville. Not cute.

The hopeless

You know what's coming: Sebaceous filaments cannot be eradicated—they can only be managed with oil cleansing, an alpha and beta hydroxy acid regimen, and regular, professional extractions (I'm snorting too), like what aesthetician Hannah would have done had she been given the opportunity to have a go at my face during the most recent Facebook Live session in which I am lying down and nearly topless—again.

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So sorry to end on a diminished seventh chord in the key of you're-FLAT-out-of-luck (HAHA), but life ain't fair, kid, and neither is your skin. Here are some product recommendations anyway.

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