I’ve had some fair share of experience with both SFs and blackheads on my breast, and they are quite tricky to deal with.
Today I share my tried and true tips on how to remove blackheads and sebaceous filaments from your breasts.
The difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads
Before you can start treating the issue, you need to know what you have in the first place. Let’s explore the difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads.
What are sebaceous filaments?
Sebaceous filaments are essentially oil-filled pores that have expanded to a phase where they are visible to you, and, well, to others.
They most often appear on oily zones on the face, like the nose, cheeks, and chin, but can also be seen around your décolleté.
Although they can’t negatively influence your skin’s health, they’re a cosmetic concern for many, myself included.
Sebaceous filaments are often confused with blackheads but they lack the texture that the latter has. They don’t fall under the category of acne either and they usually appear because of low collagen levels, ageing, exposure to the sun, or genetics.
They can’t be completely eliminated but you can reduce their size and appearance via proper pore care and the use of appropriate skincare products.
So, how are blackheads different?
These nasty uglies happen when there’s a buildup of sebum, inflammation, and P.acnes (Propionibacterium acnes).
They’re the milder version of acne and are dark, open dots on your skin. Blackheads are open comedones, which appear once a hair follicle or sebaceous gland becomes inflamed.
They’re not painful and don’t cause any physical discomfort, instead, they strike your confidence levels and make you self-conscious.
Here are some of the factors that cause blackheads:
- High levels of sebum production;
- Anomalous creation of keratin;
- A rise in androgen hormone levels, which results in the increase of the above two factors;
- Presence of skin bacteria which leads to acne.
Why do you get sebaceous filaments or blackheads in the chest area?
So, you can have one or the other, or both, if you happen to have a stroke of really bad luck.
The skin naturally produces sebum and sometimes, as a result of this process, sebaceous filaments can become more prominent or blackheads may form.
People with oilier skin or bigger pores are more susceptible to this problem, while those with drier skin and smaller pores experience it less often.
The size of your pores is influenced by factors such as:
- Having thicker hair follicles;
- Exposure to the sun.
There’s a popular myth that sebaceous filaments and blackheads are only caused by dirty skin. No, dirty skin may contribute to SFs and blackheads worsening, but you won’t be able to get rid of them only by upping your hygiene.
How to get rid of blackheads on breasts
Here is every single thing you can do to help clear clogged pores around your boobs and get rid of the prominent sebaceous filaments:
Change your bras more frequently
If you’re not washing your bras regularly, they will accumulate body oils, sweat, and dirt that can clog up your pores and lead to blackheads or prominent sebaceous filaments in your chest area.
Washing your bras often will prevent the pores from being suffocated in extra amounts of oils and dirt.
Regular showers with helpful products
Make sure to shower on a daily basis using a salicylic acid body washer such as the CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin or La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel with 2% Salicylic Acid. Such washers offer great support in clearing existing breakouts, exfoliating the skin, and helping you to keep your pores clean at all times.
I’ve been a religious user of both the CeraVe’s and the La Roche-Posay washes which helped me to clear out my backne and boob blackheads. The CeraVe wash has niacinamide, the very thing that can shrink your pores to non-existence. And the La Roche-Posay product has an addition of zinc glyconate and a derivative of salicylic acid, if you’re prone to acne formation.
I have stockpiled a few bottles in my bathroom cupboard and make sure to never run out of these two.
To get the best results with a salicylic acid wash, it’s best to lather it well on your skin and leave it to work for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
Wash your skin thoroughly after using hair conditioners and masks
A lot of conditioners and hair masks out there use petroleum, jojoba oil, silicone, shea butter, or other ingredients that can clog the pores on your chest and result in unsightly blackheads.
Carefully washing hair conditioning off your breast area will guarantee a clean epidermis and zero nastiness.
I always wash and condition my hair first thing and end my showers with a thorough body washing.
Always opt for clean textiles
Make sure you use towels and clothes that are freshly washed and free of bacteria, body oil, and germs. When it comes to pajamas, choose cotton as it is more breathable and less irritating to the skin.
And do yourself a favor: wash your gym clothes regularly and don’t use a set of clothes more than once. I personally know a few people who use a gym set a couple of times before changing it with a clean one. But if you suffer from blackheads on your boobs, you can’t afford to be one of them.
Try a different shampoo
If your shampoo contains sulfate, try sulfate-free options or even alternatives to shampoo. Sulfates are known to clog pores and cause acne and blackheads in people with more sensitive skin. I’ve heard of people using Dove bar soap with good success, but you can also choose a shampoo brand with sulfate-free options, such as the Loreal sulfate-free line.
You don’t need to break the bank with this one, any product that does the job for you will be perfect.
Exfoliating the skin on your chest is a crucial part of minimizing the appearance of sebaceous filaments. Most people exfoliate their faces but forget about the boob zone. Exfoliation is the main step to help you keep your pores clean and reduce the visual sebaceous filaments to a minimum.
Opt for products containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid as they help reduce the size of the pores by eliminating dead skin cells from the upper layers. They can dissolve sebaceous filaments and reduce the oil on the skin.
I use Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant for all my exfoliation needs. It’s especially suitable for your chest area as it soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave any residue.
Try a clay mask
If your chest blackheads are super prominent and you want a quick fix, try to spot treat with a charcoal mask, such as the Youth To The People Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask.
The product has salicylic acid, niacinamide, and lactic acid in a combo with kaolin clay, to draw out impurities and unclog stubborn blackheads from your pores.
I would apply it after a hot, steaming shower when my pores and their contents are loosened. Leave it on the area for 5 to 10 minutes, and rinse with lukewarm water.
How to shrink the pores in your chest area
Once your pores are clean and you have the habit to maintain the skin in your breasts area, you’ll notice that the pores on your chest shrink in appearance. This is because you’ve kept them clean, so the elasticity of your skin allows it to tighten and close-up your pores.
That is, if you are still at an age when your skin has its full elasticity.
The more you age, the more “unfixable” your pores will be, and once large, you’ll have a hard time in making them look smaller.
However, you can try products with niacinamide (in the range ot 5%), willow bark extract, and green tea, in addition to AHAs and BHAs. All of these will help your pores look clean and appear smaller and tighter.
What to avoid doing
As much as you can help your body deal with sebaceous filaments on your chest, you can also double the damage by taking the wrong measures. Here are some of the “no-no’s” to avoid:
- Using heavy body lotions – If you have body areas that are more exposed to break-outs such as your chest, don’t use heavy lotions on them. Such products could block your pores and worsen your blackhead problem. Instead, opt for light, gel-like formulations with moisturizing properties, as you still need to keep your skin well hydrated.
- Physical scrubs – Physical scrubs are also a bad idea as they can cause skin irritations around the chest. At best, they won’t achieve anything, and at worst, using them will result in micro skin tears and hyperpigmentation.
- Alcohol as a spot treatment – Although alcohol seems like a brilliant idea for some, due to its drying properties, I would suggest avoiding it as it will dry out your skin. It can cause additional damage and irritation to the breast area at a time when it will appreciate something soothing and healing instead.
- Manually extracting the blackhead – We’ve covered this topic before, and manual extraction is not recommended as you may end up scaring yourself. Besides, most people don’t know how to properly extract a blackhead, so it’s best to visit a specialist for that.
Is it that bad to squeeze sebaceous filaments?
You’ll probably agree that it’s tempting to try to squeeze your sebaceous filaments away from existence. And who can blame you, all you want is to rid of the nastiness and be done with it once and for all.
However, picking on your blackheads and SFs is bad for many reasons.
Squeezing can irritate your skin, leave red marks, and can even cause deep scars that are difficult to treat without cosmetic procedures.
It can also lead to blackhead multiplication as you’re highly likely to infect the area with dirty nails. Even if you use extraction tools, there is no guarantee that you’ve cleaned them properly after previous use or that you have disinfected the tool sufficiently.
Squeezing or manually extracting sebaceous filaments can even result in severe inflammation and infection, so why risk it, it’s not like it’s even effective.
Preventing blackheads and SFs on your chest
The best approach to take when it comes to sebaceous filaments and blackheads is not treatment but prevention, wouldn’t you agree?
If you’ve managed to rid of the nasties, you need not relax just yet, as they can reappear again if you return to your old ways.
Here are some tried and true methods to prevent blackheads from appearing on your breast area:
- Carefully clean the skin post-workout and take regular showers;
- Stay away from physical scrubbing to avoid skin irritations;
- Use high-quality skincare products like washers, cleansers, oil-free moisturizers and products marked as “non-comedogenic” to prevent pore-clogging;
- Regularly moisturize your skin using light formulations;
- Choose a gentle foaming body wash to prevent drying out your skin;
- away from oil- or alcohol-based cleansers and moisturizers to prevent irritation and clogged pores.
With proper hygiene and by staying conscious of your daily routine, you can dramatically reduce visible sebaceous filaments of comedones around your breasts.
You can restore the baby-smooth condition of the skin and skyrocket your confidence – hello tanktops!
I’d love to hear about your experience with this problem! Have you tried anything different and how did it work for you? Share your story by leaving a comment in the comment section below.