A skin epiphany: What are Sebaceous Filaments?


Last week I told my mum that I thought blackheads were eventually going to take over my entire face. That’s how strongly I feel about the little buggers. I look in the mirror and all I see is every single pore on my nose and chin filled with goo. Ok so I might be so close to the mirror that my nose accidentally bumps into it if I breathe too deeply, but I know they’re there and it brings me to tears some days.

Then, last week while I was searching the collective wisdom of millions, known as the internet, Google brought me to this nugget…

“Almost every day I get clients at my acne clinic that think they have blackheads on their nose. I know that what they see in their pores look just like blackheads, but they’re not. Those are sebaceous filaments. They are basically the oil glands on your nose and chin area. They are meant to be there and will never go away. Even if extracted, it still looks the same and it fills right back up again a week later. Once in a while, someone actually will have blackheads in their nose…Those definitely need to be extracted. So, my rule of thumb is, if all the so-called blackhead in your nose are all the same size, then they are not blackheads.”

“We are all so used to looking at air-brushed pictures of models in fashion magazines that have absolutely perfect skin with no pores showing at all. Unfortunately, this sets up an expectation and fantasy that our skin should look just like this. Sorry, it’s just not real and I tell my clients that they are just going to have to accept their nose the way it is.”

What. The. F%&#.

So all this time I have been stressing about my blackheads and I don’t even have any?! I don’t know how to feel. Am I happy about this revaluation? I guess so. I do feel a little bit silly that even with the cosmetic company BS radar I have worked so hard to hone, I still fell into the blackhead trap that has been set far and wide. Women have enough skin worries without creating a new one out of thin air thank you very much.


A bit more Googling and reading explains that sebaceous filaments are like ladders in the pore which help the sebum make it’s way to the surface of the skin where it’s job is to protect and moisturise. Those of us with oily skin have an abundance of these filaments which actually prevent blocked pores and blackheads. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. If you remove a sebaceous filament, which you can (just like a blackhead), it comes right back. I can attest to that!

So basically there is nothing we can do to remove these healthily occurring filaments. What we can do though, is stop getting so close to the mirror that we can see them and stop comparing our skin to the unrealistic beauty images we see in magazines. It’s just not natural people! Keep using a gentle cleanser and a well-formulated BHA, keep pore clogging products on the no buy list and you know what, get on with your day and forget about your pores! Share this post…reddit-7370093twitter-7820840facebook-6443090pinterest-3276192google-6326064email-1533700

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