So, you think you have blackheads. Well, those little dots peppered across your nose may not be blackheads at all. They likely are sebaceous filaments.

Sebaceous filaments are extrusions from pores. They are tube like structures working as conveyor belts for sebum (oil) and dead skin cells. They help keep pores free of bacteria and keep skin moisturized. 

Blackheads are a form of congestion of hair follicles (aka. acne lesions or open comedones). Blackheads are composed of oxidized sebum, dead skin cells and P.acnes bacteria that block and expand pores.  

The color of sebaceous filaments range from bright white to flesh toned and brownish/grey. They can occur in any area of densely populated sebaceous follicles, such as the nose, chest and just below the lower lip and chin. People with large pores and oily skin have a propensity for sebaceous filaments.

Annoyingly, there is no getting rid of sebaceous filaments. When blackheads are extracted, they won’t necessarily reappear with proper medications and treatments. When sebaceous filaments are extracted, they refill again and again.

Why do they repeatedly refill? 

Skin needs sebaceous filaments. Oily skin especially needs them to prevent bacteria buildup in pores. Dry skin needs them to help skin stay moisturized.

Don’t panic. There are things you can do to reduce recurrence of sebaceous filaments. To minimize recurrence and pore size, you must be compliant and consistent with the following:

Regularly use a SALICYLIC ACID wash or product.

SA breaks up oil and reduces formation of sebaceous filaments.

Use RETINOIDS every night as tolerated.

Retinoids are chemical exfoliants that unglue dead skin cells from healthy skin (aka. cell turnover), keeping pores clear and their appearance minimized.

Skinbetter Science AlphaRet and Intensive AlphaRet, and Epionce Lytics are excellent products that promote cell turnover and skin health without a prescription.


Using scrubs, dermaplaning, harsh face and body brushing can damage skin’s protective barrier, irritating and worsening sebaceous filaments – and acne, for that matter.


Use oil free moisturizers if skin is oily. Denying skin hydration or over-drying skin will cause sebaceous glands to compensate by producing more sebum (oil) and expanding pores.

Use a CLAY MASK on occasion to absorb excess sebum if needed.

Use SUNSCREEN every single day.

UV radiation destroys skin’s architecture which negatively impacts skin health and appearance, including expansion of pores and build up of dead skin cells.

Modify your DIET if you regularly consume more processed/packaged/fast foods than high fiber and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.

Fiber and antioxidant rich foods control blood sugars and oil production.

Processed/packaged/fast foods increase blood sugars and oil production, expanding pores.

Of course, there is a long list of other reasons for avoiding foods served out of a drive-through window.

Regular CHEMICAL PEELS help keep skin clear and pores minimized.

There are many reasons chemical peels are key to skin perfection.