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The Difference Between Sebaceous Filaments and Blackheads - Angela Caglia Skincare

The Difference Between Sebaceous Filaments and Blackheads


The T-zone is notoriously home to blackheads. When the opening of a hair follicle on the skin is clogged by excess oil or debris, tiny, dark bumps can form. The dark, clogged pores are bane to many skin enthusiasts.

One common misconception, however, is that all of the spots in your T-zone are blackheads. In reality, many of them could be sebaceous filaments.  

What are sebaceous filaments?

Sebaceous filaments are the glands in your hair follicles that secrete sebum, the natural oil produced by our skin to keep it moisturized. They are necessary elements of each hair follicle that everyone has. Often, these oil-guiders go undetected.

However, they can be more noticeable in oilier skin, or skin with larger pores. When the pore is filled with oil, it can overflow from the oil glands. When oxidized, or exposed to the air, sebaceous filaments can then take on a darker appearance. This is when they can be easily misconceived with blackheads.  

Sebaceous filaments vs. blackheads 

You can tell the difference between them by examining the appearance and texture of the small dots on your skin. Instead of being very dark, visible sebaceous filaments are only slightly discolored – usually grey or yellow. Unlike their blackhead lookalikes, they won’t protrude from your face or leave bumps, and are instead very smooth.

How to treat sebaceous filaments

They are both natural and necessary for the normal oil production of our pores. They cannot be completely removed and can only be temporarily extracted. Although it’s possible, like blackheads, to attempt to remove them visibly, they will simply reappear in the next 30 days. The best method, then, is to prevent the over-production of oil in the first place.

Regulating sebum production on the face can prevent visible sebaceous filaments from popping up on your complexion. Tea tree oil and rosemary leaf extract are natural solutions to excess oil production and contain anti-inflammatory properties to work with the lipid barrier and not against it. Try our Detox Serum for a non-irritating solution.

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