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Sebaceous Filaments: How do they differ from blackheads?

woman applying a nose strip to remove sebaceous filaments.

Are you constantly worried about the tiny dark dots appearing on your nose? You identify the black dots as a blackhead and embark on a skincare routine. You have exhausted all the means but yielded no results? What if we tell you that the tiny black dots are not blackheads and your skincare routine is unsuccessful because you got it all wrong?

Yes, you read it right. What you think are blackheads are not blackheads but sebaceous filaments as many people fail to distinguish between them due to their similarity. In this blog, we will simplify the difference between smoother and healthier skin.

Let’s take a look first at what Sebaceous filaments are and the stimulus behind them.

What are Sebaceous Filaments?

Sebaceous glands are minuscule glands present in the hair follicles that secrete sebum. Sebum provides lubricious content to prevent the skin from drying. One can say that sebum is a natural moisturiser. The sebaceous filaments are thin hair-like structures that help these glands to reach the surface of the skin. When the sebaceous glands overproduce sebum, it clogs the pores and tiny dark dots appear on the skin. If you have oily skin, the overproduction is accentuated and the pores look enlarged.

woman illustrating the presence of sebaceous filaments

Now, you know what sebaceous filaments are but don’t worry they are normal and even healthy for the skin. Having the ambiguity resolved, don’t waste money and effort on products to prevent blackheads when you’re dealing with sebaceous filaments.

Causes of Sebaceous Filaments

Sebaceous filaments are the unsung heroes of our skin but some overlying factors make them enlarged. The following are the reasons:

  • Poor Skincare routine: This one is the main impetus for oily skin. If you are constantly washing or drying your skin then as a consequence the sebaceous glands produce more sebum to moisten the skin. It makes the sebaceous glands more prominent.
  • Bushy hair: The darker, bushier, and thicker the hair, the more apparent the sebaceous filaments.
  • Age: As one grows older, the sebaceous glands create more sebum and in return, the filaments get more visible. Also, as humans approach their 50s, the skin sags and the pores get bigger.

How to Identify Sebaceous Filaments

Firstly, Sebaceous filaments are spread throughout the body evenly but sometimes get concentrated on the nose and forehead. They tend to reappear as well.

woman examining her nose for sebaceous filaments,

Voila! If it is on the nose and forehead and reappears, it may be sebaceous filaments - It’s one of the identification factors.

Secondly, the size of the sebaceous filament is small. If you have tiny dark dots, they are not blackheads.

Lastly, sebaceous filaments appear on normal and healthy skin only. They may look bad but don’t cause any harm to the skin whereas blackheads are a form of acne. They appear on unhealthy skin.

Difference Between Sebaceous Filaments & Blackheads

Sebaceous glands produce sebum through hair follicles in the skin and when the opening gets clogged or develops a plug, blackheads form. In the plug, dead skin cells and oil collect. When the opening stays closed, a whitehead appears whereas when it opens a blackhead pops up. They occur on the face, neck, chest, and back as there are more hair follicles present and are a form of acne. Blackheads are dark in colour because an oxidised version of melanin is present in them.
Sebaceous Filaments
Not a type of acne
Type of acne
Lighter in colour, mostly yellow, dark brown, or grey
Don't have plugs
Have plugs of sebum at the skin's surface
Bigger in size
Extruded Material Appearance
Waxy threadlike structure comes out 
A dark waxy plug may come out


How to Identify Blackheads

Feeling disappointed when you slap a strip on your nose hoping to achieve clear skin but there is hardly anything on the strip? We know how it feels.

Blackheads are easy to identify owing to their dark colour, slightly raised position, and lack of inflammation. They are the painless form of acne. It can be found in many areas including the face, neck, chest, etc.

Blackheads are not minuscule as sebaceous filaments. To spot a sebaceous filament, the mirror is placed almost half an inch from the skin whereas blackheads are not that hard to spot.

Another peculiarity of blackheads is that once it is removed, it is unlikely that they will appear again. Simply, they can be extracted. Ergo, using pore strips may temporarily eliminate the visible part of the blackhead, but this method fails to address the underlying causes of the issue, leading to the inevitable return of blackheads.

How to prevent Sebaceous Filaments

Sebaceous Filaments are a natural part of the skin and there is no underlying need to remove them but we know it, girl, you have the urge to purge them. The best guidance from us to you is to leave the sebaceous filaments alone. Constantly, poking, pushing, and prodding may antagonise the production of sebaceous filaments or exterminate the sebum thoroughly. However, here are some suggestions for preventing the sebaceous filaments from being visible.

  • Cleanse Well: Sleeping with a face full of makeup is a summon to clog the pores. Double cleansing every night to dispose of any makeup. DRSQ’s cleanser is admirable for gentle cleansing and dissolving makeup. Any detritus can be washed off with messaging.
  • Exfoliate: The pores are clogged with oil and dead skin cells so, it is imperative to exfoliate the skin to eliminate it wholly. Exfoliation ought to be done twice a week at night. Exfoliating more than that irritates the skin. It is feasible to use exfoliating acids.
    woman exfoliating to remove sebaceous filaments
  • Wash your face after any exhausting activity: An exhausting activity leaves you tired and worn out. One sweats profusely also after an intense workout, which leads to the buildup of bacteria. It can promptly clog the pores and cause irritation so, it is recommended to instantly wash the face after an exhausting activity and apply a moisturiser.
  • Apply a mask: Folks consider applying a face mask as an addition to moisture only conversely, face masks are aidful in preventing the occurrence of sebaceous filaments. Adding a face mask that has a clarifying formula or is charcoal-based can unclog the pores competently.
    woman applying a mask to treat sebaceous filaments.
  • Entail Active Ingredients: It is momentous to balance out grim active ingredients with calming ones. Ascertain that the skin is flooded with vitamins, neuropeptides, and antioxidants. These are vital for healthy skin that has new skin cells.
  • Moisturise: Now, this may sound paradoxical, but moisturising the skin can actually yield positive results. Moisturising the skin can halt the overproduction of sebum. Apply a generous layer of DRSQ’s Advanced moisturiser with SPF that is non-greasy, lightweight, and enriched with anti-oxidants.
  • Stop touching your face: Now, this one is crucial. Touching your face is a habit for a lot of people and hands are the breeding grounds of bacteria. While touching your face, you transfer those bacteria that block the pores so, keep your hands away from the face.

Ingredients for Sebaceous Filaments

A skincare routine that wipes the excessive oil, dirt, and bacteria while keeping it moisturised simultaneously is ideal for stamping out the visible sebaceous filaments. Have a look at the skincare routine to treat sebaceous filaments but be mindful that they can’t be removed entirely.

  • Salicylic acid: It is an active ingredient in many acne creams, lotions, and cleansers. Salicylic acid penetrates the skin and clears away the dead skin cells that are clogging the pores. It also reduces the production of oil and shrinks the size of sebaceous filaments. The other name for salicylic acid is Beta hydroxy acid. DRSQ’s Exfoliating Serum with Salicylic acid is praise-worthy for oily skin. It can be applied every night for oily skin and every other day for dry skin.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids obstruct the clogging of pores and Retin-A, Differin, and Tazorac are retinoids that can be used to deter sebaceous filaments. It is a proven ingredient to monitor skin cell turnover and halt the sebaceous filaments from blocking up. Use DRSQ’s Anti-acne and breakout serum with Retinaldehyde every other night.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an excellent ingredient to dry the skin and restrict the amount of sebum. It also reduces the size of the pores as well. This product is recommended for oily skin fellows as it may be too drying for people having dry skin.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is beloved for treating acne. It is a trustworthy ingredient and DRSQ’s Clarifying cleanser with tea tree oil as one of its key ingredients can be adopted.
  • Sunscreen: Exposure to too much sun increases sweating and creates bacteria, consequently clogging the pores. Sun exposure expands the size of the pores as well. Use non-comedogenic and oil-free sunscreen. Shun greasy, oil-based, and heavy sunscreen to counteract the blocking of pores.


Sebaceous Filaments are a pivotal part of our body. They are there to nourish the skin with natural moisture and are dispersed throughout the body. Sebum, the moisturiser, keeps the skin healthy, shiny, and moist. It becomes visible due to various underlying factors and not owing to any medical condition.

One can’t obliterate them altogether but to mitigate their presence, the production of oil in the skin should be lessened. The difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads is small but indispensable for removal.

Now, you know everything about them and don’t hesitate to do away with them.

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