What exactly are sebaceous filaments?
If you look very closely at your nose, you might be able to see the light coloured dots at the surface of your pores. These are sebaceous filaments, which are thread-like structures that reside in the lining of your pores. Their job is to help guide oil flow from the sebaceous gland, through the dermis and to the surface of your skin where that oil can fulfill its purpose fighting dehydration and protecting the skin from environmental triggers.
They are a completely natural and normal part of the skin. Many people find that sebaceous filaments are particularly visible on their nose, and they are often mistaken for blackheads.
Sebaceous filaments vs Blackheads
While sebaceous filaments and blackheads can look similar, they serve almost opposite purposes. Sebaceous filaments assist oil flow from deep within the pore to the outer layer of skin. On the other hand, blackheads occur when too much oil is produced and combines with dead skin cells to block pores.
In terms of appearance, sebaceous filaments are usually not very noticeable, while blackheads stand out on the skin due to their dark colour.
How sebaceous filaments improve your skin
Sebaceous filaments are an unsung hero. As long as they are functioning properly, they should be almost invisible and help to hydrate your skin and fight any skin aggravators. They are the “ladder” that your natural oils use to move from deep within the dermis to the skin’s surface. These oils moisturise your skin and improve elasticity. They also create a coating on your skin that helps to protect you from things like sun, wind and other environmental triggers.
The problem with sebaceous filaments
The problem with sebaceous filaments occurs when an overproduction of oil causes the pore to fill up with sebum, making the filaments much more visible as they begin to take on the appearance of a blackhead. A sebaceous filament and a blackhead are not the same thing, but if the pore becomes clogged then it can turn into a blackhead.
Sebaceous filaments are a naturally occurring part of the skin, and even if they are squeezed or removed they will always come back. However, there are ways to manage the appearance of sebaceous filaments when they become clogged and start to contribute to enlarged pores.
Sebaceous filaments treatment
The best treatment for sebaceous filaments is to have a healthy skin routine that targets congestion. This will prevent pores from overfilling with oil, and help the filaments to do their job properly. We recommend the following routine to ease congestion.
1. Gentle and regular cleaning
Gentle and regular cleansing with a detoxifying cleanser will help to draw out impurities from deep within the pores, refreshing and refining your skin texture. We recommend looking for a cleanser with charcoal, as this ingredient will bind to detritus and pull it out of your skin. Our Uncomplicated Cleanser Plus Charcoal is ideal for skin prone to congestion, and will reduce the appearance of sebaceous filaments by flushing out the pore. Cleanser should be applied every day, remembering to cleanse twice if you are wearing makeup.
2. Exfoliating to prevent clogged pores
Regular exfoliation will prevent dead skin cells from accumulating in your pores so that your sebaceous filaments can keep doing their job. Look for a gentle physical exfoliant with antibacterial additives to help thoroughly cleanser the pores. We recommend our Fresh Sea and Salty Sand Gentle-Foliant to keep your skin fresh, clear and bright. Exfoliant should be applied 1-3 times each week.
3. Serums to buff, detox and purify
Find a congestion targeting serum to help your sebaceous filaments pull oil to the skin's surface and clear the pore of any impurities. Our Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum is designed for congested skin to polish away any pore-clogging debris.
Tips for dealing with sebaceous filaments
- It is best not to squeeze the skin to try to remove your sebaceous filaments. This can cause skin damage and scarring, and the filaments will be back before long anyway.
- It is never a good idea to use harsh products on your skin. To treat sebaceous filaments, look for gentle skin products that will cleanse and exfoliate your skin without stripping it of natural oils.
- Remember that sebaceous filaments are a completely natural and normal part of your skin and that they have an important role to play in directing your skin’s oil flow.
More questions on sebaceous filaments and how to manage them? Get in touch with our skin care experts! At esmi, we are here to support you at every step of your skin care journey. Contact us today with any questions you may have.