WHAT ARE SEBACEOUS FILAMENTS AND CAN I GET RID OF THEM?

We’re all guilty of staring a little too closely at our pores in a magnified mirror. When looking at your skin, have you ever noticed small black or grey material in your pores? These look a lot like clogged pores, but they may actually be sebaceous filaments. We’re here to help you learn more about these parts of your skin and if you can get rid of sebaceous filaments.
 

 
What Are Sebaceous Filaments?

Sebaceous filaments are a natural part of your skin’s follicles where oily sebum builds up.  For many, sebaceous filaments may not be visible at all.  
However, those with oily skin or larger pores might consider them just as noticeable—and annoying—as blackheads. 

For better or worse, sebaceous filaments are a natural part of your skin and help keep it healthy and moisturized. This material carries sebum through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin and is often found in areas that produce the most oil, like the T-Zone. 

Sebaceous filaments are often confused with blackheads, but they’re really just a normal part of your skin. They form when oil is produced around a hair follicle. So, how can you tell the difference?

 
Blackheads vs. Sebaceous Filaments

Blackheads Sebaceous Filaments
  • Open pores (or hair follicles) clogged with an oxidized mixture of pore buildup, dead skin cells, and sebum (a naturally occurring body oil)
  • Small, dark spots on your skin
  • Non-inflammatory form of acne
  • Commonly found on the face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and back
  • A collection of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle

  • Small, light spots on your skin

  • Commonly found on the nose

 
You can get rid of blackheads by using a variety of over-the-counter products. Blackhead solutions typically contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol; ingredients that work to kill bacteria, remove excess oil, and help the skin to shed dead skin cells.

Blackheads may also be removed manually by a dermatologist or specially trained skincare professional.

While sebaceous filaments are a normal and harmless part of your skin, they do have the potential to lead to blackheads.  

Blackheads are a sign that you may want to spend time cleansing your skin to get rid of the excess oil and dirt that might be clogging your pores. You can try products like Biore’s deep pore charcoal cleanser

However, sebaceous filaments themselves are still necessary to keep your skin healthy. 
 

 
Can You Get Rid of Sebaceous Filaments?

Since sebaceous filaments are a normal part of your skin, you cannot get rid of them. While large sebaceous filaments can be professionally extracted, removing them is only temporary—they always come back. However, there are ways you can make them appear smaller. To reduce the appearance of sebaceous filaments, focus on skincare products that help minimize pores and control oil production. 

Since sebaceous filaments are places in your skin where oil collects, those with oily skin or large pores may find them uncomfortably visible.  

To reduce the appearance of large sebaceous filaments, focus on skincare products that help minimize pores and control oil production. But keep in mind that sebaceous filaments are natural parts of your skin and cannot be completely removed.  

Avoid squeezing sebaceous filaments in an attempt to remove them. If you squeeze sebaceous filaments, a white or yellow substance may ooze out, or nothing may happen at all. But trying to get rid of sebaceous filaments by doing so may injure the skin and damage your pore, even making it bigger in the process. 

If you notice that your sebaceous filaments have turned into blackheads, pore strips are a highly effective way to clean clogged pores.

 
How to Reduce Sebaceous Filaments on Your Face

While you can’t get rid of sebaceous filaments, stop them from taking over your face with these helpful skincare tips:
 

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  1. Use a Cleanser with Salicylic Acid. Remove excess impurities and sebum with a charcoal acne cleanser with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps dissolve the dead skin cells and oils  clogging pores that might lead to large sebaceous filaments.
 

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  1. Apply a Clay Mask. A deep cleansing clay mask is a great sebaceous filament treatment for drawing out the sebum and dirt in your pores. After cleansing your face, apply a mask and leave it on for about 10-15 minutes or as directed on the product label.
 

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  1. Gently Massage Your Face with a Cleansing Oil. Did you know oil dissolves oil? Don’t be afraid to wash oily skin with an oil-based cleanser. Try an over-the-counter oil product or natural oil like coconut or jojoba to effectively dissolve, lift, and replace blackhead-causing oil on your face.
 

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  1. Apply Toner and Moisturizer. After washing your face with a cleanser designed for acne-prone skin, apply a toner to refine pores and finish with a light facial moisturizer.
 

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  1. Exfoliate Weekly. To keep sebaceous filaments from ruining your selfies, add an exfoliating scrub to your skincare routine once or twice a week. Exfoliation helps keep pores clean by removing dead skin cells and excess oil from the surface of your skin.
 

Key Takeaways

  • Sebaceous filaments are not blackheads or acne—they’re a natural part of your pores that help keep your skin healthy and moisturized.

  • You can help get rid of the appearance of sebaceous filaments by cleansing and toning your skin each day and exfoliating weekly.

  • The best way to treat sebaceous filaments is to focus on skincare that helps control oily skin.

  • If your sebaceous filaments turn into blackheads, use a pore strip to unclog your pores.

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