Blackheads are tiny, dark spots on the skin. They are caused by a small plug in the opening of a follicle (pore). Blackheads are also called open comedones.
Comedones are small, flesh-colored, white, or dark bumps that give skin a rough texture. The bumps are caused by acne. They are found at the openin...
Related conditions include:
Blackheads can be treated with creams that contain salicylic acid or tretinoin. They can be removed by a skin doctor.
Habif TP. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 7.
Zaenglein AL, Thiboutot DM. Acne vulgaris. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 36.
Blackheads (comedones) - illustration
Blackheads, or open comedones, are common in acne. Clogged hair follicles reflect light irregularly to produce this black hue.
Review Date: 10/8/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.