Sebaceous Filaments And Oil Cleansing


White heads and black heads are a known term, however were you aware that some of those specs you’re seeing could be sebaceous filaments? A sebaceous filament is a gland that lines the pores and is a force behind sebum surfacing the skin.

They are necessary to keep the skin lubricated. Additionally, it is better to not disturb them if they are minimally visible.

With certain conditions and genetic factors, sebaceous filaments may become visible, a thin stringy substance sticking out of the skin.

If you were to squeeze it out, the gland would reappear in 30 days.

When should you remove a sebaceous filament?

Sebaceous filaments turn into blackheads and whiteheads when sebum in the gland is produced in excess and mixed with skin cells, bacteria and dirt.

The material hardens within the pores and creates a blockage. Removal is necessary to relieve the clogged pore.

It is important to understand the difference between a blackhead, white head, and sebaceous filament. A black head is easy to differentiate due to its dark visible end caused by air exposure.

However, differentiating whiteheads can be a bit tricky.

Whiteheads are blackheads that have not been exposed to air.Sebaceous filaments are hair like and may resemble peach fuzz.


Why does sebaceous filaments smell?

Diet, and bacteria byproduct play a role in how the sebaceous filaments smell. Dairy and gluten are potential culprits of an unpleasant body odor.

To determine what food is causing body odor, give the elimination diet a try.

Additionally, when a person begins to sweat, the bacteria on the skin consume the sweat along with other bodily secretions. The gas and waste left from the bacteria creates the unpleasant smell.

Does sebaceous filaments cause acne?

The gland itself does not cause acne, however inflammation from excess oil, and increased bacteria can lead to the onset of a pimple.


Reduce visible sebaceous filaments with oil cleansing

Hyperseborrhea is the term for excess oil production. It is often the cause of visible sebaceous glands, leaving most treatments designed for oily skin.

Yet those with dry skin are left out of the equation and use products that can further dry the skin out. Oil cleansing is a method that can be used for oily and dry skin to cleanse the face of buildup.

The main function of this method is to attract like molecules. Thus, oil lipids from your pores will surface.

The key is to use an oil that aligns with your skin’s composition to remove sebaceous filaments without irritating the skin.

Oil cleanse to reduce visible sebaceous filaments

Perform once weekly at night for 1-2 minutes.

  1. While the skin is completely dry, spread a nickel size of oil throughout the face.
  2. Gently remove the oil with a clean damp cloth.
  3. Follow with a water based cleanser to remove residue.
    1. Extremely dry skin can simply oil cleanse and rinse the product off.
  4. Occasionally check to make sure the oil has not expired.

Picking a cleansing oil

Finding the best cleansing oil for your skin type can help to clear out pores and reduce sebaceous filaments. For oily and acne- prone skin, oils to avoid are oils that rank high on the comedogenic scale.

This means it is more likely to clog the pores. Those with dry skin can focus on rich oils that prevent further drying of the skin.

Cleansing balms such as Albolene moisturizing cleanser are also used for oil cleansing. They contain surfactants that help the oil bind to water for an easy rinse. Warm up the oil in your hand prior to application.

Listed below are low comedogenic oils that are excellent for your skin type.

Low Comedogenic Oils For Oil Cleansing

list of oil cleansers for sebaceous glands

Will Sebaceous filaments ever go away?

Luckily these glands are here long-term to lubricate the skin. Oil cleansing reduces the appearance of these glands making them nearly invisible.

This is a less aggressive and effective alternative to unclogging pores. Use the chart above to choose the best oil for your skin type.

Addressing the root cause of excess oil production will help maintain the condition long-term. Therefore, decreasing build-up that causes the sebaceous filaments to expand.

Hormonal therapy and a change in diet are potential treatments to improve the look of your skin by normalizing oil production.

How to Tell Sebaceous Filaments from Blackheads — and Why to Leave Them Alone, Published Nov 12, 2020, Accessed September 2021
Plewig G, Wolff HH. Follikel-Filamente [Sebaceous filaments (author’s transl)]. Arch Dermatol Res. 1976 Mar 10;255(1):9-21. German. doi: 10.1007/BF00581673. PMID: 130839. Accessed September 2021

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