Those Tiny Black Dots On Your Face Aren’t Blackheads, So, Um, What Are They?

And crucially, what's the best way to get rid of them?

Nose Blackheads

Blackheads. There are few skin woes more infuriating and hard to get rid of than those little black dots in our pores that often congregate around our nose. From ripping them out with a pore strip to hoking them out with a blackhead extractor, we’ve tried everything to remove the little blighters from our face.

But here’s where we’re going wrong. They might not actually be blackheads at all. Nope, some of those little skin nasties are in fact sebaceous filaments.

Right, you say, but what are those when they’re at home? According to Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, sebaceous filaments are “the normal accumulation of sebum around the hair, giving the follicle a prominent, sometimes dark, appearance,” he tells

The kicker? Joshua reckons they might not be even worth getting rid of, and in fact they may actually be beneficial as the filaments can form into hairlike strands that help to move the skin’s natural oil to the surface. Without them the oil can become blocked and lead to whiteheads.

But what should you do if you want to make them a little less prominent?

Gentle exfoliators are ace at moving along those little dots without causing too much disruption to your skin’s oil production, but if you’re looking for a more permanent fix, micro-needling (a process which uses fine needles to promote the production of collagen and new skin cells) can help make them less noticeable.

The bad news is, that although the filaments do tend to decrease as you age (yay!) you can’t eliminate them completely, so it’s either learn to live with them or keep peeling away in vain with that pore strip. Soz.