You are currently viewing What to know about Sebaceous filaments

What to know about Sebaceous filaments

Lying under the surface of the skin are tiny glands that produce sebum, an sticky substance that helps to lubricate the skin. Sebaceous filaments are structures that let sebum flow to the skin’s surface.

The sebaceous filaments will fill in when the body overproduces sebum. They might become visible and resemble pores that are very swollen.

People often confuse the blackheads with sebaceous filaments. Blackheads are something of an acne type.

Sebaceous filaments are not a type of acne, they’re normal skin structures.

But the overproduction of sebum, which causes sebaceous filaments to fill up and become visible, can also cause blackheads or whiteheads.

We’re looking into how sebaceous filaments are noticeable in this article. They also explain the distinctions between sebaceous filaments and blackheads, treatments for each and when consultation with a doctor might be a good idea.

Differences from blackheads

The sebaceous filaments can look like swollen, darkened pores when visible. For blackheads a person can confuse them easily.

Key distinctions between sebaceous filaments and blackheads include their:


A blackhead on top of a pore is a blockage or socket. The plug prevents oil from escaping through the pores.

A sebaceous filament is a thin, hair-like material that lines the pores inside and lets sebum migrate to the surface of the skin. It does not have a plug.

Appearance and color

A clear sebaceous filament on the skin can appear as a dark mark. The dot can resemble a pin’s head, and it can be yellow, brown, or white.

A blackhead atop a pore is a very dark tube. The dark color grows by contact with the air when the plug is oxidized.


If a individual squeezes a sebaceous filament, or “extracts,” a white or yellow worm-like structure can ooze out. Or, there’s nothing the filament could produce.

Extracting sebaceous filaments can damage the skin and cause scarring. It can also damage the pore and stretch it out, making it look bigger.

The dark plug can come off when someone removes a blackhead. Beneath it, the sebum and skin cells may be white or yellow.

The American Academy of Dermatology warns against some kind of rubbing or popping acne.


The normal process of sebum making in the skin will make sebaceous filaments visible.

Compared with people with drier skin and smaller pores, this is more likely to occur in people with more oily skin or larger pores.

A number of factors can determine the size of the pore including:

  • age
  • genetics
  • having thicker hair follicles
  • sun exposure

Visible sebaceous filaments are not a sign that the skin is dirty.


Control of the amount of oil on the skin and the use of exfoliating skin care products can help to clear the pores. This can reduce sebaceous filaments in appearance.

Use gentle skin-cleansing products to prevent overdrying and discomfort. The best product depends on the type of skin the person will have.

No skin care product can get rid of visible sebaceous filaments altogether. The following ingredients and approaches may however help to reduce their appearance:

Salicylic acid

In many facial cleansers and acne creams, salicylic acid, also known as beta hydroxy acid, is an ingredient for. These products could contain between 0.5 per cent and 2.0 per cent salicylic acid.

This form of acid can help to reduce both the amount of oil on the skin and the size of sebaceous filaments. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, making it capable of absorbing sebum and helping open pores.

If a person has not previously used a product containing salicylic acid, beginning with one application every day or every other day may be a good idea. Use the drug less often when there is dryness or peeling.

Dermatologists may apply salicylic acid peels which are stronger than products that are over-the-counter. Such peels will provide a more dramatic difference in the size and appearance of the pores. They produce salicylic acid in 15–50 per cent.

Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin so it should not be used by anyone who is allergic to aspirin.

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient unique to acne products. It can help dry the skin and reduce the amount of oil, and can reduce pores.

However, benzoyl peroxide can cause excessive dryness and peeling, especially at higher concentrations. Anyone who thinks this should use benzoyl peroxide-containing products less often Instead, switch to products that have lower ingredient concentrations.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that people often use to treat acne. A small 2016 study suggests that tea tree oil may also help with oily skin.

It can, however, cause irritation and allergic reactions. Tea tree oil has the most reported allergic reactions of any essential oil.

Anyone who is applying tea tree oil directly to the skin should dilute it to a strength of 5%.

Seek immediate medical care if signs of an allergic reaction occur, such as hives, swelling, or trouble breathing.

Sun protection

A study conducted in 2015 indicates that long-term sun exposure will make pores larger, leading to more prominent sebaceous filaments. The risk of skin damage and skin cancer is also increased by sun exposure.

Using sunscreen every day can help minimize the exposure’s adverse effects and help maintain healthy skin.

People with oily skin and large pores may prefer using oil-free and noncomedogenic sunscreen, meaning it does not block pores. Using greasy or heavy sunscreen may make more visible large pores.

Also, when spending extended periods in the sun, it is a good idea to wear a protective hat and clothing which covers the skin.


The AAD says finding the right balance between having too much oil on the skin and preserving the natural moisture in the skin is crucial.

It offers the following tips for controlling oily skin:

  • wash the face every morning, evening, and after exercise
  • avoid scrubbing, which will irritate the skin and can make it look worse
  • use skincare products, such as cleansers, moisturizers, and make-up, labeled “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic,” which are less likely to clog pores
  • moisturize every day to keep the skin hydrated
  • opt for a gentle, foaming face wash, as harsh products dry out the skin prompting it to produce more oil
  • avoid oil- or alcohol-based cleansers as these can irritate the skin


Some people can develop sebaceous gland carcinoma in extremly rare cases.

This rare type of cancer may occur anywhere on the body, including the head, neck, abdomen, or genitalia, but tends to appear on or around the upper eyelid.

The carcinomas appear to be solid, yellowish lumps and do not hurt. The condition is more severe in the elderly and those who have had prior facial radiotherapy.

Doctors typically take surgery to remove the lumps. People may need radiotherapy, as well.

When to see a doctor

If over- the-counter products and a good skin care routine don’t produce satisfactory results, a person might want to see a dermatologist.

Dermatologists should prescribe more potent drugs to reduce oil production, resulting in fewer visible sebaceous filaments.


Sebaceous filaments do not block pores, in contrast to blackheads and whiteheads.

Sebaceous glands are glands in the skin which produce oil. Such oil, called a sebum, passes through the hair follicles to the outer layer of skin, or the epidermis. Sebum keeps the skin clean, and moist.

The resulting yellowish material hair-like cylinders are harmless, though many people do not like the way they look.

Humans can avoid or reduce the incidence of sebaceous glands by managing oily skin.

Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.

Leave a Reply