5 Ways To Get Rid Of Sebaceous Filaments, From Derms

“Sebaceous filaments are naturally occurring tiny collections of sebum that are part of the pore structure,” says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. “They line the inside of the pores and assist in the flow of sebum along the lining into the skin to help moisturize it.” They’re made up of triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene, King adds—all of which are necessary for a healthy glow. 

For the most part, sebaceous filaments live invisible lives, helping to flow sebum beneath the skin’s surface. It’s when you do notice some specks (usually a yellow-ish, off-white, or even gray color) that it becomes an issue: Ever pull your skin taut to find small, white pinpoints dotting the area? This means your pores have clogged up with too much sebum, dead skin, and bacteria. “These are annoying cosmetically,” says board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., as you can’t really feel them beneath your fingers. 

They’re typically most visible along your T-zone, Downie mentions, as that’s where people tend to accrue the most oil. Sometimes vellus hairs can even become trapped within the pore, resulting in a condition called trichostasis spinulosa. (For what it’s worth: Both trichostasis spinulosa and sebaceous filaments are often confused for blackheads.)

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