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a plug of keratin and sebum within the dilated orifice of a hair follicle. The dark color is caused not by dirt but by the discoloring effect of air on the sebum in the clogged pore. Infection may cause it to develop into a pustule or boil. See also acne vulgaris. Called also open comedo.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. A skin lesion consisting of a hair follicle that is occluded with sebum and keratin, appearing black at the surface.
2. An infectious disease of turkeys and some wildfowl that is caused by a protozoan (Histomonas meleagridis) and results in lesions of the intestine and liver. Also called enterohepatitis, histomoniasis, infectious enterohepatitis.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A blocked sebaceous gland which is open to air, where the secretions oxidise, turning black.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Open comedo A blocked sebaceous gland which is open to air, where the secretions oxidize, turning black. Cf Whitehead.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A disease chiefly affecting turkeys, caused by Histomonas meleagridis and characterized by ulcerative and necrotic lesions of the liver and cecum, acute onset, and a high mortality rate. It is transmitted inside the eggs of the nematode Heterakis gallinae, which is primarily responsible for maintaining and spreading the infection.
Synonym(s): blackhead (2) .

o·pen com·e·do

(ō'pĕn kom'ĕ-dō)
A comedo with a wide opening on the skin surface capped with a melanin-containing blackened mass of epithelial debris.
Synonym(s): blackhead (1) .
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


An accumulation of fatty sebaceous material in a sebaceous gland or hair follicle, with oxidation of the outer layer, causing a colour change from white to dark brown or black. Blackheads, or comedones, occur in the skin disorder ACNE.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


A plug of fatty cells capped with a blackened mass.
Mentioned in: Rosacea
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Patient discussion about blackhead

Q. I have this blackhead on my cheek area for about a year..,How do I remove it?

A. This type of blackhead you are describing sounds like comedonal (non-inflammatory) acne, as opposed to acne that is inflammatory or severe inflammatory (which usually will not remain for a year on the skin). There are many basic local treatments which can be found at pharmacies over-the-counter. Whether it is gel or cream (which are rubbed into the pores over the affected region), bar soaps or washes - it is important to keep the skin clean of bacteria, that may worsen blackheads.

More discussions about blackhead
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References in periodicals archive ?
'I was a of sharing videos Blackheads aren't the kind of condition dermatologists usually deal with because they can be time-consuming and expensive to remove.
If you have mild acne, or whiteheads and blackheads, make sure you don't pick at them as it could cause scarring or more oil to enter your pores.
- You cannot clean off blackheads. The black tip of a blackhead is actually skin pigment (melanin) and cannot be removed by cleaning or scrubbing.
"After the shower, apply moisturizer to the area, wrap your fingers in tissues and gently 'rock and roll' your skin to ease the blackhead out," says aesthetician Amanda Sanzone.
This disorder, which is characterized by the emergence of tiny black eruptions (blackheads) on a cat's chin and lips, is a condition that can afflict both male and female cats of all ages and breeds.
Simple Spotless Skin Rapid Action Spot Zapper (pounds 5.49) uses zinc and chamomile to blitz the blackheads.
SensAsia Urban Spa at The Village in Jumeirah recommended their Alpha Beta Deluxe treatment, which is meant to sort out fine lines and wrinkles, large pores, blackheads and whiteheads and help with anti-ageing.
Formulated with MicroClear technology, the unique formula penetrates deep into your skin's pores to deeply cleanse and eliminate spots and blackheads without over-drying or irritating the skin.
In its Clean & Clear line, Johnson & Johnson has added several products, including Clean & Clear Advantage Blackhead Eraser Exfoliating Cleanser--a water-resistant, battery-operated, handheld applicator designed to help get rid of stubborn blackheads and prevent new ones from forming--and Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Facial Cleansing Wipes, which are premoistened cloths that gently dissolve all traces of dirt, oil and makeup (including long-lasting, extended-wear makeup), for clean skin in one, easy step.
An audience of over 250 people at the House of Blackheads gave a standing ovation to the Turkish duo who played pieces by Robert de Visee, Joseph Kosma, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ariel Ramirez as well as Turkish folk tunes.
My skin felt really clean and exfoliated and I did not notice any blackheads afterwards, so I would say it worked well.