Blackheads are tiny, dark spots on the skin. They are caused by a small plug in the opening of a follicle (pore). Blackheads are also called open comedones. They are one type of acne, often on the face, chest and back.
Related conditions include:
Blackheads can be treated with creams that contain salicylic acid or tretinoin. They can be removed by a skin doctor.
Dinulos JGH. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide in Diagnosis and Therapy. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 7.
James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Acne. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach, MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 13.
Review Date 10/20/2022
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.