What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (2023)

What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (1)

Sebaceous threads are completely natural, but why do they form and can we remove them?

What are sebaceous filaments?

Sebaceous filaments are tiny compositions of sebum and dead skin cells that form a cylindrical structure around each hair follicle. These compounds line the inside of pores and help channel sebum to the skin's surface to maintain healthy moisture levels. They are most often found on the nose, but they can also be found on other areas of the T-zone, such as the cheeks, nose and forehead.

Sebaceous threads, which can be dark, yellow or brown in color, are harmless, completely natural and present on all skin types. However, their appearance can be exaggerated by a number of factors that make them look and eventually becomeblackheads.

Excessive sebum production can enlarge pores and consequently make sebaceous strands more visible, which is more likely in people with oily skin. Other factors that may contribute to itenlarged poresinclude: genetics, thicker hair follicles, age and sun exposure.

Regardless of whether your sebaceous filaments are more noticeable, it is important to remember that their visibility is not a direct reflection of the cleanliness of your skin. Don't worry if yours stands out more.

What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (2)
(Video) Sebaceous Filaments | 3 Steps to Get Rid of Sebaceous Filaments FAST

Sebaceous threads are often confused with blackheads because they look similar – and blackheads can really be the result of inadequate cleansing. But what exactly is the difference between blackheads and sebaceous threads?

Sebaceous filaments vs. Blackheads

To illustrate the difference between blackheads and sebaceous threads, we can think of the two as a highway and a traffic jam. The sebaceous filament forms a pathway/highway for sebum, dirt and dead skin cells to reach the surface of the skin. When there's too much of it, things start to get stuck and create traffic jams – or blackheads in this case.

Visually, blackheads appear to protrude slightly above the pore and have a border on the surface that turns black when oxidized by air. They are also noticeably wider than sebaceous threads, which are usually only the size of a pin and flush with the surface of the skin.

However, one of the main differences is that blackheads can be prevented and removed with effective facial cleansing and skin care. Although this is not possible with sebaceous filaments - but why is this so?

Removing sebum strands is not possible? This is the reason why…

What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (3)

Simply put, they are a vital part of your skin. Although they can sometimes look unsightly, it is important to remember that they have an important function in maintaining your skin's moisture levels.

It is best to avoid trying to remove them altogether. This can create a yellowish streak of sebum, but it can also lead to dryness or scarring of the surrounding skin and the spread of bacteria into nearby pores, which can lead to breakouts.

If you're wondering how to get rid of sebaceous strands, read on to discover ways to reduce their appearance.


HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

When it comes to reducing the appearance of sebaceous strands, your main focus should be on limiting excess oil production and reducing the size of the pores themselves.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

Active ingredients

There are several ways to reduce pore size. Exfoliating and using active ingredients like salicylic acid can be a good start.Salicylic acidit is particularly effective in cleaning deep inside the pores of the skin, breaking up dead skin cells that might otherwise increase the appearance of sebaceous strands.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

Regular cleaning

It's the crux of all skin care tips: remember to wash your face every day, morning and night, and especially after a sweaty workout.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

A balanced diet

Perhaps the second most frequently offered advice relates to diet. You can prevent excess sebum by eating a healthy, nutritious diet rich in vitamins - especially vitamin E and vitamin A, as they can help limit excess oil production.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

Suitable for your skin type

Use products that are adapted to your skin type. Find out which products are right for youskin typeit will help tame excessive dryness that would cause excessive oil production.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

Nanesite SPF

Apply sunscreen to your face every day, regardless of the weather. The sun's UV rays can still come into contact with your skin on gray, overcast days, so it's important to wear SPF when you're outside. If you have oily skin and are prone to pimples, opt for a sunscreen that is oil-free and anti-comedogenic, as it will reduce the likelihood of pore clogging.

(Video) Black Dots on the Nose? Here's How To Treat Them!

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads

Avoid oil-based cosmetics

Try to avoid heavy oil-based skin care products if you're prone to breakouts, as the thick consistency can further clog your pores. This is especially true for oils that are solid at room temperature.

HOW to minimize sebaceous threads


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep your skin hydrated. Moisturize twice a day after completing your skin care routine. This helps prevent the excess oil production needed to rebalance dry skin.

A step-by-step cleansing routine to reduce the appearance of sebaceous strands

Now that we know which ingredients can help reduce the appearance of sebaceous strands, it's time to build an effective routine. The new NIVEA Derma Skin Clear line is ideal for this purpose as it is specially formulated for skin with irregularities. Each of the products is enriched with salicylic acid along with other active ingredients including niacinamide and glycolic acid, making this range particularly suitable for reducing the appearance of sebaceous strands.

What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (4)

- To begin with, thoroughly clean all the accumulated fat and dirt that can remain in the pores. TheNIVEA Derma Skin Clear Wasgelcombines salicylic acid with niacinamide to deeply cleanse pores and keep surrounding skin hydrated to prevent excessive sebum production.

- Then brighten the skin with a nourishing mask. This will help remove any remaining impurities and promote a glowing complexion. TheNIVEA 3-in-1 peeling mask for cleaning poresis ideal because it is enriched with magnolia extract and kaolin for deep cleansing and makes the skin purified. If your skin dries out easily, opt for NIVEA Derma Skin Clear Anti-Blemish Peel, which can be used 2 to 3 times a week to achieve the same pore-clogging effect with unmatched moisture.

- It is good to include exfoliation in your night care routine at least once a week. This will help support your skin's natural renewal process and maintain a refined complexion. TheNIVEA Derma Skin Clear Chemische pilingit is suitable for daily use and works best if left on overnight. The vegan formula contains 8% salicylic acid, glycolic acid and niacinamide to stimulate skin cell turnover and visibly reduce blemishes in just seven days.

(Video) Black Dots On The Nose? How To Treat Sebaceous Filaments | Dr. Swati Kannan

Ontdek Derma Skin Clear piling

- Begin to complete your routine by applying toner. Toner helps keep the skin hydrated and balances its naturally acidic pH level, which helps retain moisture and defend against bacteria. TheNIVEA Derma Skin Clear tonikuses salicylic acid to control oiliness and can contribute to visible skin improvement in just 7 days. An ideal choice for those who want to restore balance and hydrate the skin without clogging the pores.

- Then continue with the care routine of serums, eye creams and finish with a layer of your favorite moisturizer.

- For those of you with oily and uneven skin, opt for a thinner mattifying cream if possible. And when you do your skin care routine in the morning, be sure to apply SPF—after all, limiting sun exposure is an easy way to prevent enlarged pores.

NIVEA Derma Skin Clear Toner uses salicylic acid to control oiliness and can contribute to visible skin improvement in just 7 days.

What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA (5)


It is quite natural to have skin prone to cracking and irregularities. It is also a completely natural desire to improve one's appearance. So if there are things you want to improve, NIVEA can help.

Be sure to discover the new NIVEA Derma Skin Clear collection, specially formulated to achieve cleaner, more refined skin.

As always, consult a dermatologist before trying any new skin care product and always follow package directions.

Discover NIVEA Derma Skin Clear

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What are sebaceous filaments? | Skin Care Tips | NIVEA? ›

Regular use of a salicylic acid can really help target sebaceous filaments because this ingredient is oil-soluble and can dissolve sebum and other substances crowding the pore lining.

What breaks down sebaceous filaments? ›

Regular use of a salicylic acid can really help target sebaceous filaments because this ingredient is oil-soluble and can dissolve sebum and other substances crowding the pore lining.

What is the best skincare to get rid of sebaceous filaments? ›

Regular use of a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant for sebaceous filaments can really help, because BHA is oil-soluble and can dissolve sebum and other substances crowding the pore lining. Use of a well-formulated clay face mask for sebaceous filaments might also help due to the clay's oil-absorbing properties.

How do you clean sebaceous filaments? ›

How to remove sebaceous filaments: my 3 tips for clearer pores
  1. Using a clay mask regularly in the shower. A deep cleaning clay/mud mask is great for helping draw out the sebum and dirt in your pores, aka the sebaceous filaments. ...
  2. Using a gentle salicylic or mandelic acid treatment. ...
  3. Using retinol regularly in my routine.

What are home remedies for sebaceous filaments? ›

Controlling the amount of oil on the skin and using exfoliating skin care products can help keep the pores clear. This may minimize the appearance of sebaceous filaments. Use gentle products that cleanse the skin to prevent overdrying and irritation. The best product will depend on the person's skin type.

Is it safe to pull out sebaceous filaments? ›

Though you may be tempted to squeeze or otherwise get rid of a sebaceous filament, it's best to leave them alone. Squeezing or picking at sebaceous filaments risks scarring and spreading any bacteria that may be in or around the pore to other parts of your face, causing a breakout.

How do I get rid of the white stuff on my nose? ›

What can I do about sebaceous filaments?
  1. Wash your face twice a day plus after sweating. ...
  2. Avoid scrubbing your face. ...
  3. Use proper skin care products and cosmetics. ...
  4. Deep-clean your pores with a mask that can draw out plugs.
  5. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells that may clog your pores.
Sep 9, 2020

Is CeraVe good for sebaceous filaments? ›

To keep your sebaceous filaments in check, we recommend you wash your face with a gentle, salicylic-acid-packed formula like the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ($12) daily to help dissolve any oil buildup, and then apply an OTC retinoid treatment to keep sebaceous filaments from coming back.

What will dissolve sebum plugs? ›

Daily topical treatments, such as glycolic and salicylic acid ointments, may do the job. Other nonprescription treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, that kill bacteria may be helpful. A class of topical medications called retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A, might be recommended.

How do you get sebum out of your nose pores? ›

The AAD suggests using warm water to gently wash the face, followed by a gentle non-comedogenic cleanser. While cleansing, be careful not to scrub the face, as this can cause irritation. Cleansers that contain salicylic acid can also help unblock nose pores.

How do you get rid of sebaceous filaments overnight? ›

Sebaceous filaments cannot be permanently removed, but you can decrease their appearance. To minimize sebaceous filaments, exfoliate your face with a salicylic acid treatment twice a day, and incorporate a retinol serum into your nighttime routine.

Does drinking water help with sebaceous filaments? ›

Keep your body and your skin properly hydrated.

Hydrated skin is softer and causes the follicles to expand, and naturally expel whatever's in them. Drinking enough water also helps the skin maintain a healthy cell turnover rate, which prevents the buildup of dead cells and debris.

How do you massage sebaceous filaments? ›

You're supposed to massage it well into the skin using circular motions until you feel oil grits – AKA sebaceous filaments – coming out. These are tiny, grain-like particles, whitish-brown in colour and they feel gritty to the touch, hence the name.

Can tea tree oil get rid of sebaceous filaments? ›

You can use glycolic acid, tea tree oil, and salicylic acid to cleanse your pores and reduce the appearance of sebaceous filaments over time. Washing your face with a mild cleanser, exfoliating your face once a week, and eating a balanced diet can prevent sebaceous filaments from being visible.

How do you unclog your face pores? ›

How to Unclog Pores
  1. Avoid Squeezing Your Pores. ...
  2. Use a Cleanser With Salicylic Acid. ...
  3. Try a Jelly Cleanser to Banish Pore Buildup. ...
  4. Exfoliate Your Skin With a Face Scrub. ...
  5. Cleanse With Baking Soda. ...
  6. Use a Pore Strip to Unclog Pores on Your Nose. ...
  7. Apply a Clay or Charcoal Mask to Treat Your Skin. ...
  8. Try a Pore Cleanser.

Do sebaceous filaments smell bad? ›

The sebaceous glands are tiny glands in the skin which produce an oily/waxy substance, called sebum, to moisturise the skin and hair. These glands are found in greatest amounts on the face and scalp. Sebum has no smell, but its bacterial breakdown can produce a bad smell.

Why do my pores keep filling up? ›

Clogged pores can be the result of your glands producing too much oil. More oil on your skin increases the risk of clogged pores. But lots of other things can lead to enlarged pores, including age, skin products, hair follicles and sun damage.

Is it OK to squeeze nose pores? ›

It's irreversible damage,” says Dr. Henry. Damaging your skin by squeezing or picking can also cause inflammation, hyperpigmentation and scarring. Squeezing additionally introduces bacteria, oil and dirt from your hands into your pores, which can lead to more blackheads.

How do you make sebaceous filaments smaller? ›

You can't get rid of sebaceous filaments, but you can make them smaller by following a skin care routine that includes:
  1. Exfoliation: Exfoliating facial scrubs scratch away dead cells on the surface of your skin. ...
  2. Salicylic acid: This is available over the counter as a cleanser or lotion.
Jan 4, 2023

What is the best retinol for sebaceous filaments? ›

The best topical treatment for sebaceous filaments and comedonal acne is prescription nighttime topical retin-a, specifically Tretinoin and Tazorac or over-the-counter adapalene gel in conjunction with a morning Salicylic acid wash—a keratolytic (destroying the excess keratin).

What is the white stringy stuff that comes out of a pimple? ›

When you squeeze your nose or squeeze a pimple on your nose, there are white substances coming out of the pores, looking like thin strings. It's called the sebaceous filament, which is made up of sebum and dead skin cells that accumulate around hair follicles.

Is it a blackhead or sebaceous filament? ›

Look closely at the tip of your nose. Do you see small, pin-like dots on the surface of the pore? If the dots are quite dark, then you're most likely looking at blackheads. If they have a clear-ish tone, or a gray or yellow tinge, what you're likely seeing are sebaceous filaments.

Are sebaceous filaments genetic? ›

While they may appear similar, sebaceous filaments are merely a natural result of aging, genetics, thickened pores and hair follicles, and too much sun exposure.

Is CeraVe or Cetaphil better? ›

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion wins this comparison if you have dry skin. While both are lightweight lotions and CeraVe contains ceramides and sodium hyaluronate, Cetaphil packs in moisturizing and soothing ingredients like avocado oil, panthenol, and vitamin B5, making it an excellent choice for dry skin.

How do you draw out sebum? ›

A deep cleansing clay mask is a great sebaceous filament treatment for drawing out the sebum and dirt in your pores. After cleansing your face, apply a mask and leave it on for about 10-15 minutes or as directed on the product label. Gently Massage Your Face with a Cleansing Oil.

What can destroy sebum? ›

Laser resurfacing: A laser delivers a wavelength of light into your skin. The light targets, heats, and destroys enlarged sebaceous glands. Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the affected area of the skin. This freezes the bumps so they dry up and fall off.

What is the fastest way to remove sebum? ›

These methods include:
  1. Cleansing regularly. ...
  2. Limiting alcohol use. ...
  3. Using salicylic acid products. ...
  4. Using blotting papers or medicated pads. ...
  5. Moisturizing regularly. ...
  6. Making a facial mask. ...
  7. Using products with green tea. ...
  8. Making dietary changes.

What is the best serum for sebaceous filaments? ›

Try a retinol serum or cream.

Retinol is the gold standard when it comes to improving skin texture. The ingredient is proven to regulate cell turnover to prevent clogged pores and sebaceous filaments from filling up with gunk.

What ingredients are good for sebaceous filaments? ›

"Any active ingredients that work to exfoliate the skin will improve the look of sebaceous filaments," says Dr. Linkner. "Common examples of active ingredients include retinol, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid."

What causes sebaceous filaments to appear? ›

“This is caused by an overproduction of oil within the sebaceous glands that builds up and hardens in the pores, making them look larger than normal.” And for those of us with naturally oily skin, our sebaceous filaments can fill up pretty often according to Dr.

What cleans sebum? ›

The first step in cleaning sebum plugs from the scalp is to wash your scalp with warm water. Next, use a mild shampoo while gently massaging your scalp with your fingertips. This helps loosen all the hardened and dried sebum on the scalp. Excess build-up of sebum occurs on the scalp rather than hair strands.

How do you shrink sebaceous filaments? ›

You can't get rid of sebaceous filaments, but you can make them smaller by following a skin care routine that includes:
  1. Exfoliation: Exfoliating facial scrubs scratch away dead cells on the surface of your skin. ...
  2. Salicylic acid: This is available over the counter as a cleanser or lotion.
Jan 4, 2023

What do sebaceous filaments look like? ›

A sebaceous filament is a tiny collection of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle, which usually takes the form of a small, yellow to off-white hair-like strand when expressed from the skin. A topical retinol cream will help.

Why does my nose produce so much sebum? ›

Your nose is likely oily because your sebaceous glands are producing more oil than necessary to keep your skin hydrated. The sebaceous glands beneath the pores in your skin are responsible for producing the natural oils, also known as sebum, that keep your skin healthy.

How do sebaceous filaments form? ›

When pores fill up with oil, they become sebaceous filaments, the little yellow and gray dots you notice along your nose and cheeks. “Your skin produces oil (also known as sebum) in order to protect and moisturize itself.


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