Blackheads On Legs

In particular, blackheads on legs and, in general, acne is one of the most common skin issues around, especially for women. The sebaceous gland helps produce an oil known as sebum, which can serve as a protective layer of the skin. That layer keeps our skin healthy and prevents it from coming dry.

What is a blackhead?

In order to define what a blackhead is, we need to be aware of what comedo is. It’s a clogged hair pore in the skin. It tends to be common in adults and those who suffer from oily skin.

There are two forms of comedo, including blackhead and whitehead. They are both clogged pores. However, in the whitehead, the holes are opened, while with the blackhead the pores are closed.

Blackheads, which are dark and small lesions, are made of oxidized melanin. They are also a symptom of mild acne. Since there are more hair follicles in the back, neck, face, arms, chest and shoulders, blackheads tend to appear more frequently in those areas. Nevertheless, there are lots of circumstances that we find blackheads on legs, particularly on the thighs.

Causes of blackheads on legs

There are a variety of suggested causes of blackheads on legs. Let's consider some of the most common below.

1. Overproduction of Body Oils

Excess body oils are one of the major triggers of blackheads in your body. When your body overproduces oil, it results in your pores becoming clogged which leads to the formation of blackheads. Several factors can influence this excess production of body oils. They include genetics, hormonal variations and some specific foods.

2. Hormonal changes

When you experience hormonal variations during puberty, pregnancy and periods, this is a prime factor in the overproduction of sebum. During these hormonal changes, there is usually a surge in the level of the hormone androgen, which then triggers the production of excess sebum in addition to a rapid turnover of the skin cells. This is enough to trigger various forms of acne including blackheads on legs.

When the hormone androgen is overproduced, it usually heightens the risk of blackheads and other types of acne as well as the excessive growth of hair, especially in older women. It is also attached to polycystic ovaries.

3. Cleansers, cosmetics and certain clothing

When body cleansers and cosmetics are left in the body for long periods of time, this can lead to irritation of hair follicles since the dead skin cells will have shed off. In some cases, clothing that covers or blocks the pores of the skin can also increase this risk of blackheads. This includes clothing that is made from irritable materials.

Therefore, it’s important to regularly shower and clean your skin of cosmetics and cleansers, as well as removing any dirt that may have built up in your skin.

4. Medications

Blackheads on your legs can also be triggered by certain medications such as androgens, corticosteroids, lithium or birth control medications. Your body may perceive some of these medications as ill-disposed and respond to them negatively. This can result in the development of various skin issues including blackheads on your legs.

5. Overexposure to sun

Even though the sun can help your skin obtain vitamin D2, when we expose our bodies to too much sun, it can generate dark spots on your skin and cause sunburn. These areas can become itchy and result in back pores, which can, of course, result in the blackheads on the legs.

Below are more reasons that could increase your likelihood of blackheads formation on the legs.

  • Sun poisoning
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive pollution
  • Accumulating of Propionibacterium acne on the skin
  • Intense stress
  • High humidity

Symptoms and diagnosis

Blackheads are the type of skin disorder that can be easily spotted due to their black color. In mild forms of acne, these blackheads are slightly raised black bumps and are not usually painful because they aren’t inflamed. Actually, this major factor differentiates them from pimples.

Usually, blackheads do not occur alongside direct symptoms rather than simple black spots on the skin. However, there are a few other linked symptoms that could be associated. These include pore enlargement, rough skin, peeling skin and scars. In other cases, you may experience pain and irritation, but this would indicate a more severe form of acne.

Diagnosis of blackheads can be done by characterizing blackheads as mild, moderate or severe acne. Note that acne will be grouped into three levels. These are comedones, inflammatory lesions and cysts (severe forms of acne). This will allow the correct form of medication to be given if required.


The level of severity of the blackheads will determine the type of medications to use for treatment. Below are some of the commonly known blackhead treatments.

1. Over-the-counter products

You can use these products to help reduce the production of excess oil, kill the acne causing bacteria and to remove dead skin cells. These blackhead removal products contain ingredients that fight the acne triggers. They include salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

2. Prescribed treatments

When you feel that over-the-counter medications may not be great for your case, there are stronger medications that your doctor may prescribe for you. Commonly prescribed therapies include medications containing Vitamin A (tazarotene, tretinoin, and adapalene), benzoyl peroxide as well as antibiotics. They are applied directly to the skin and they help avert plugs from forming in the hair follicles.

3. Other remedies

Some people try at home remedies, such as the use of cinnamon, baking soda, squashed tomato and limes on the skin. Other people opt for cosmetic procedures such as laser removal, chemical peels and microdermabrasion.


Some people are more prone to blackheads on the legs than others, but you can lower your risk by ensuring your shower regularly, stop the use of irritant products on your skin, and remove any products that could clog your skin, such as tanning products. Blackheads, in general, are quite a common skin condition, and for most people, they don't result in anything severe. However, if you are concerned, then make an appointment with a dermatologist or your doctor to gain further advice and extra treatment.


Last Reviewed:
June 17, 2018
Last Updated:
June 13, 2018