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Beauty Concerns: Sebaceous Filaments (Grey Dots Over the Nose)

Earlier this week, I had an amazing client and while doing her makeup I realized she had Sebaceous Filaments (a tiny collection of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle, which usually takes the form of a small hair-like strand. They usually are white or yellow in color, and can be expressed from the skin by pinching.). In simple terms, these are the grey dots which appear over the nose, mouth and sometimes chin area. There are different stages and levels of intensity of the filaments, so I will recommend medical help if it starts to cause scarring. I am not a skin therapist, but as MUA in the industry I love to update my knowledge on skin care issues, so I can always keep my clients informed.

I have done some research and I will be sharing some information I have found on the Sebaceous Filament. According to, these filaments are “made up of skeleton of 10-30 horny cell layers which enclose a mixture of bacteria, sebaceous lipid, and coenocyte fragments.” These are the naturally occurring sebum which are present in our skin / pores / hair follicles. The possibility of getting rid of them is unthinkable and unimaginable because they are said to play a role in our skin health and preservation of its integrity.

The only thing we can do is aim to minimize and control the appearance of these filaments because as we know, they can be a nuisance.

Deep cleansing of the skin is the most effective method for getting rid of their appearance. Most purifying masks will work because they tend to pull out impurities from the skin. If you missed our article on masks, please read it HERE.

Other methods apart from clay masks:

1. Enzyme Peels – These are peels that work on the upper epidermal layers/ dead cells on the surface of the skin. They aim to exfoliate the superficial layers and dislodge/dissolve sebaceous filaments and are excellent for sensitive skin or skin types that don’t require a deeper peel. When choosing an enzyme peel, it’s advisable to look for the following 3 Ps – papaya, pumpkin and pineapple enzymes.

2. Salicylic Acid – This acid is often found in cleansers and products designed to treat acne/excess oil production. This Salicylic Acid works to break down skin cells, which stick together in the inner lining of the skin pore. It physically declogs pores by breaking down/exfoliating filaments, blackheads, whiteheads from the inside – keeping the pore clear. It is advisable to make sure that this product is not left on the skin for long as it has the tendency to dry out the skin. Products like this should not be used every day; it should be used once or twice a week maximum. P.s: The filaments usually renew themselves within 30 days of being ‘cleared’, so using a mask or one of these treatments once or twice a week will reduce the appearance.

In Summary:
1. Use a cleanser ( Use cleansers for your skin type)
2. Choose a purifying clay mask for your skin type
3. Clean your face using a facecloth and wipe away all the filaments that have been extracted from your face.

FYI: Please make sure you are not confusing blackheads with Sebaceous Filaments. These are two different skincare issues.

Tags: @Beyondblackwhite, @beautyeditpro
Felicita Ovadje
@felicheetaartistry (Instagram and facebook)

Photo Credit: Treat Cure Fast

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