What Are Sebaceous Filaments?

two women with minimal sebaceous filaments
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Under the skin, certain glands produce a substance named sebum. This sebum is responsible for lubricating the skin and making it soft. The sebaceous filaments are, in turn, accountable for allowing the flow of sebum to the skin surface. They act as a passageway from the glands to the surface of the skin.

But what exactly are sebaceous filaments? By way of definition, sebaceous filaments are structures that ensure that the sebum from the oil glands gets to the skin’s surface. 

They are small and tubular. They contain about 10 to 30 cell layers within which a mixture of bacteria, dead skin cells, and sebaceous lipid stores. Usually, they are located on the outer sides of the nose and are more popular with people who have larger pores. 

Looking at how vital sebum is, we can say that the sebaceous filaments are crucial to maintaining healthy skin. 

Difference between Sebaceous Filaments and Blackheads

Many people tend to mistake sebaceous filaments with blackheads. Just like blackheads, sebaceous filaments are small, tiny spots. Let us consider some differences between the both of them below.


Sebaceous filaments are yellowish and may look like the head of a pin, while blackheads are black. That’s the primary way to differentiate them; their physical appearance.


Most people try to extract them, but in a few days, they will be back because they are a part of the skin. If you try to squeeze a sebaceous filament, it will squirt out a yellowish worm-like fluid. 

At other times, nothing pops out. Extracting the sebaceous filament is not advisable as this can lead to injury and scars. It may also damage the pores and make them bigger. 

On the other hand, if you try to squeeze a blackhead, the blacktop falls, and you might see the yellowish sebum underneath it. 

Generally, squeezing any form of acne or spots on your skin is not advisable. You can rub a mild lotion or cream in cases of irritation.


The sebaceous filament lives within the pore and aids the movement of the sebum to the skin surface, while blackheads are found at the top of pores, and they prevent sebum from getting to the skin surface. They are opposite in location and functionality. 

Do Sebaceous Filaments Turn Into Blackheads?

While some people believe that sebaceous filaments can turn into blackheads with time, this is not true. But yes, they do have a hand in the formation of blackheads. 

Firstly, let us have an understanding of how blackheads form. Blackheads are formed when sebum mixes with bacteria or dead skin cells are exposed to oxygen. 

This oxidation process makes the mixture form a black lump on the skin, thereby blocking the pores. 

The sebaceous filaments are partially responsible for this as they provide the channel for the sebum to flow to the skin surface. That’s their only contribution. It is a myth that sebaceous filaments turn into blackheads.

Does Everyone Have Sebaceous Filaments?

Yes, we all do. Sebaceous filaments are an essential part of the skin, and we all need them if we want to maintain fresh and healthy skin. 

They are only more visible to some people than others. Some other causes of this are larger skin pores and oily skin type. 

Larger skin pores are caused by exposure to the sun, genetics, aging, thicker hair follicles, etc. it is worthy to note that having visible sebaceous filaments does not mean the skin is dirty. 

Can You Get Rid Of Sebaceous Filaments?

Sebaceous filaments are not dangerous to the skin or human health. Yeah, I know you’re wondering why anyone would want to get rid of them. Well, not everyone likes to have little spots on their face. 

Sebaceous filaments can be extracted even though this is not recommended and is not even a permanent remedy. There is no permanent remedy for getting rid of sebaceous filament. 

You do not even need them removed as they can be necessary for maintaining healthy skin. Trust us: you don’t want dry skin. The goal is not to have them popping out all over your face.

However, there are some products that you can use to reduce the visibility of the sebaceous filaments. These products will regulate the quantity of oil on the skin surface. 

Do not just pick any product and begin to use it. The kind of skincare product you use will depend mainly on your skin type. So it actually pays to know the difference between alpha hydroxy acids and polyhydroxy acids. You may also want to find out in this article whether you need silicone in your hand cream. 

Also, make sure to use gentle and mild products to clean your skin and protect it from over-drying. If you have any doubt concerning any product, you can show it to your dermatologist, who will tell you if it is suitable for you or not. 

If it is not ideal for your skin, they might recommend some other product compatible with your skin type. 

Some ingredients you can use to get rid of sebaceous filaments include:

  • Beta hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid: is an oil-soluble acid that can clean up the skin and reduce the oil on the skin’s surface. Try Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: this helps to dry up the skin and reduce the oil on the skin surface. 
  • Tea tree oil: is potent in treating acne. You must, however, be careful while using it because it can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Make sure you dilute before applying. Please seek professional help before using it or avoid it.

Some healthy habits can also help reduce oil on the skin surface. They are:

  • Wash your face in the morning and evening.
  • Wash your face after exercises or any strenuous physical activity.
  • Avoid scrubbing and scratching. It might lead to skin irritation.
  • Moisturize the skin every day to ensure it does not dry up. 
  • Avoid oil or alcohol-based cleaners.
  • Use gentle skincare products.
  • Use only non-comedogenic skin care products.


Sebaceous filaments are an essential part of the human skin. They help to keep our skin smooth and glowing. Please take note that you cannot permanently remove them from your skin. If you will force it, you might end up with dry skin. 

Lastly, never hesitate to visit your dermatologist if you need clarification on any issues at all.