Sebaceous Filaments

So, I tend to obsessively look at the search terms that bring people to my blog and ‘sebaceous filaments’ is always in the top ten. That makes me feel kind of bad because, while I’ve ranted about them, I haven’t offered any advice on them. So here’s what I know about sebaceous filaments and getting rid of them (spoiler alert: you can’t…)

What are they?

Sebaceous filaments are little black/grey dots that are often found on people’s noses and chins. They look a lot like blackheads because, like blackheads, their colour is caused by oxidation of sebum. Unlike blackheads, they can’t be removed because they’re not a blemish: they’re channels or tubes of oil. As long as your skin keeps producing oil, they’re here to stay.

If you’re not sure whether you have blackheads or sebaceous filaments, here are a few signs they are sebaceous filaments:

  • You have tried pore strips but your nose looks exactly the same
  • If there are many of the little dots in one area, and they are all the same size
  • If, when you stroke your hand over the area, the skin feels smooth where the dots are

What can you do about them?

Nothing really.

I’ve managed to make mine a little less visible by using Rosehip oil on my face every night. Minimising Sebaceous Filaments was not my goal when I started using Rosehip oil, but I have noticed that they have become a tiny bit less obvious. I’m not sure how this effect came about, I either think that the Rosehip oil has plumped up my skin in general, and thus made the filaments appear smaller; or using oil on my face has meant that my natural oil production has slowed (to balance it out) and so the filaments aren’t as overactive as before. As you can tell I’m no expert; those are just my theories, if a skin care expert is reading this, please weigh in! Rosehip oil didn’t work miracles (but I’ve accepted Sebaceous Filaments are here to stay), and this is just my personal experience, so don’t get your hopes up. If you would like to try it bear in mind that Rosehip oil can break a lot of people out, so do a test patch for a while before.

Covering them up

If you want to minimise the appearance of Sebaceous Filaments, look for a primer with lots of silicones to make skin look smoother. I like Clarins Instant Smooth primer.


Basically, it could be much worse. If Sebaceous Filaments are your biggest skin problem, you are seriously lucky. No doubt you’ve seen bad cases of acne, or had them yourself, remember those times and put those tiny little dots on your nose into perspective.

One comment on “Sebaceous Filaments

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