Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and pored over incessantly over those black dots all over your nose? You may even have resorted to using pore strips and felt immense satisfaction when you peeled them away.

If you’ve ever done any of those things, we can relate. We’re guilty of doing whatever we can to eliminate those pesky black dots, yet they never seem to go away no matter what we do.

And today, thanks to an informative video by dermatologists Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Shah on the Doctorly Youtube channel, we may have finally found an answer to our blackhead problems.

Here’s everything we’ve learnt about these pesky black dots on our nose, products you should look for to target them, as well as a simple routine to eliminate them once and for all.

What are these black dots on our nose?

Sebaceous Filament Guide what are they

Photo source: Freepik

“These things that are being lifted out of the skin are an accumulation of the oil from your oil glands as well as dirt, debris, and gunk.” – Dr. Maxfield.

The small black dots along your nose and face aren’t blackheads. They’re actually called sebaceous filaments, used to assist in the movement of sebum to the surface of your skin.

Although overproduction of sebum often leads to oily skin, sebum serves an important function. It keeps our skin nice and soft, as without it, you would end up with dry and flaky skin.

The oils in our skin are made up of many things that play a big part in maintaining skin health:

  • Glycerol – Plays a role in skin hydration, elasticity, and skin barrier repair
  • Sterols – Stimulates collagen and hydration
  • Wax esters – Seal in internal moisture
  • Squalene – Lock in moisture into your skin
  • Free fatty acids – Crucial in maintaining skin barrier function
  • Triglycerides – Creates a barrier on the skin’s surface to retain moisture

Attempting to extract a sebaceous filament may produce either a white or yellow worm-like structure or nothing at all.

However, excessive squeezing can injure your skin, leading to scarring and damage. It can also stretch the pore, making it appear larger than usual, which might be the opposite of what you want to do.

So, how do we keep these black dots from overtaking our face? Well, look out for products that contain ingredients that can target them.

Ingredients to target sebaceous filaments

Sebaceous Filament Guide ingredients

Photo source: Birgith Roosipuu / Unsplash

“An occasional pore strip once a month, once every other month is going to remove those tiny vellus hairs on the skin and can be a nice clean up treatment that you use like occasionally.” – Dr. Shah.

The two doctors have recommended a list of ingredients to reduce the build up in sebaceous filaments. So, if you’ve got these ingredients in your arsenal, you’ll be prepared to fight those annoying black dots.

Salicylic acid

A beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid works to exfoliate the skin. It’s oil-soluble, so it can penetrate deep into your pores to unclog them.

This works for both as a cleanser and as a leave-on product to dissolve oil and possibly decrease sebum production.


Retinoids are a catch-all name for an array of vitamin A-based products used for the skin. They consistently decrease oil production while increasing skin cell turnover.

You can use a retinoid at night, and a gentle salicylic acid cleanser during day and night to get the effects of both ingredients.


Another oil production regulator, niacinamide has a long list of benefits including moisturising the skin, treating hyperpigmentation, and protecting against environmental stresses.

You can incorporate niacinamide almost anywhere in your routine, but it’s more recommended to be used in a leave-on product.

Green Tea

Besides reducing excess sebum, green tea is rich in antioxidants, has anti-ageing properties, and is a great anti-inflammatory product.

For green tea, the doctors recommended to use it in your toner or even your moisturiser to get more mileage out of it.

Here’s a simple routine

Based on the ingredients the doctor’s have mentioned, we’ve compiled a simple routine from cleanser all the way to sunscreen, so you can keep those sebaceous filaments in check.


Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

Great for all skin types, this is a gentle cleanser which you can use twice a day to remove those impurities.

Formulated with 0.5% salicylic acid and 0.2% tea tree leaf oil, its creamy texture doesn’t dry out your skin.

It retails for RM59.80.



innisfree Green Tea Seed Skin

innisfree Green Tea Seed Skin

You can enjoy both the benefits of fresh green tea water as well as green tea seed oil in this hydrating toner.

As it is highly enriched with amino acids, you can achieve clear and plump skin with no worries of that tight, overly-dry feeling.

It retails for RM84.



The Inkey List Retinol

The Inkey List Retinol

We’re fans of this retinol as it is not only budget-friendly, but it is also quite effective.

Expect enhanced collagen production and improved overall skin clarity when you add this to your routine.

It retails for RM60.



CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

Containing three essential ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, this lotion moisturises the skin while restoring its protective barrier.

There are two versions, one for the day and another for the night. Both have a lightweight consistency, with the AM version having broad spectrum SPF30.

It retails for RM67.



Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++

Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++

Niacinamide is among the long list of beneficial ingredients in this chemical-based sunscreen, which has its SPF 50 rating certified from two labs in Korea and Spain.

Fun fact: This sunscreen was among the top Asian beauty products Redditors would choose if they’re allowed only five for the rest of their lives!

It retails for RM79.


Featured image credit: Freepik