Regardless of what face wash ads might have led you to believe, not all of the little black dots on your face are blackheads. According to the YouTube science series SciShow, there’s a big difference between blackheads, which are unhealthy, and sebaceous filaments, which, though they’re often confused with blackheads, are actually completely natural.

In “Are Those Really Blackheads?” SciShow host Hank Green explains the distinction between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, and what’s actually happening to your skin when you have either. While blackheads are a type of noninflammatory acne—the result of clogged pores and the overproduction of oil glands, Green explains—sebaceous filaments are just “normal hair follicles doing what they’re supposed to do.” In fact, trying to remove sebaceous filaments as if they’re blackheads can actually damage your skin, causing inflammation and even scarring.

Whether you’re working on developing the optimal skincare regime, or are just curious about the science of blackheads, SciShow’s tutorial is an informative and entertaining start to your research. And don't worry: it won't gross you out. 

[h/t Lifehacker]

Banner Image Credit: iStock