Questions about hydrocolloid bandages, brown spots and konjac sponge

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Q: What are hydrocolloid bandages and how do I use them?

A: Hydrocolloid bandages (HCBs) are a type of bandage made out of a gelatinous adhesive designed to absorb fluids and pus from open wounds1 – also known as “wound exudate.” These bandages are most often used in a medical setting on large wounds that need to be protected for days on end and can be left on as a waterproof barrier for up to a week! The entire surface of an HCB is absorbent and sticky, unlike your typical bandage with a cloth center. Due to their absorbent capacity, HCBs are a great option for dealing with open pimples and when left on overnight they will suck a bunch of gunk out of a big pimple!

Q: What are these little brown spots on my nose?

A: While there is a chance that they might be blackheads, it is more likely that you are seeing sebaceous filaments (SFs). SFs are a collection of sebum and dead skin cells around hair follicles that appear white or yellow and can be expressed by pinching the skin.2 They are most apparent on the nose and chin. So how can you tell them apart from blackheads? SFs are evenly distributed in your pores, whereas blackheads show no pattern and can pop up anywhere on your skin. Blackheads may also continue to grow in size, while SFs remain small.

Though SFs can be expressed, the follicle will refill within 30 days3 which means we are stuck with them for life.  The good news however, is that there are things you can do to minimize their appearance such as oil cleansing, clay masks, chemical exfoliants, and silicone-based primers.

Q: What is a konjac sponge?

A: Konjac is a plant native to warm subtropical and tropical regions of eastern Asia. At the base of the plant is a tuberous bulb that can be dried, ground up into a powder, and used in various food dishes like jellies and noodles. The konjac root powder can also be molded into squishy shapes, which is how this versatile plant made it’s way into the world of skincare.

Konjac sponges are very soft and can be used to remove cleanser from your face or for gentle exfoliation. After use they should be rinsed and left to dry to prevent bacteria or mold from forming. Konjac sponges typically need to be replaced every 1-3 months depending on use. When you see small tears begin to form or pieces of the sponge start falling off, it’s time to replace your konjac sponge.

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