White Strings Coming Out of Pores? (Find out Here!)   

white strings coming out of pores

Pores, especially facial pores, can collect oil and dead skin to form sebaceous filaments. When the pore is put under pressure, the filament can come out looking like a white or yellow string of oily pus. The most common place that sebaceous filaments can be be extracted is in the nose and chin.

The following topics will be covered in this article:

  • What happens when you pull out a sebaceous filament
  • How to get rid of sebaceous filaments
  • What sebum plugs look like
  • If you should squeeze sebaceous filaments

What Happens If You Pull Out Sebaceous Filaments?

If you find a sebaceous filament in one of your facial pores, one of the first things you might do is pull it out. You can remove the filament by squeezing the pore by applying pressure with your fingers on either side or by grasping it with tweezers and pulling.

Most of the time what comes out is a yellow or white structure that is a mixture of oil and dead skin and is easily smashed between your fingers. You will effectively clear out the pore from any unwanted dead skin and dirt, but you may also risk scarring your skin.

You could also potentially stretch the pore so that it continues to collect oil and dead skin, constantly producing new sebaceous filaments to extract. Despite the risks, extracting sebaceous filaments will help keep your skin clean.

After pulling out a sebaceous filament, applying an astringent to help the pore close up can aid in preventing the production of more filaments.

How Do You Get Rid of Sebaceous Filaments?

You can manually extract sebaceous filaments by squeezing them out of the pores; however, this method can easily damage the skin. A long-term skincare regimen will not only keep your pores free from sebaceous filaments but it will also protect your skin and allow it to remain healthy and undamaged.

Wash your face with an approved cleansing soap that reaches deep into your pores to clean out dirt, dead skin, and excess oil. Apply toner to keep your pores hydrated.

 Regular washing can often dry out pores and encourage them to produce more oils that trap dead skin and dirt to create sebaceous filaments. By moisturizing your skin, you are enabling the pores to create an appropriate amount of oil.

Exfoliating your skin on a weekly basis will also provide an intensive cleaning experience for your skin that can get rid of any hard to extract sebaceous filaments that may not come out with daily washing. Additionally, exfoliating has the benefit of removing most of your dead skin so that it is not available to make more sebaceous filaments.

If you notice a severe excess of sebaceous filaments or they turn into blackheads, pore strips can be applied, especially to the nose to extract them. These strips have an adhesive side that sticks to the top of the filament and gently pulls it out without stretching the pore.

What Do Sebum Plugs Look Like?

When too much oil is produced by a pore, it can collect dead skin cells and form a sebum plug, the beginnings of a sebaceous filament. Sebum plugs can form anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the facial T-zone which includes the forehead, nose, and chin.

Sebum plugs begin as small bumps under the skin that may or may not have a head. Sometimes the skin remains unbroken because the plug is still under the surface and even when pressure is applied, the skin will not break. Other times, the top of the plug will look similar to a grain of sand with a yellow to grayish head.

You can often feel sebum plugs, especially those under the skin because they attract bacteria which can cause the plug to grow and morph into a whitehead or blackhead. The best way to address sebum plugs once you discover them is to make sure to pay extra attention to those areas when you wash your face.

You can also help bring the plug to a head faster by drying it out. Applying rubbing alcohol or witch hazel to the plug can effectively dry it out for easier extraction.

Should You Squeeze Sebaceous Filaments?

You can squeeze sebaceous filaments; however, you would be putting your skin at risk of damage and reoccurrence of more sebaceous filaments. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, manually extracting sebaceous filaments by squeezing them out can permanently scar your skin.

Additionally, since facial skin especially is so delicate, it is prone to stretching. If you squeeze out sebaceous filaments, you could risk enlarging your pores which attracts more dead skin and dirt. Ultimately, squeezing out sebaceous filaments almost guarantees that you will continue to get them.

As an alternative to squeezing, try exfoliating or intensely scrubbing your face. You will not only get rid of the filament but also clean out the pore to help prevent filaments from reforming. Keeping up a daily habit of facial cleansing can help avoid sebaceous filaments from manifesting in the first place.

Although you may be tempted to squeeze out sebaceous filaments so the unsightly feature is taken care of quickly, it is far more worth it to take regular care of your skin and apply cleansing products to gently remove the filament to avoid further damaging your skin.


If you’ve ever dealt with white strings coming out of pores, you’ve encountered a common dermatological issue that most people face called sebaceous filaments. While squeezing the filaments out by applying pressure to the pore is one way to extract the white or yellow strings of oil and dead skin, this method could result in pore enlarging and scarring.

Cleansing, toning, and exfoliating your skin is a healthier method of getting rid of sebaceous filaments and an effective way to prevent them from returning. Although they can be unavoidable, be aware of the signs of a filament such as sebum plugs that may start under the skin.

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