Have you been in a constant war against pesky blackheads? Well, you’re not alone. Blackheads are one of the most common skincare woes around the world, especially among people with oily and acne-prone skin. If you’ve been struggling to get rid of blackheads, you might already be aware of the fact that it can be quite annoying and hard to banish them for good. Blackheads don’t only make your complexion look uneven, bumpy, and rough, they can also potentially lead to more severe skin problems. Therefore, if you notice these tiny dots appearing on your skin, it’s the indication that you need to start taking care of your skin and get rid of blackheads as soon as possible.
In this article, we’ll share some of the most effective and easy ways of removing and preventing blackheads. So, let’s get to it!
What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads or comedones are tiny bumps that are formed due to blocked hair follicles. Just like whiteheads, blackheads are also basically a milder form of acne. However, whiteheads have closed pores while blackheads are formed with open surfaces, thus known as open comedones. This leads to the process of oxidation and gives blackheads the dark color. Though anyone can develop them, people with oily skin are more susceptible to getting blackheads. This is due to the combining of dead skin cells with excess sebum that leads to clogged pores.
How Are Blackheads Formed?
Blackheads are essentially clusters of oil, grime, bacteria, and other pollutants our skin comes in contact with on a daily basis. These impurities get mixed sebum and pile up into the pores. However, they don’t appear overnight. When you don’t take proper care of your skin and cleanse the pores regularly, this debris accumulates and blocks the pores over time. It doesn’t only make your skin appear dull, weary, and unattractive but also makes it more prone to acne breakouts and premature signs of aging due to a reduction in the skin’s elasticity. Blackheads can appear on various parts of your body, including your nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, chest, back, and shoulders.
How to Remove Blackheads?
We can understand your temptation to pick, pinch, or pop the black junk out, but it can leave unnecessary scars and scratches on your skin. Hence, you need to follow proper skincare rituals and apply the specialized skincare products to remove blackheads without damaging your skin. Before we jump to a well-rounded approach to prevent the production of blackheads in the first place, let’s walk you through the process of safely removing blackheads at home.
Start By Deep Cleansing your Skin
Cleanse your skin every morning and night with a gentle, alcohol and fragrance-free cleanser to get rid of any oil, dirt, bacteria, and makeup residue accumulated in your pores throughout the day. Omitting this crucial step allows bacteria and other pollutants to penetrate into your skin, leading to clogged pores. Clogged pores eventually lead to blackheads and other skin issues. Therefore, by sloughing away all the impurities from the pores, you’ll be eliminating blackheads while also decreasing their chances to reappear.
Many people tend to neglect this step thinking of it as overkill. In reality, toner is an excellent skincare product, particularly for people with blackheads and acne. It helps to remove any leftover makeup, grime, and oil from the pores, constrict enlarged pores, balances the skin’s pH level, and revitalize the skin. So, opt for a mild, alcohol-free toner enriched with antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients to take your cleansing routine up a notch. Some of the contents to look for in toner are glycolic acid, green tea, hyaluronic acid, and rose water.
Slough Away the Dead Skin Buildup
Dead skin cells can stack up on the skin, leading to clogged pores and ultimately, blackheads. Therefore, it is important to slough off the dead skin regularly (two or three times a week) to keep the skin clear, even-toned, and smooth. You can either use a non-abrasive physical exfoliator, such as oatmeal, to remove dead skin cells and debris from the skin or choose a chemical exfoliator, in case you have inflamed or sensitive skin. Avoid scrubs made with hard and irritating beads or ground nuts.
Use Steam to Open Clogged Pores
A steam session can facilitate your at-home blackhead extraction process effectively. Steam helps to open blocked pores, making it easier for you to draw out black junk trapped in the pores. The best part is that you don’t have to visit a salon or spa to get this treatment. Just boil some water in a pot, pour it into a bowl, and rest your face above the water (approximately 6 inches above) with a towel drape over your head. Let the steam work its wonder for about 10 minutes and follow with the next step to clean your pores.
Use a Charcoal or Clay Mask
While cleansing, toning, exfoliation, and steam make your pores ready for extraction, they may not be enough to get rid of the debris completely. Using a facial mask afterward can make the process more effective and quick. You can apply a charcoal or clay mask, depending on what works the best for you. Both these masks are known for their amazing pore-cleansing properties. Moreover, these masks help to control excess sebum, providing anti-blackhead benefits in the long term too.
Use a Pore Strip or Extractor Tool
Once you have prepared your skin for the smooth and effortless extraction of blackheads, apply a blackhead removing pore strip or use an extractor tool for removing deeper blackheads. Always sterilize your extraction tool and then gently press the edge of the blackhead with the head or loop facedown and gently sweep to the other side of the pore. Avoid pressing the loop in the middle of the blackhead because it might lead to skin irritation or infection. Apply a soothing lotion or serum afterward to tone down redness and prevent inflammation.
How to Prevent Blackheads?
If you have managed to get rid of that black plug from your face and looking for ways to prevent it from appearing again, we’ve got you covered. There are numerous skincare ingredients known to prevent the formation of blackheads in the long run. You can get rid of this problem for good by incorporating skincare products with these active ingredients into your daily skincare routine.
Add Salicylic Acid to Your Skincare
As mentioned above, dead skin accumulation is one of the leading factors behind the formation of blackheads. Salicylic acid, a Beta hydroxy acid, is particularly useful for people with blackhead-prone skin as it works to break down dead skin cells and excess sebum amassed in the pores, decreasing the probability of blackheads in the treated areas. Find a cleanser, toner, exfoliator, or moisturizer with salicylic acid to reap the incredible benefits of this compound.
Opt for Products with Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, is also widely popular among people with oily skin due to its powerful blackhead preventing effect. Glycolic acid speeds up cell turnover rate, helping to shed dead skin cells faster. This, in turn, prevents clogged pores and the creation of blackheads along with various other skin problems, including hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. There is a myriad of skincare products containing glycolic acid, such as moisturizers and peels. Glycolic acid peels are a safer alternative to abrasive physical exfoliators because they draw out dead skin cells from the pores without aggravating the skin. Even people with inflammatory acne can use glycolic acid exfoliators to remove blackheads over time.
Invest in Topical Retinoid Products
Consider yourself fortunate if your dermatologist prescribed you retinoid or retinol (a form of vitamin A) as your acne treatment. Besides helping to treat acne, retinoid products have been shown to reduce the appearance of blackheads. It penetrates deep into the pores and clears out dead skin from the follicles along with regulating and controlling the production of excess sebum that can contribute to the development of blackheads. Additionally, regular use of retinoid products will provide you a youthful, radiant, and healthy complexion in the years to come.
Scan for Non-Comedogenic Ingredients
The formula of mainstream sunscreens, lotions, and moisturizers can be greasy and thick. It can be problematic for people with oily and acne-prone skin who struggle with blackheads. Oil-based skincare products can block the pores and stimulate the development of blackheads. No matter how good your exfoliator, moisturizer, or mask is, it will do little good for your blackhead-ridden skin if it contains comedogenic compounds. Therefore, scan the labels carefully and switch to lightweight, oil-free, and water or gel-based skincare products which work without congesting your pores.
Face masks are an ideal skincare staple to get rid of excess sebum and debris from the pores that becomes the cause of formation of blackheads. Clay masks can help to absorb excess sebum from the surface of the skin and tighten enlarged pores, encouraging a smoother and softer complexion. Similarly, charcoal masks are great for pulling out impurities from the pores. You can apply your favorite face mask once or twice a week, depending on how oily your skin tends to get. It’s important to keep in mind that overuse of these masks can lead to over-dry or irritated skin.
While it may be a challenge to remove and prevent pesky blackheads, it is not an impossible task. It’s important to use skincare products that suit your skin type and having good skincare routines coupled with a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not sure what your skin type is, click here to understand more!