Blackheads, probably one of the most annoying forms of acne. They’re just there…so deep rooted. But it’s more common than you think. It happens to almost everyone at some point and it’s you're probably the only person who notices.
But if you’re serious about getting rid of your blackheads, you need to get serious about your skincare. If you already have a routine established, you might have to adjust it to tackle your blackheads.
Let's understand why and how blackheads form so we can prevent it from showing up again...
Our pores, especially when enlarged, accumulate dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil. The oil oxidizes making it black (hence, “blackhead”). It clogs up your pores, forming miniscule acne spots on your skin (commonly found on the nose or chin).
Here are some methods you can do to remove your blackheads:
Method #1 - Gentle Method
Use a cleanser with Salicylic Acid. The acid is great at breaking down dead skin and oil trapped in pores. A cleanser with this ingredient will, over time, gently remove blackheads (and whiteheads).
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to alternate using this cleanser with a gentle cleanser until you build tolerance to the acid.
Method #2 - Physical Extraction
Although it’s not recommended to extract blackheads yourself, there is a way that you can do that at home.
*Wash your hands before*
Take a warm shower or if you have one, use a facial steamer.
A warm shower or facial steamer will open up your pores - this will prepare your skin for extraction.
Your skin will be easier to work with if your skin is soft and will keep the heat trapped in.
Apply a warm-compress on the area.
Soak a towel in hot water, wring it, then place it on top of the area of blackheads you want to extract - leave it on for at least 5 minutes.
You can use extraction tools or your fingers (do NOT use your bare fingers. Use gloves or use tissues).
Position your fingers close enough to the blackhead, but be mindful not to block it, then gently squeeze.
Once removed, apply gentle, alcohol-free toner to further clean the skin and remove any dirt and bacteria.
*Limit your squeezes, if a spot seems extra stubborn - it’s best to leave it alone to prevent serious issues*
If or once you’re free of blackheads, the essential part of preventing blackheads is to keep your pores unclogged and clean. Here’s how you do that:
The most common and most recommended form of exfoliation is the use of chemical exfoliants.
Chemical exfoliants include AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid). These acids break the bond between the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, chemically dissolving them and clearing out your pores.
Exfoliating also helps with oil control, which is mainly responsible for clogged pores.
Aside from their anti-aging powers, retinoids are great for unclogging your pores, and promoting skin cell development.
Retinoids dries out the skin, also helping with excess oil.
Talk to your dermatologist as they may have other suggestions after analyzing your skin for more effect methods.