Blackheads can be a confidence-squasher, but how do you remove them? Attempt self-extraction? Are over-the-counter products an option? When dealing with blackheads, it’s a good idea to learn about the top causes of blackheads and the best ways to remove them.
What Causes Blackheads?
Blackheads, medically known as an open comedone, appear on your face when your pores and hair follicles become clogged with a mixture of materials like oil, dirt, and dead skin. Blackheads occur when sebum, an oily substance produced by your pores that naturally hydrates your skin, is exposed to oxygen. Since blackheads are open pores, the buildup inside your pores gets exposed to oxygen, which causes it to go through a reaction called oxidation. This reaction is what gives blackheads their dark color.
If you have naturally oily skin, too much sebum may be to blame for blackheads
Blackheads are clogged pores and they normally appear on the face in areas like your chin, nose, and forehead. Clogged pores can come from a variety of places depending on your skin type and lifestyle, so it is also normal to get blackheads on your body too. may be to blame for your blackheads. If you work out or sweat excessively, sweat and dirt can get into your pores and lead to breakouts. Products that you use every day, such as sunscreen, makeup, and even hair products, can leave a pore-clogging residue on your skin. If your skin is prone to blackheads, it's key to find a skincare routine for oily skin. While you may be tempted to wash your skin constantly throughout the day to prevent blackheads and other breakouts, overwashing can lead to dry skin and increased oil production. So, overwashing may also be causing your breakouts.
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Top Tips to Remove Blackheads
There are many different ways to remove blackheads, but some of them aren’t the best for your skin. For example, when you try to self-extract your blackheads by squeezing them with your fingers, you can end up pushing the clogged debris deeper into the pore. This can release more bacteria into your pores that can lead to even more blackheads, breakouts, and possibly scarring.
There are two ways to safely and instantly remove blackheads: pore strips or professional extractions. Using a cleanser with Salicylic Acid is a slower but still effective way to get rid of blackheads by gently exfoliating the surface of the skin. Lastly, medications prescribed by a dermatologist can also help remove blackheads over time. Here are some of the best ways to remove blackheads without damaging your skin:
- Pore strips
- Cleansers with Salicylic Acid
- Professional extractions
- Prescribed medications
1. Pore Strips for Quick Blackhead Removal
Pore strips are the easiest method as they can instantly remove blackheads from your skin. Compared to other removal methods, pore strips are an easy blackhead remover that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Skincare experts will agree that this is a much safer way to remove blackheads than using your fingers to try and extract them. The good news is that pore strips are available over the counter.
when you try to self-extract your blackheads by squeezing them with your fingers, you can end up pushing the clogged debris deeper into the pore
When searching for a pore strip, do your homework because not all pore strips are made the same. Look for pore strips that use the power of cationic ions to bind to blackheads and not skin. This kind of pore strip uses positively charged ions to bind to negatively charged blackheads, dirt, and oil, working like a magnet to effectively and safely remove deep-down blackheads. In addition to instantly removing your blackheads, with weekly use of pore strips, your pores will also appear visibly smaller.
2. Cleansers With Salicylic Acid
Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (or BHA) and is a top ingredient in over-the-counter blackhead treatments because it goes deep into your pores to dissolve blackhead-causing debris. Salicylic Acid, helps aid exfoliation to break down dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and deep inside the pores while also treating and preventing clogged pores and blackheads. The benefits of Salicylic Acid do not happen overnight. For the most effective results, you should use a cleanser with Salicylic Acid as part of your regular skincare routine. When trying to prevent blackheads, avoid cleansers with benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient works well for inflammatory acne but not for blackheads, which are noninflammatory acne.
Salicylic acid helps aid exfoliation to break down dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and deep inside your pores while also treating and preventing clogged pores and blackheads
3. Professional Extractions
For optimal results, estheticians and dermatologists can perform manual pore extractions to remove severe or excessive blackheads. If you're wondering how often you should get your blackheads removed, professional extractions are recommended to get done every four to six weeks, or once or twice a month, depending on your skin needs.
4. Prescribed Medications
Over-the-counter treatments like cleansers and toners with Salicylic Acid may not work with severe skin conditions. In this case, a dermatologist can prescribe stronger medications to help prevent pore plugs from forming. Prescription medications typically contain AHAs, BHAs, retinoids or vitamin A and can help new and healthy skin cells to develop.
How to Prevent Blackheads
Finding the right skincare routine can take time, depending on your unique skin type. When preventing stubborn blackheads, it is key to control oil production, exfoliate regularly, and prevent dry skin. Use these tips as a guide to figure out how best to help remove blackheads from your skin.
1. Don’t sleep with your makeup on
If you wear makeup or sunscreen, use a cleansing cloth to remove products from your face. Sleeping with your makeup on will clog your pores overnight even if the products you use are non-comedogenic. If you have oily skin, try considering a foaming cleanser to remove all your makeup and dirt first.
2. Cleanse with Salicylic Acid
Cleanse your skin daily with a Salicylic Acid cleanser and warm water. You can also try to find other products, like toners, that contain salicylic acid to also get these benefits too.
Don’t use benzoyl peroxide, which is helpful for acne breakouts and inflammation. Instead, use over the counter products that contain salicylic acid since blackheads are non-inflammatory acne lesions.
3. Choose non-comedogenic products
Find non-comedogenic products like moisturizers and sunscreen to hydrate and protect your skin without clogging your pores. If you use makeup, like foundation, read labels to ensure that the products you use are non-comedogenic because not all products are.
4. Try Pore Strips
Once a week, use a pore strip to remove deep-downdeep down dirt, oil, and blackheads. Although pore strips can make your pores look smaller and make blackheads temporarily go away, it doesn’t regulate your skin’s oil production, so make sure you continue to cleanse your face daily! Furthermore, don’t pick or squeeze your pores to remove blackheads. This can cause even more blemishes and breakouts.
5. Get a skin brush
Gently exfoliate your skin with a gentle facial scrub 2-3 times a week to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oil from your skin. A skin brush is recommended to be used occasionally to help exfoliate your skin because it can provide the same benefits as AHAS and BHAS. However, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to limit your skin brush use or stay away from it.
6. Use Face Masks
Treat your skin to a charcoal or clay facial mask once a week to cleanse away deep impurities and excess oil that can cause blackheads. Clay masks are recommended for oily skin and they help draw out oils and toxins from clogged pores. Look for masks that contain sulfur, an ingredient that also helps break down dead skin cells.
- Blackheads are clogged pores that normally appear on your nose, chin, and forehead
- Using pore strips is the best way to get rid of blackheads quickly at home
- Do not pick on your blackheads with your fingers because it can cause more blemishes and breakouts
- The best way to remove blackheads is to get it professionally removed by an esthetician every 2 to 4 weeks depending on your skin needs
- Use salicylic acid products to help breakdown dirt and oils to prevent blackheads
- Use charcoal or clay mask to remove toxins and impurities deep in your pores at least once a week