We all know what blackheads are – those pesky speckled blackheads on our nose and face. Most of us are tormented by them to varying degrees – for some it is a rare sprinkling, and for still others it can cause severe acne. What we may not know is how they form and how to get rid of them.
Blackheads are basically dilated hair follicles that are blocked by a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells. As a result, it becomes a large opening on the surface of the skin which, when exposed to air, oxidizes and turns black. The bacteria P.Acnes which helps in the formation of blackheads is also the one which contributes to acne.
There are safe ways to get rid of them – balancing your skin’s oil level and getting rid of dead skin cells is a good start. If you have a severe case of blackheads and acne, seeing a dermatologist is the best solution. For others, there are several DIY methods and skincare products you can try out at home.
7 DIY methods to control blackheads:
1. Facial cleansers
Cleansers are an integral part of your daily skin care routine and are essential for controlling blackheads. Choose a mild cleanser, preferably one that contains salicylic acid. The latter is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) which eliminates excess sebum and exfoliates the cells of the surface of the skin. If you want the power of two physical and chemical exfoliators in one, try a gentle facial scrub. These will get a double punch and keep pores clear – try a salicylic acid scrub like Clinique Blackhead Solutions. It also serves as a deep cleansing mask to reduce the appearance of pores and blackheads while controlling excess oil to prevent blackheads.
However, daily use of a physical scrub can cause abrasion – use it once or twice a week. For daily use, use a mild cleanser with salicylic acid and / or glycolic acid – SkinCeuticals LHA cleansing gel combines the benefits of salicylic acid with glycolic acid. Resist the urge to rub your face too much, which can rob you of moisture and lead to overproduction of sebum.
2. Chemical exfoliators
Gone are the days of nut and apricot scrubs that harm your skin more than they do good – the particles in it cause microtears in your skin. We trust chemical exfoliators with ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid to do the trick – the latter particularly dives deep into your pores and dissolves the sebum that clogs our skin and forms black dots. We swear by Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Scrub – this cult product is a salicylic acid leave-in exfoliant that unclogs pores, smoothes wrinkles and brightens your complexion.
3. Topical retinoids
Retinol has several advantages – it is unassailable when it comes to cell renewal and skin regeneration. It exfoliates at the cellular level, removes dead skin, reduces fat and minimizes blackheads and clogged pores. It also results in shiny and smooth skin by minimizing existing fine lines and wrinkles. Introduce your skin to this powerful vitamin A with over-the-counter topical retinoids – SkinCeuticals 0.5% Retinol Refining Night Cream is ideal for sensitive skin.
4. Daily moisturizer
Daily use of exfoliators and retinoids can remove oils from the skin and have a drying effect on the skin. This, in turn, will signal your skin to produce excess of it which can lead to blackheads and rashes. The key is to balance your skin’s oil level – use non-comedogenic moisturizers formulated to prevent pore clogging. Use CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion – ceramides help repair the skin barrier, niacinamide soothes the skin, while hyaluronic acid hydrates it. Lightweight, non-greasy and non-comedogenic, it nourishes the skin and restores the skin’s barrier function.
5. Face steamer
If you are trying a home cleanse, make sure your skin is prepared – that it is supple and moist. You can do this by using a facial steamer which will loosen up your pores and soften the dirt hidden underneath. Try the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer – it’s an at-home facial tool that will hydrate, detoxify, and clarify your skin in just nine minutes with its micro-swab technology.
If you are using your fingers for the extraction, make sure your hands are clean and avoid using your fingernails. The latter could lead to scars and scratches and leave permanent marks. Be gentle and avoid placing your fingers close to blackheads.
6. Tools and gadgets
Using your hands can result in puncture of your skin – use tools and gadgets intended for safe extraction instead. We can rely on the Ultrasonic Pore Extractor and Dermapore Serum Infuser from Dermaflash. Powered by ultrasonic technology, this vibrating device features a steel spatula head that deeply cleanses, refines pores and extracts blackheads. It also facilitates better absorption and penetration of the active ingredients in serums and lotions.
7. Pore strips
A proven and proven method for blackhead removal, nasal strips are inexpensive and quick – a basic approach to blackhead removal. Prepare your skin with lukewarm water to open the pores before applying the strip to your nose. The suction caused by pulling the strip will remove debris from the pores. Try the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Strip – this 3 step process will effectively remove deep rooted blackheads due to volcanic slag which has powerful sebum absorption capacity.