How To Safely Remove Blackheads
- Blackheads: A Detailed Explanation
- 6 Amazing Tips For Removing Blackheads
- 6 Methods To Avoid
- Avoid Removal Strips
- Avoid Tweezers
- Avoid The Tanning Bed
- Avoid Benzoyl Peroxide
- Avoid Removal Masks
- Avoid Blackhead Vacuums
This is an all-out war. And this time, it’s not against that neighbor who can’t seem to keep the dog piles out of your yard. No, this war is against the dreadful BLACKHEADS.
But what is a blackhead? Well… it’s a form of acne. This is the result of bacteria, dead skin, and oil getting trapped in your skin’s pores. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads have open pores.
Thanks to these openings, air is able to reach the trapped materials in the pores. The air oxidizes these materials, causing them to turn black. Hence the name, “blackhead.” Makes sense, right?
Blackheads can be a real pain to deal with. Do you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending battle with these mean black machines? If so, then you should keep reading. We’re going to give you 6 tips for removing blackheads and maintaining the health of your skin. We’ll also be covering 6 methods that you should avoid in the battle against blackheads.
Stick around after that to learn about some specific products for conquering blackheads!
Before moving forward, let’s cover blackheads in a little more detail. If you’re satisfied with the basic definition above, then feel free to skip right into the tips!
Blackheads: A More-Detailed Explanation
Blackheads get their names from the black appearances that they emit. This black material is actually a mixture of oxidized materials that are trapped in your skin’s pores. Blackheads are known to the scientific community as “open comedones.” Can you guess the scientific name for whiteheads? If you guessed “closed comedones,” then you’re absolutely right.
Dermatologists characterize blackheads as dilated openings in hair follicles, caused by sebum (oil secretions) and P. Acnes bacteria (the primary bacteria involved in acne). A common misconception is that blackheads are black because of the dirt inside of them. This just isn’t the case. Oxidation is the reason for the “gunk” in a blackhead turning dark. Having blackheads doesn’t mean that you’re “too dirty.”
Blackheads can also be caused by an excessive amount of UV radiation. If there are any parts of your skin that are exposed to the sun for too long, then there’s a chance of developing clogged pores. In this case, the blackheads are called “solar comedones.” Actively protecting your skin from too much sun (example: sunscreen) can help prevent these breakouts.
6 Amazing Tips For Removing Blackheads
Now that we’ve got a solid understanding of blackheads, it’s time to learn how to remove and prevent them. We’re going to present you with 6 reliable tips for winning the war against blackheads in the long run. Let’s jump right into it.
Tip 1: Use Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is something called a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Blackheads seem to be handled well by these kinds of acids. BHAs keep your pores from getting clogged. They do this by helping dissolve the keratin that blocks the pores of your skin.
Salicylic acid is great for exfoliating your skin. But you should use it with caution. It’s recommended to only use salicylic acid on the parts of your skin where blackheads occur. If you use it over your entire body, then it’s possible that you’ll develop salicylate poisoning. It’s going to be important for you to read the recommended doses carefully.
So, where can you find salicylic acid? Believe it or not, you don’t need a prescription for this. You can find salicylic gels in your local pharmacy. Or any superstore around. The chemical exfoliation of the salicylic acid, along with the physical exfoliation of a scrub, can really help remove and prevent blackheads.
Salicylic acid is #1 on this tip-list for a good reason. Many dermatologists recommend products containing this Beta Hydroxy Acid. Let’s jump right into the next tip.
Tip 2: Use Retinoids
What are retinoids? Oxford Dictionary describes them as “any of a group of compounds having effects in the body like those of vitamin A.” But how do retinoids help with blackheads? Get this: they decrease the stickiness of your cells, reducing clogged pores. And retinoids also speed up the regeneration of your skin. Retinoid cream greatly improves acne in general.
So, what should you be looking for? We recommend looking into tretinoin. This ointment is one of the strongest acne creams available on the market. Tretinoin works wonders on the regeneration of your skin cells. It’s capable of handling even the smallest of clogged pores. You’ll need a prescription for tretinoin.
Tretinoin isn’t your only option for a prescription retinoid cream. Another common ointment is Retin A micro. You could also use a cream such as Tazorac. Both of these have been proven to help reduce and prevent blackheads. Prescription creams shouldn’t be used on sensitive skin.
But what if your skin is sensitive? In this case, you should stick with an over-the-counter ointment. Check online or with your local pharmacy for a retinoid cream that will do the trick for sensitive skin. A common example is RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream.
Disclaimer: pregnant women shouldn’t use retinoids. Excessive use of these creams can have negative effects on the development of the fetus.
Tip 3: Exfoliate & Moisturize
Exfoliation sounds like a harsh word. In reality, you don’t have to literally scrub your face off in order to exfoliate your skin. If you scrub too hard, you can actually make your blackhead issue even worse. What’s the good news? There are softer exfoliants available that can actually help get rid of your blackheads and take care of your skin.
Remember to look for those beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid). These types of acids are considered to be gentle. You’re in good hands if you choose an exfoliant that contains BHAs. They will help remove old skin cells. And they’ll aid in regeneration as well. You’ll want to choose a gentle exfoliant to assure that you don’t aggravate your acne even more.
So, where does moisturization come into play? Here’s the thing: a lot of blackhead removal methods involve removing a layer of your skin and essentially drying it out. What’s the simple solution? Just add a moisturizer into your skin-care routine. Basically, you’ll need a moisturizer to balance out the other methods in taking care of your skin.
But what kind of moisturizers should you be looking for? Be sure to look for moisturizers that are non-comedogenic. These types of moisturizers are designed for a specific purpose. And that is to moisturize your skin without clogging your pores. You don’t want to backtrack with your efforts. We’re trying to get those pores unclogged, and not vice-versa.
Tip 4: Use A Clarisonic Brush
What is a Clarisonic brush? It’s a special kind of electronic brush that’s used to help unclog your pores. Of course this is useful when treating blackheads. Typically, you would use your fingers to exfoliate your skin. But with a Clarisonic brush, you’ll be having a more thorough cleansing.
It’s important not to overdo it with the Clarisonic brush. If you use it too often, then you may end up igniting an already-existing acne problem. So, what’s the recommendation?
Dermatologists recommend using a Clarisonic brush once or twice a week. Anything more than that could cause you to backtrack in your efforts to get rid of those blackheads.
Tip 5: Oral Medication
Oral acne medication is typically a last-case scenario. It’s for blackhead cases that are a little more severe. Your dermatologist may prescribe you some oral medication if all else has failed so far. This option isn’t for a small breakout of blackheads.
Did you know that birth control pills can actually help control blackheads? It’s true, and your dermatologist may end up prescribing it to you.
Spironolactone may be prescribed as well. These 2 oral medications stop existing blackheads. And help prevent new ones from occurring.
Spironolactone and birth control pills decrease the production of skin oil, therefore decreasing blackheads. All of this happens on a hormonal level. Keep in mind that you probably won’t be getting either of these for your blackheads unless you have a moderate to severe case.
Tip 6: Use Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is applied topically to the skin. It helps to treat acne and rosacea. But more specifically, it works wonders for the treatment of blackheads. Are you interested in getting your hands on some azelaic acid? If so, then you can usually find a dermatology provider online. You can check your local pharmacy as well.
Azelaic acid isn’t a beta hydroxy acid OR an alpha hydroxy acid. Instead, it’s made of a yeast which occurs naturally on the skin. This special acid presents many natural benefits for your skin. Let’s suppose you finally get rid of your blackhead problem. Even so, azelaic acid is still a great addition to your skincare routine.
BONUS Tip: Wash After Exercising & Sleep
You really worked up a sweat in the gym. Did you know that sweat can get trapped in your pores along with dirt and bacteria? It’s true, and this is why you’ll want to wash your face after a heavy workout. This will help prevent future breakouts from occurring. It’s recommended to wash, or at least wipe, your face before the sweat dries. This will reduce your chance of having the sweat get trapped in your pores.
How about after you wake up? It was a long and relaxing sleep, and there was plenty of time for dirt and bacteria to collect on your face. It’s always a good idea to give your face a gentle cleaning after waking up. Here’s another recommendation: ensure that you’re keeping your pillowcase washed. This goes hand-in-hand with trying to maintain clean skin.
6 Blackhead Removal Methods To Avoid
What did you think of those tips? The above methods are tried-and-true ways of helping to treat and prevent blackheads. It’s nice to know that there are options out there to really handle acne the way it needs to be handled. But we want you to see both sides of the coin. So we’ll be going over some of the methods that we recommend avoiding.
#1: Avoid Blackhead Removal Strips
We know removal strips are pretty common tools for pulling black material out of pores. Basically, you place the strip and then pull it off. Pore strips peel off a layer of your skin and take the blackhead material with it. So, why are strips on the avoidance list?
Here’s why: strips only temporary treat your clogged-pore problem. An emptied pore will quickly start collecting dirt and bacteria again. Pore strips are quick-fix solutions to a bigger problem. Not only that, but strips can also do some heavy damage to your skin. And this is especially the case if you use the strips often.
#2: Avoid Tweezers
Blackhead tweezers are actually efficient whenever they are used by the professionals. Licensed dermatologists often use tweezers while unclogging pores. But you should avoid using this method on your own. It takes a lot of training to safely and effectively perform this procedure.
So, what happens if you decide to pick up some tweezers and go at it yourself? Well… you could actually end up aggravating your acne, causing even more breakouts. You know what’s worse? If you don’t use the tweezers correctly, you can permanently damage your skin. Do you really want to scar your skin for life? You should think about this before having a DIY type of project with those tweezers.
#3: Avoid The Tanning Bed
Let’s face it: the tanning bed is for short-term beauty. When we’re talking about the long-term health of your skin, it’s best to avoid that unnatural tan. Tanners can actually clog pores even further, which would increase the breakout of blackheads. You definitely don’t want that.
But what else does the tanning bed do? It can make your existing blackheads even more prominent. That’s right, the tanner can actually make your blackheads even darker. This is completely backwards from what we are trying to accomplish. If you’re truly on a path towards getting rid of your blackheads, then you’ll want to avoid the tanning booth.
#4: Avoid Benzoyl Peroxide
This is the main ingredient found in most over-the-counter medications for acne. Benzoyl peroxide is anti-inflammatory, making it efficient for the treatment of inflamed acne. But here’s the thing… blackheads aren’t inflamed. So benzoyl peroxide won’t really be of any use. It’s pretty similar to waving your hand in the air… it just isn’t going to solve your blackhead problem. You’re better off investing your time/money/effort elsewhere.
Another good reason for avoiding benzoyl peroxide? Well… not only is it ineffective for treating blackheads, but it also stains rags and clothes. If you’re going to stain your rags and clothes, then you’ll at least want an effective treatment. And benzoyl peroxide just doesn’t cut it.
#5: Avoid Blackhead Removal Masks
Blackhead removal masks are also popular removal options. Unfortunately, they are not very good options. No matter which mask-option you choose (clay, magnetic, charcoal, etc.), you’re only going to get a temporary fix. This is the same story as the removal strips. You don’t want to settle for that quick-fix solution. But a quick-fix is all you’ll get from a removal mask.
Blackhead removal masks pull off your dead skin. And some of the blackhead material gets pulled off as well. Just like the removal strips, this is only a temporary fix. The empty pores can easily fill back up with dirt and bacteria again. As with the strips, masks can also permanently damage your skin. You’re trying to solve a blackhead problem. You’re not trying to create a scar problem. So it’s best to just avoid blackhead removal masks all together.
#6: Avoid Blackhead Vacuums
The best blackhead vacuum are really amazing at removing the blackhead materials from the pores. When used by licensed professionals, vacuums can really do a good job of eliminating all of that junk that’s clogged in your skin. But skincare professionals recommend that you don’t try to use blackhead vacuums by yourself at home. And why is that?
It’s because of the suction. If you aren’t a trained and licensed professional, then you won’t have any idea about how much suction should be applied to your pores. Too much suction can cause bruising on your skin. You can get other forms of skin irritation as well. These types of complications are just going to make your skin-care routine even more of a hassle. It’s best to leave this professional tool to the professionals who are meant to use it.
BONUS: Avoid Overusing Skin Products
It’s important that you don’t overdo it on the blackhead products. Going crazy with the creams and ointments can really leave your skin dehydrated.
It’s hard to give you a specific amount of product that you should be using. But be sure to pay attention to the recommended usage on the exterior of the products. Less is more, and this can typically be the case when it comes to a proper skincare routine that looks to eliminate blackheads.
Popular Products For Blackhead Removal
We’ve covered some great tips for removing blackheads, as well as some methods to avoid. Now it’s time to cover more details on specific skin-care products that can help you succeed against those dreaded blackheads. Ready for the details? Let’s check out some of the most popular products on the market today for taking care of your skin and defeating blackheads.
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
This is an alternative to retinoids. Retinoid creams do a great job of clearing up blackheads, but they are not intended for use in pregnant women or people with extremely sensitive skin. If you’re pregnant or have sensitive skin, then you should look for bakuchiol instead of retinoids. Bakuchiol not only reduces/removes blackheads, but also works as an anti-aging ingredient in general. It’s a great addition to your skin-care routine. This product has been proven to enhance skin texture.
It’s also known to smooth fine lines. So even when your blackhead problem is eliminated, it’s still nice to have bakuchiol around for skin-care in general. That is, if you’re pregnant or suffering from skin sensitivity. Otherwise, retinoids should work just fine. The Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum typically runs around $50.
St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Face Scrub Green Tea
This product contains the all-famous BHA, salicylic acid. This item from St. Ives is specifically geared towards unclogging your pores and getting rid of those blackheads. Just remember that you should use salicylic acid creams in moderation.
If you use too much, then you’ll introduce the risk of salicylate poisoning from overuse. Exfoliation always involves removing a layer of skin. So be sure that you don’t overdo it with this product. You can get St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Face Scrub Green Tea for somewhere in the ballpark of $5.
Clinique’s Blackhead Solutions 7 Day Deep Pore Cleanser & Scrub
This is another cream that makes use of salicylic acid. Clinique’s product is for all skin types, whether it’s sensitive or not. This daily cleanser has been proven to clear up blackheads quickly and efficiently. After 6 weeks of use, you should be able to notice over a 90% reduction in the amount of noticeable blackheads. This product works by clearing out your dead skin, extracting dislodged materials in your pores, and soothing your skin with Vitamin E. How much can you expect to spend on Clinique’s 7-day solution? It’s typically around $25.
Neutrogena Acne Proofing Daily Facial Gel Cleanser
Here is another product that makes use of salicylic acid. It’s the same concept as the above products. Your pores are gently cleaned while removing any blockage from within. This is an oil-free remedy from Neutrogena that has been proven to achieve results. Not only does this gel cleanser handle current breakouts, but helps prevent future breakouts as well. Also, Neutrogena is the #1 acne brand recommended by dermatologists. Hard to beat that, right? For this specific cleanser, you won’t have to spend any more than $10.
Murad Clarifying Cleanser
Can you guess the active ingredient in this cleanser? If you guessed salicylic acid, then you are spot on. There are actually 2 types of salicylic acid in Murad’s product. The first type starts working immediately, while the second type is encapsulated and continues treatment after being rinsed off. This cleanser is gentle on the skin, so you’ll be able to use it daily if you please. Murad is a fairly-new brand, being founded in 1989. However, its effectiveness has stood the test of its short time. The Murad Clarifying Cleanser will help dissolve the excess oils on your skin. You’ll have to spend somewhere around $30 for this product.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream
This product is a retinoid cream. It has plenty of anti-aging ingredients in the mix. But it really puts a number on blackheads as well. Retinol is the main ingredient here. Retinol helps promote the regeneration of skin cells. This night cream is also proven to refine the looks of your pores. SkinCeuticals’ formula has been proven to be minimally invasive as far as skin irritation goes. This night cream is non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t block your pores. This product is a bit pricey. A 1-oz. bottle will cost somewhere around $80.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Remember when we mentioned how important it is to keep your skin moisturized during your skin-care routines? Well, this product can help you do just that. It’s an oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. This type of acid is known for helping you maintain the protective barrier on your skin. Expect long-lasting hydration when you’re using this product.
Also, CeraVe’s daily moisturizing lotion is non-comedogenic. You won’t be clogging any pores while using this product. Not only does this lotion provide moisture to your skin. But it helps maintain that moisture throughout the day as well. For a 12-oz. bottle, you’re looking at spending somewhere between $10-$30 depending where you shop.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Moisturizer
This is another popular product from the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand for skin care. Just like the CeraVe moisturizer, this gel-cream makes use of hyaluronic acid. This is going to help maintain that protective barrier on your skin. This product is for extra dry skin. So if you’re not suffering from extremely dehydrated skin, then you’ll probably be just fine using a regular lotion such as the CeraVe mentioned above. How much will you spend on this gel-cream? You’re looking somewhere in the ballpark of $10-$20.
The generic name for this product is tretinoin. It’s a common retinoid brand used to conquer blackheads with ease. It’s a form of Vitamin A which helps rejuvenate and replenish your skin’s cells. This long-term remedy may take a few weeks in order to see the full-scale results in action.
But the results will be long-lasting with efficient use. You will need a prescription in order to get this cream. Talk with your doctor about recommended usage of this product. You should also keep in mind that Retin-A can cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight or artificial rays from tanning beds. Be sure to invest in some sunscreen if you go with Retin-A.
Blackheads are made up of pores that are clogged with bacteria, dirt, and dead skin. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads have an opening in the pores. Once air hits this opening and meets with the materials inside the pore, a black spot is formed. This black spot is your enemy.
Blackheads can really be a pain to deal with. But with an excellent skin-care routine, you’ll have those blackheads cleared up in no time. Salicylic gels and retinoid creams work wonders when you’re trying to clear the acne up. Clarisonic brushes can help you exfoliate your skin a bit better than if you just use your hands.
Azelaic acid is naturally-occurring, and can help in your mission towards smooth and clean skin. If your acne problem is moderate to severe, then there’s a chance you may end up being prescribed an oral medication to regulate your hormones.
Lots of skin-care products dehydrate or remove skin from your face. As always, be sure to keep your skin moisturized throughout your skin-care processes. You’ll want a good balance of product use and moisturization. Search for moisturizers that are specifically geared towards moisturizing your skin without clogging pores. These specific kinds of moisturizers are called non-comedogenic remedies.
While there are plenty of good methods for removing blackheads, there are also some methods to avoid. For example, you should leave the professional tools to the licensed professionals who are trained to use them. For instance, avoid attempting a DIY project with blackhead tweezers or a blackhead vacuum. If used incorrectly, these tools can lead to permanent scarring.
You should avoid using removal strips and removal masks as well. But why? It’s because these only provide temporary fixes. The “gunk” inside of the blackheads will be removed, but empty pores can easily fill back up. And we’re looking for a long-term victory over blackheads.
Benzoyl peroxide should be avoided as well. This ingredient is the main one in most over-the-counter acne treatments. But benzoyl peroxide is for inflamed acne. And blackheads are not a form of inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide will probably have no effect at all. Plus, on top of that, it easily stains towels, carpets, articles of clothing, etc.
There are many popular products out there which are recommended by dermatologists and users alike. Neutrogena is one of the top brands in the skin-care world. Just be sure that you’re fully-equipped to take care of all your skin’s needs. Don’t go out and get an exfoliant without making sure you have a moisturizer as well.
So, what do you think? Do you feel like you’re better prepared to win against the blackheads? We sure hope our reinforcements were able to help you out. You should have all the knowledge necessary to really accomplish your skin-care goals. Get out there and conquer those blackhead beasts. And remember, the key for a solid win is to take great care of your skin.