How to Remove Blackheads | 9 Easy Tips to Get Rid of Blackheads
by Karan Bhagat on May 15, 2020
Blackhead acne is a common problem for many people. This form of acne is definitely among the most prevalent – anyone can develop blackheads. Blackheads may not appear as unseemly as whiteheads but are definitely a problem that compromises the smoothness of your skin that's why you have been asking "How to Remove Blackheads?" till today.
A lot of people will throw advice at you, claiming to know how to deal with blackheads. Instead of simply listening to any layman’s tip, it’s time you introduced yourself to best blackhead removal tips.
What are Blackheads?
In order to tackle a problem, you first need to understand the basics. Blackheads form when pores become clogged. How do pores become clogged? When excess oil from sebaceous glands and dead skin pile up, your pores start experiencing difficulties “breathing.” This results in clogging.
The most susceptible to this ailment are people with oily skin. However, in cases of increased sweating (during heat and workouts), even people with otherwise dry skin may start experiencing atypically oily skin, which can lead to the development of blackheads.
Why are Blackheads Black?
People are generally more used to seeing whiteheads than blackheads. In fact, while everyone knows what a whitehead looks like (a regular pimple), some can be confused by the appearance of blackheads. Make no mistake, however, blackheads are definitely a form of acne.
The difference between whiteheads and blackheads is that whiteheads actually create closed pores. While blackheads are the result of pore clogging and have open surfaces, the oxidation that occurs in these instances is what turns this acne type – black.
What NOT to Do
As with any form of acne, you may be inclined to deal with it your own way. “Dealing with it” typically involves pinching your skin, in an attempt to push the black plug (which is the cause of the problem) out. Logical as this may seem, it’s definitely not a smart thing to do. These brute methods may cause unnecessary damage to your skin, even scarring.
Here are some other common methods that may cause more harm than good for your blackhead problem.
Using Pore Strips
There are many products out there that claim to help you get rid of the blockages in your pores, thus solving your blackhead skin problems. Although these extraction strips are perfectly capable of removing the oxidized black part of a blackhead, they may also remove elements that are good for your skin’s health. These elements include hair follicles and natural oils. What’s more, removing these elements may cause dry skin and irritation.
There’s simply no way a pore strip can “decide” to deal with blackheads without removing the natural oils and hair follicles. These strips simply take it all out. This is why pore strips aren’t a reliable blackhead removal method. They may seem like they’re helping, but in the long-term, they may cause even more issues.
Don’t Use Tools
That’s not to say that professional-grade tools aren’t a legitimate way of removing acne. The point is that you shouldn’t use them unless you’re a dermatologist or qualified skin professional. If used incorrectly, these tools can cause scratches and scars – they can even be worse than trying to squeeze the blackheads out with your fingers.
When used by professionals, however, these tools will remove the clogged blackheads without even so much as scratching your skin.
Don’t Keep Your Hopes Up About Benzoyl Peroxide
You may have heard about the anti-swelling properties of benzoyl peroxide. Well, you haven’t heard wrong – this medication is effective at reducing swelling. Swelling is one of the main aspects of inflammatory acne. So, benzoyl peroxide will work on blackheads, right?
Blackheads aren’t inflammatory acne and, therefore, won’t succumb to benzoyl peroxide. Therefore, if your skin problem includes only blackheads, don’t expect them to go away by using benzoyl peroxide. However, if you have cysts, pustules, and whiteheads, benzoyl peroxide is an excellent solution.
Don’t Use Products That May Clog Your Pores
Although oily skin is the most common cause of clogged pores, some products can work to achieve the same end. Although most men don’t resort to makeup or products that work to achieve the effect of makeup, some do, for instance, actors, newscasters, public personalities, etc.
If you’re using face products, make sure that they’re noncomedogenic. This means that the product doesn’t cause comedones, which is a fancy name for clogged pores.
How to Remove Blackheads Effectively
Now that we’re through with what you should avoid when it comes to your blackhead issue, let’s get down to business. There are a number of methods you adopt to rid your skin of those annoying blackheads. None of which are aggressive and won’t leave you with scars or marks. They will successfully remove those nasty blackheads, restoring smoothness to your face.
1. Charcoal Products
Charcoal is excellent for drawing out dead skin cells, oil, and a variety of other impurities. It’s a natural ingredient that’s extremely porous. This means that it does a great job of absorbing dirt, bacteria, and similar impurities that cause blackheads. Activated charcoal is made by heating charcoal at very high temperatures. It’s also combined with gases with the goal of expanding its surface.
Charcoal masks have been around for a while. You put one on your face, wait a set period of time for the charcoal to remove the impurities from deep within your pores, and then you take the mask off.
Although charcoal masks are great, they don’t let your pores breathe during the process. Charcoal face wash products like Gentle Beast Activated Charcoal Face Wash do an excellent job of blackhead removal. Furthermore, products like this reduce skin irritation, cure whiteheads, heal blemishes, and have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that you can use it for multiple skin acne problems, even if they occur at the same time. It not only helps remove blackheads but also helps in removing pimples quite effectively.
2. Clay Masks
Clay masks work in a similar way to charcoal masks. However, these particularly focus on oily skin. Like charcoal masks, clay masks retrieve oil, dirt, and other pore impurities. And although clay masks will definitely clean up your face, they aren’t as efficient in deep pore removal.
This is why clay masks are best used in combination with charcoal face wash products. They will loosen up and unclog the pores. Then, you can use the activated charcoal face wash to clean up any remaining impurities more efficiently. Don’t overdo it with clay mask application, though – using these products more often than recommended may prove counter-effective in terms of pore clogging.
3. Topical Retinoids
In some cases, whiteheads can appear right alongside blackheads, which causes both acne types to become more stubborn. Whiteheads will further clog your pores, which becomes a breeding ground for more blackheads.
In more stubborn blackhead (and whitehead) cases, you may need to resort to prescription medications such as topical retinoids. These are especially efficient in controlling comedonal acne. However, topical retinoids, also referred to as retinoic acid and vitamin A acid, can irritate the skin in more sensitive cases. They can even lead to redness, swelling, and, in some cases, peeling and blistering.
This is why you should definitely not be your own pharmacist here – in stubborn cases of blackheads, go to your doctor and have them prescribe a course of treatment.
4. Salicylic Acid
Where benzoyl peroxide is good for treating forms of acne other than blackheads, salicylic acid OTC (over-the-counter) products are especially great for these skin impurities. Products that contain this acid will break down dead skin cells and excess oils – materials that cause clogged pores. Face cleansing products that contain salicylic acid will remove these elements, but also oil, daily dirt, and makeup.
Salicylic acid is still acid, though. Meaning that it shouldn’t be used in excess. Start by using it once a day, for instance, at night. Once your skin gets used to the product that contains salicylic acid, you can use it more frequently. However, a lot of people are sensitive to this substance. Discontinue use of these products if your face continues reacting to them.
Exfoliation is a popular method of removing dead skin cells, which does a great job of keeping the pores unclogged and able to breathe. However, you’ve probably heard that exfoliation isn’t great for acne.
In truth, exfoliation doesn’t go hand-in-hand with removing whiteheads. This is because whiteheads are inflammatory, which is apparent by their reddish appearance and the irritation that they cause. Exfoliation can cause irritation to worsen.
However, as we’ve learned, blackheads aren’t inflammatory. They result from clogged pores, with dead skin being one of the culprits. Exfoliation is particularly effective at removing dead cells. Therefore, if you have some blackheads, and only blackheads, go ahead and try exfoliation to solve the problem.
Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs, BHAs) are brilliant for exfoliation. Glycolic acid is the most prominent AHA type. The above-mentioned salicylic acid is the most popular BHA.
6. Use a Skin Brush
Skin brushes may not be as effective as some of the mentioned blackhead removal methods. That said, they complement most of them very well. Still, you should be careful not to overdo it here. Some of the above-mentioned methods may sensitize your skin, making it prone to irritation after use. Don’t use a skin brush immediately after applying one of the other blackhead removal methods. Use a skin brush on the days you don’t use any other method.
7. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are anti-aging procedures that are often frowned upon. However, they’re very efficient at reducing fine lines and age spots, as they contain AHAs. Essentially, a chemical peel will remove the top layer of your skin, allowing the younger skin beneath it to surface. This, of course, helps unclog the pores, which can be very efficient in blackhead removal.
In cases of rough skin with blackheads, performing a chemical peel can be of huge help. However long-lasting as they are, chemical peels don’t come cheap, so keep this in mind, as well.
8. See a Dermatologist
If you have a few blackheads on your face that are really annoying you, most of these methods will help. However, if you have a serious blackhead problem, combined with other acne issues, you shouldn’t experiment with various methods. As you’ve seen above, some of the treatments that work wonders for blackheads can cause more problems with whiteheads and vice-versa.
If you aren’t sure how big your blackhead problem is, go see your dermatologist for blackhead removal advice. The face is a sensitive area of skin and you don’t want to cause unnecessary complications, like potential scarring. So, go see a dermatologist if you’re unsure how big your problem is.
9. Eat Healthy
Our skin’s oiliness and quality are hugely affected by our diets. Look for foods with considerable amounts of vitamins C, E, and A. Vitamin C, in addition to the plethora of other benefits, helps your body produce more collagen. As you probably know, collagen is essential for your skin’s suppleness and elasticity.
Vitamins E and A will help control your skin’s moisture, as well as replenish skin cells. This means less dead skin cells and less oily skin – perfect for blackhead prevention.
Omega 3 oils are internal moisturizers that prevent acne breakouts and spots.
Pomegranates are rich with vitamins C, E, and A. Fish is packed with Vitamin E and Omega 3 oils. Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C, and E.
Cucumbers are rich in vitamins K and C. As such, it’s a great solution that will help prevent blackheads from appearing. It’s also good for other acne types.
Removing Blackheads and Preventing Them from Appearing Ever Again
These methods have showed you what you should and shouldn’t do when removing blackheads. If you’re unsure how to approach blackhead removal or whether you should do it on your own, go to your dermatologist and seek professional advice.
Finally, it’s very important that you eat healthy in order to promote well-moisturized, clear skin. Blackheads are quite a pest, but with proper treatment, they can become a thing of the past.