Nuking blackheads – it’s so satisfying!
There’s something about them that just shouts, “squeeze me!”.
And let’s face it, no one wants tiny black dots across their T-zone.
So join me, as I guide you through my blackhead-banishing tips.
Having blackheads is not a sign your skin is dirty; it’s just a pore that is clogged.
When oil solidifies, it forms a hard mass of fatty materials and dead skin cells. Because the pore is open, exposure to the air causes them to oxidise and turn black.
The good news: blackheads rarely become pimples, because when oxygen penetrates the pore, it banishes those bothersome bacteria once and for all.
Know Your Nemesis
It’s important to know exactly where blackheads come from, so you can treat them effectively.
- They can be genetic
- Sticky skin cells can get stuck in the pores
- Skin can produce too much oil, which doesn’t exit the pore correctly
- Skincare products containing comedogenic ingredients can clog the pores
- Skin needs to stay clean, so passing out at night with makeup on is bad news
So think patience and persistence, when considering how to get rid of blackheads.
Remember that these blockages have accumulated deep within the pore, over a long period of time.
How To Get Rid Of Blackheads
Do the Rock and Roll
- Cleanse and tone
- Prepare the skin with steam or a warm wet cloth for 2-3 minutes and pat dry
- Wrap the tissue around your index fingers to prevent infection
- Take a small area of your skin, push down, and gently roll the surface in with your fingers
- Continue to use a squeezing rolling motion
Repeat this process only once – never pinch, poke, or squeeze too hard.
The Three P’s of Removal
- Pore purging
This is what your ingredients should be.
Ideally, the aim with your products is to help restore the flow of oil out of the pore, reduce and absorb excess oil, and remove dead, built-up surface skin cells that aren’t shedding normally.
Here’s what you can do to reduce and hopefully eliminate those blackheads once and for all.
Salicylic acid: This is my go-to spot ingredient in the clinic. It’s oil-soluble, so it actively penetrates into clogged pores, dissolving trapped oil. The highest over-the-counter concentration is 2%, but be mindful of your skin’s sensitivity; you may want to vary your concentrations until you find a strength that works.
Retinoids: These active ingredients help to regulate cellular turnover, preventing dead skin cells from sticking together in the pores.
Masks: Charcoal salicylic acid and clay face masks are all great pore-purging alternatives that help to flush out the pore.
Ingredients to Avoid
When it comes to knowing how to get rid of blackheads, there are certain ingredients you should avoid.
Benzoyl Peroxide: It will nuke your zits, but unlike salicylic acid, it won’t exfoliate and unclog your pores. Benzoyl is a bactericide that kills P. acnes bacteria, but air kills anaerobic bacteria so it’s not effective.
Hydrogen Peroxide: This ingredient has zero effect on blackheads. If you use too much, it is actually toxic to collagen in skin cells.
Harsh exfoliants: A word of warning to those keen to know how to get rid of blackheads: you CAN NOT scrub them away. The debris is too deep-rooted within the pore, plus the irritation of scrubbing can cause more oil production.
Ditch the DIY tips: There really is no such thing as the barefoot beauty of blackheads, there are better ways to get rid of them than with a DIY approach.
Occlusive products: These include petrolatum, silicone, and heavy-duty ingredients that are often used in formulas to create a moisture barrier. But sealing in moisture traps dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria, which will cause more blackheads.
Blackhead extractor: This is a tool which helps extract blackheads without having to use your fingers, but the problem is, they can be harsh on delicate skin and cause tiny micro-tears.
Astringent products: Many astringent products claim to address blackheads, but in actual fact they increase oil production and make matters worse.
Irritating ingredients: These include peppermint, menthol, lime, lemon and eucalyptus. Any topical irritation stimulates nerve endings in the skin, which releases hormones that cause oil production, which leads to more blackheads.
Pore Strips: These sticky suckers are not strong enough to pull out blackheads; however they will help to prevent blocked pores.
Microdermabrasion: Whilst this is a deeper exfoliation, it won’t reach the root of the problem, because the pore is too deeply impacted.
So as you can see, when it comes to knowing how to get rid of blackheads, its all about using very specific treatments and ingredients that will flush the debris out of the pore.
Whilst also remembering that your skin is very delicate, so the fewer traumas you use on your skin, the better.