Published: January 31, 2022
Also called comedones, blackheads are another form of clogged pore on the body that appears black or dark in nature. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads are open pores that turn black due to oxidation of the melanin of dead skin cells that clog the pore.
Blackheads affect everyone at some point in their lifetime and completely eliminating them altogether is near impossible. One key thing to remember is not to force blackhead removal but instead, introduce healthy skin care practices that align with your skin type. However, you can implement skin care products and practices that help you get pretty close to perfect.
"Keeping pores clear is easier if the skin is well exfoliated and well hydrated. Exfoliating the skin is a common first step to clearing out the pores and is effective because it lessens the potential for pore blockage while preventing bacterial growth. Hydration also works in two ways- first by keeping oil production more consistent, which could reduce clogging, and secondly by helping to keep impacted pores softer, making potential removal safer." - Christine Lee,
Board Certified Esthetician and [ comfort zone ] Master Educator
Blackheads are typically more common for those living in humid environments, those with oily skin, or for people who use oil-based skincare products or sunscreens. Often, they are unavoidable. However, starting your skincare routine with a product designed to slough off dead skin cells and whisk away additional oils is a huge help in reducing blackheads.
Alpha-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid and glycolic acid have smaller molecule sizes than other skincare washes, thus allowing them to penetrate into pores, lift dirt, dead skin, and sebum out, then ferry it away. They can easily be used in conjunction with other cleansers for an effective double-cleansing routine.
Since blackheads are the oxidation of dead skin cells, an exfoliator is crucial for your skincare tool kit. Choose a gentle scrub with natural ingredients that doesn’t scrape or cut the sensitive skin on the face. Harsh exfoliants can irritate the skin more, causing an increase in sebum production and starting the cycle of blackhead formation all over again. Meanwhile, exfoliants that use softer ingredients help the skin tremendously by lifting off excess sebum and dead skin so it doesn’t fall into open pores.
Retinol, tretinoin, and other topical retinoids can be extremely helpful in minimizing blackheads because they speed up cell turnover rate and reduce sebum production. After cleansing, apply a topical retinoid in the form of a booster, serum, or cream.
Since blackheads are often caused by sebum, drying out this sebum is key in solving the blackhead dilemma. Clay is great for blackheads because of its drying properties. It sucks up excess moisture from the skin and out of pores, taking dirt and grime with it
Regular facials can greatly improve the skin’s look and feel. Specific treatments that target blackheads and incorporate exfoliation techniques can be instrumental in achieving all your skin care goals. An oxygen facial or a chemical peel helps remove dead layers of skin to reveal a fresh face underneath. Use our spa locator to find an experienced, knowledgeable esthetician near you.
Washing your face each morning and night is a huge power play in removing blackheads and minimizing the risk of their return. Washing with a gentle cleanser and using a micellar water makeup remover limits the amount of gunk that can fall into your pores each night, getting trapped and causing the unsightly blackheads.
Stop using pore strips and other at-home extraction methods. These methods should be handled by a professional, lest they cause further damage to the delicate facial skin. Pore strips can wound the skin, leaving it vulnerable and causing it to produce more sebum as a way to heal itself. This inherently can promote pimples and ramp up oil production. Additionally, picking or popping actually drives dirt and grime further into the skin. If you are really concerned about blackheads, visit a dermatologist for professional extraction.
A quick internet search will pull up countless home remedies that work to treat stubborn blackheads. While some should be avoided - we’re looking at you coconut oil facemask - some can be beneficial.
For dry skin, introduce an aloe rub after a long day outside. Keeping the skin soothed while reducing inflammation can promote its self-healing properties. When skin is irritated, it can speed up sebum production and slough off additional dead skin. Applying fresh, organic aloe to a clean face can promote moisture while introducing necessary antioxidants to the skin’s delicate microbiome.
Before touching your face, make sure to wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. This simple switch can keep skin free of unwanted bacteria, dirt, and grime.
Make your own face mask with lemon juice and egg-whites. These ingredients help dry out the skin while adding a brightening effect. This treatment may be beneficial for those struggling with various types of acne as well.
Choosing high quality products that don’t clog pores is the first step in banishing blackheads. You certainly don’t want to add to the problem with comedogenic skin care products. [comfort zone ] products work with the skin to create a natural, healthy environment that can protect and heal itself. With a little bit of help from our natural cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, your skin will be glowing, radiant, and free from blackheads in no time.
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