Blackheads are a mild and extremely popular type of acne that form on the face. Blackheads may form due to clogged hair follicles, or pores that have been clogged with dead skin cells or excess oil. Blackheads have open surfaces unlike whiteheads, which close and form the white tip.
Since blackheads surface remain open, this creates the oxidization that gives their tip the darker color. There are a number of things that can cause a person to suffer from blackheads. For example, overproduction of facial oils, irritation of hair follicles, hormonal changes, and diet have all been linked to the formation of blackheads.
Chances are, most of us will deal with blackheads at some point in our lives, which means that most of us would like to know how to get rid of them. We asked our team of skin scientists to share all of the do’s and donts of getting rid of blackheads, and now we are going to share them all with you!
Do: Use Salicylic Acid. Don’t: Use Benzoyl Peroxide
Salicylic Acid is a very effective ingredient to use when treating blackheads because it breaks down all of the excess oil and dead skin cells that clog pores and cause them to begin with. Try looking for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, as its best to utilize this ingredient in a product that cleanses the skin.
When used in a cleanser, salicylic acid will not only break down the materials that cause clogged pores and blackheads, but it will also remove the skin of impurities that built up throughout the day. Salicylic Acid can tend to dry out the skin a little more than other skincare ingredients, so we recommend pairing it will an ultra-hydrating moisturizer or serum.
We highly recommend pairing it with this Cell Hydrating Serum. This serum is great for properly hydrating the skin and none of its ingredients interfere with Salicylic Acid, so the two are a great duo for getting rid of blackheads without getting rid of moisture.
When searching for ingredients to use to treat blackheads, steer clear of benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient can be beneficial for some types of acne, but it doesn’t do much for blackheads specifically. Benzoyl Peroxide works in ridding of acne by reducing swelling and redness, neither of which are an issue when dealing with blackheads. In the search for products that get rid of blackheads, always opt for Salicylic Acid instead, as it is far more effective.
Do: Exfoliate. Don’t: Use Pore Strips
Gently exfoliating with AHAs or BHAs is a great tactic for reducing the appearance of blackheads. While exfoliating isn’t beneficial for all types of acne (because it can cause further pimple irritation), it works great for blackheads as it gets rid of excess oil and dead surface skin cells.
By exfoliating the skin properly, you will rid of these excess materials that result in clogged pores and the formation of blackheads. If you are looking for a gentle exfoliator that you can use daily, we love this Pineapple and Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser because its gentle enough to use daily.
This cleanser also helps in reducing the marks left behind by prior blackhead breakouts. (A bonus? It smells amazing)! Exfoliating is an all-over skincare plus as it doesn’t just treat blackheads, it helps to rid of wrinkles and age spots too.
While exfoliating is a great tactic for getting rid of blackheads, pore strips are a popular tactic that aren’t so great. It is common for pore strips to be marketed as a tool for removing blackheads, but the unfortunate truth is they do more harm than good.
Yes, pore strips remove junk and excess material from the pores, but they don’t stop there. Strips also remove material that is actually good for our skin because they can’t decipher what is good and what is bad. Pore strips are very harsh and often cause irritation.
When our skin is irritated it does everything it can to protect itself, which usually means producing more oil-and causing more blackheads. When you find yourself about to reach for pore strips to rid of junk in the skin, think twice and purchase a gentle exfoliator that includes AHA’s or BHA’s instead!
Do: Use Noncomedogenic Makeup. Don’t: Sleep in It
Noncomedogenic refers to makeup and other cosmetic products that do not clog pores or cause blackheads. In order to seek out the right products, it’s important to know which ingredients are noncomedogenic and which are comedogenic. A study was done in 1984 that concluded with a list of comedogenic ingredients that are found to clog pores and cause blackheads. Avoid these ingredients if you wish to avoid blackheads and use noncomedogenic products: isopropyl myristate and derivatives, such as:
- isopropyl palmitate
- isopropyl isostearate
- butyl stearate
- isostearyl neopentanoate
- myristyl myristate
- decyl oleate
- octyl stearate
- octyl palmitate
- isocetyl stearate
- propylene glycol-2 (PPG-2) myristyl propionate
- lanolins, especially:
- ethoxylated lanolins
- D & C red dyes
Avoiding these comedogenic ingredients in your cosmetic products will get you on the path to blackhead-free skin, but only if you use them the right way. This means never sleeping in your noncomedogenic makeup. If you leave your makeup on overnight, it will clog your pores and it will cause more blackheads on your skin. Make a promise to your skin right now that you will never sleep in your makeup because your skin deserves to be treated well!
Do: See A Dermatologist For Professional Extraction. Don’t: Extract From Home
Just like we want to avoid pore strips, we want to avoid other tools for extraction unless they are used by a professional dermatologist. While we all want to know how to get rid of blackheads at home, if we want to get them extracted, the best (and safest) place to go about it is the dermatologist. Dermatologists have years of training, so don’t try and use their professional extraction tools at home. Doing so can lead to irritation, wounds, scabs, scars, and you guessed it- more blackheads.