Blackheads are one of the most common forms of acne – in fact, nearly everyone will experience blackheads throughout their lifetime. Although people with oily skins are more prone to get blackheads, pretty much anyone can get them. They are caused by your pores getting clogged up from both dead skin cells and excess oil, also known as sebum, from the sebaceous glands in your skin. Unlike whiteheads which have a layer of skin on top of them, blackheads are open and exposed to the surrounding environment and therefore oxidize and turn darker.
While it may be tempting to simply pinch and pop your blackheads out, this can lead to scarring. In fact, plenty of techniques claim to get rid of blackheads, but many are harmful to your sensitive facial skin. That’s why we did the background research for you and identified the top tips and tricks you can use to get rid of those pesky blackheads, as well as prevent them in the first place!
First, let’s take a look at how to get rid of the blackheads you already have.
#1: Exfoliate with alpha and beta hydroxy acids
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, or AHAs and BHAs, are gentle compounds that help remove the top layer of your skin and can therefore get rid of blackheads. Some examples of them are glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Look for exfoliating products that contain these compounds and use them at least once a week to cleanse your pores.
#2: Going for regular facials
Facials are a great way to maintain your skin’s health in general. Experienced aestheticians have professional-grade tools to remove clogged blackheads without scratching the delicate skin on your face. Do not attempt to use these tools by yourself, you may permanently scar your skin without the proper training. Check the facials price comparison tool in Hong Kong to findthe facial that fits your needs best in Hong Kong.
#3: Exfoliate with a skin brush
If you have particularly sensitive skin that reacts even to hydroxy acids, you may consider a skin brush to exfoliate. All you need to do is gently rub your skin with it in small circles while you’re in the shower. It will loosen your blackheads and help get rid of that top layer of dead skin cells. Use it once a week for maximum benefits.
#4: Apply topical retinoids
Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A and refer to a huge family of compounds that differ in strength. You can purchase some OTC, but the stronger types typically come with a prescription. While they are typically used for their anti-aging benefits, they are great at unclogging pores and thereby removing blackheads. They will help improve the effectiveness of your other skincare products by allowing them to enter your skin more easily.
#5: Use clay or charcoal masks
Both clay and charcoal masks are excellent at retrieving dirt, oil and other such elements that cause blackheads and acne. If you opt for a clay mask, look for one that contains sulfur as this ingredient helps break down the dead skin cells that contribute towards blackheads. Charcoal masks, on the other hand, have charcoal as their active and powerful ingredient to draw out all the impurities in your skin deep inside your pores. You should use either of these masks once a week to reap maximum benefits.
Now let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent future blackheads from cropping up.
#1: Getting a chemical peel
Typically used to give your skin a more fresh, youthful experience, chemical peels work by removing the top layer of your skin and thereby reducing age spots, fine lines, and conferring general anti-aging benefits. But they can also help prevent blackheads as they remove dead skin cells and help shrink your pores.
#2: Use noncomedogenic products
Noncomedogenic products won’t cause clogged comedones, i.e. clogged pores. Aim to use noncomedogenic skincare products and makeup to prevent blackheads from occurring in the first place. Read the labels of your products carefully to identify noncomedogenic products. However, there are noncomedogenic counterparts for pretty much every type of skin product out there.
#3: Cleanse your face each morning and before you sleep each night
Thoroughly cleanse your face each morning when you wake up and each night before you go to bed to ensure you remove the buildup of oils and dirt on your skin as these contribute towards clogged pores. Be sure you remove all your makeup before you sleep too, as sleeping with makeup on is certain to clog your pores and cause more blackheads to crop up. In addition, this will also help you keep a healthy face despite wearing a facial mask most of the days.
#4: Moisturize your skin after washing it
Many people often forget to moisturize their skin; however, it is an incredibly important step of your skincare routine. Look for moisturizers specific to your skin type, and use them after you wash your face to help restore your skin’s natural protective barrier. This will help reduce clogged pores by preventing outside dirt from entering your skin and causing blackheads.
#5: Stay away from pore strips
Although pore strips do pull blackheads out of your skin, they leave your pores wide open and therefore susceptible to future, and maybe even greater, buildups of dead skin, dirt and oils. Additionally, they remove all the natural oils that help keep your skin soft and hydrated, which will likely lead to your sebaceous glands producing more sebum to compensate. In the long run, this leads to even more blackheads!
While blackheads certainly are an annoying problem, they are a universal one, and there’s plenty of ways to handle them. Most importantly, follow a good skincare routine and incorporate sporadically the tips and tricks listed above. Not only will this help remove and prevent blackheads, but it will keep your skin healthy overall.
Read More: Five Facts on Blackheads.