5 Ways To Remove Blackheads From Your Face At Home

5 Ways To Remove Blackheads From Your Face At Home

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Even people with relatively clear skin can find themselves spending hours squeezing blackheads in the mirror. If this is you, PLEASE keep reading. And no, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t try to pop them because by now you already know. But they may not even be blackheads at all. Let’s get into what blackheads are, what causes them, what happens if you don’t treat them and of course the best treatments to remove blackheads!

how to treat blackheads

What Are Blackheads And What Causes Blackheads On Your Face?

We can’t talk about blackheads without talking about sebaceous filaments. It is actually very common to mistake your sebaceous filaments for blackheads. And squeezing them out can have negative effects like reducing skin elasticity and ultimately increasing the appearance of pores. So what’s the difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads?

Sebaceous Filaments vs. Blackheads

Fortunately, sebaceous filaments and blackheads have subtle visual differences. If you look closely, you’ll be able to “diagnose” yours at home and customize your skincare routine accordingly.

What are Sebaceous Filaments?

Your skin has two separate types of pores: your sweat pores and your oil pores. Your oil pores are responsible for keeping your skin hydrated by evenly distributing your sebum (natural oils) across your skin. The sebaceous gland opens to your hair follicle and the oil travels beside it in a “tunnel” to the surface of your skin and evenly distributes oil. If your “oil tunnel” fills up with more oil than normal and dead skin, it creates a visible sebaceous filament. Sebaceous filaments are evenly spaced, flat to touch and a yellowish/light-grey color.

Common Locations of Sebaceous Filaments
Since sebaceous filaments go hand in hand with oily skin and larger pores, they’re more prominent on the nose and forehead, aka your t-zone.

how to get rid of blackheads

What are Blackheads? 

Blackheads are a type of acne that also forms in your oil pores. When your pore becomes clogged with oil, dead skin, and bacteria it creates acne. Whiteheads happen when the pore stays closed, blackheads appear black because the pore has opened and the gunk inside has oxidized, turning it black. Unlike sebaceous filaments, blackheads are not as evenly spaced, they’re visibly raised, and they’re black (obviously).

Common Locations of Blackheads 
Blackheads are often seen in the t-zone, like sebaceous filaments, but it’s also common to find them on your chin, back, chest and neck.

What Causes Blackheads?

The causes of blackheads are the same as other types of acne. The most common causes are:

Oily Skin—if your skin type is naturally oily, you’re going to have to be more vigilant about your skincare to keep breakouts and blackheads at bay.

Bacteria—Everyone’s skin has bacteria on it. I know it sounds gross, but it’s true. You even want some of the good bacteria to help balance things out! Things can start to go awry though if your bacteria levels become unbalanced and you have too much Propionibacterium acnes—one of the bad guys linked to acne.

how to minimize pores

Dead Skin Build Up—If your skin isn’t properly shedding dead skin, it’s more likely to clog your pores and create acne. Yuck!

Hormones—We all know our hormones can cause all sorts of pesky symptoms including weight fluctuations, fatigue, as well as acne!

Diet—Some studies have shown that there’s a link between high-glycemic-index diets and high-dairy diets and acne.

What Happens If You Don't Get Rid Of Blackheads As Soon As Possible 

It’s important to eliminate your blackheads ASAP so they don’t lead to something worse. Untreated blackheads can lead to:

More Acne—leaving your bacteria, oil and dead skin cells unchecked are just a recipe for even more acne. If you don’t treat the root causes of your acne immediately, it can lead to chronic and more severe acne.

Scarring – Leaving prolonged acne untreated can ultimately lead to scarring which can sometimes be quite severe. We’ve all seen it, the deep divots which can be SO expensive to try to treat and remove.

Serious Disease—A 2015 study also notes that acne is “a chronic inflammatory disease.” Dr. Robert H. Shmerling with Harvard Medical School shares that “chronic inflammation has been tied to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.”

How To Treat And Prevent Blackheads? 

You’re obviously on board for getting rid of your blackheads from your nose and anywhere else they might be lingering, but what are the most effective ways to say goodbye to blackheads forever? Below we’ve outlined the five best ways to modify your skin care routine for blackheads, including some of the best products for clogged pores and blackheads.

1. Use Non-Comedogenic Products 

Non-comedogenic products are a must for acne-prone, blackhead-prone skin! Non-comedogenic means your products won’t clog your pores and trap bacteria and dead skin cells, causing blackheads and other acne. Keep an eye out though!

ultra moisture cream

Non-comedogenic is not a term regulated by the FDA, so companies don’t actually have to prove that their products won’t clog your pores. You’ll want to keep an eye out for ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, witch hazel and niacinamide. These are all great for treating blackheads and won’t clog your pores!

2. Use A Cleanser With Salicylic Acid 

If you want to clean the blackheads on your nose, or treat any other type of acne, washing your face twice a day with a Salicylic Acid cleanser is a must! Salicylic acid is a BHA which removes dead skin cells and cleanses away dirt and bacteria—two of the biggest causes of blackheads and acne.

A 2012 study, showed that use of Salicylic Acid over six weeks significantly improved acne as well as acne scars! If you have sensitive skin, you might need to work up to using your salicylic acid cleanser daily. Start with three days a week and work your way up from there!

3. Add A Retinoid To Your Skincare Routine 

Retinoid is a big umbrella for a range of skincare products that come from Vitamin A. You may have heard of retinol, tretinoin, retin-A, tazarotene, adapalene, retinAl—a lot, we know! These are all forms of retinoids. All of them are AH-MAZING for your skin and tackling your blackheads.

Retinoids help with cell turnover, removing dead skin cells, reducing oil production, unclogging pores, and improving collagen production. Basically, you NEED this in your skincare line up! So what’s the difference between all the different types of retinoids?

Skincare products for blackheads

Without getting too geeky, tretinoin is the most effective and starts working immediately, BUT it’s also the most difficult for skin to tolerate. RetinAl still packs all the incredible benefits, but it’s much gentler and tolerable. Just like Salicylic Acid, you will probably have to work up to using a retinoid daily, and you may never be able to use it daily—and that’s okay! Even using it three times a week will drastically improve the condition of your skin and help get rid of blackheads and prevent them.

You’ll want to use your retinoid at night because it can make your skin sensitive to sunlight. You might also want to add a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate to help your skin tolerate your retinoid. It’s normal to experience redness, itchiness and flakiness when starting a retinoid. Mine last for about six weeks, but I’m so glad I pushed through!

4. Use Sunscreen 

Daily SPF is an absolute staple in a skin care routine for blackheads. UVA and UVB rays can cause a lot of damage to your skin barrier, and a weak skin barrier leaves you more likely to form more blackheads and even other types of acne. The sun can also dry your skin.

To counter this, your skin produces more oils, and excess oil is one of the major causes of blackheads and acne. To prevent further blackheads, but sure to use a minimum of SPF 30 every day. And no, make up with SPF doesn’t count!

5. Use A Mask To Absorb Excess Oil 

Another great product to remove blackheads is a clay mask. Using a clay mask once or twice a week can help to control excess oil and unclog your pores—can you say bye-bye blackheads? You’ll want to use a bentonite clay and don’t let your mask dry all the way! *gasp* We know, we’ve been doing it wrong, too.

best products for clogged pores and blackheads

No matter what your skin type, or what the info on the back of the bottle says, Shani Hillian, a New York-based holistic esthetician, says that you want to rinse off your mask before it dries fully. Otherwise, you run the risk of drying your skin out and triggering the vicious oil production all over again! Apply a thick layer all over your face, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. You can continue masking, even once your blackheads subside, as a preventative treatment.