We all know the feeling of waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror, and realizing there’s a new blackhead in the mix. Some women struggle with this acne woe more than others, but almost everyone has experienced it at least once. Luckily, we’re here today with a list of our favorite tips for blackhead removal to save you from those pesky pimples.
First off, let’s talk about what blackheads are. The important thing to realize is that having blackheads doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin is too dirty. A blackhead is just the natural oils of your face combining with your dry skin and clogging up pores. It actually turns black due to a chemical reaction that occurs when the dry skin and oil gets oxidized (which is just a fancy word for “encounters oxygen”). Don’t go scrubbing harder at your face to try to get rid of the blemishes – this can actually make things worse! Instead, try one of these fixes.
General Tips for Blackhead Removal
As with most things, the easiest way to get rid of blackheads is to try to avoid them in the first place. There are a few easy things that you can do to give yourself better luck with this.
- ALWAYS take off your makeup! It’s so easy to get back after a late night and just fall directly into bed, but your skin will thank you if you take the three extra minutes to reach the makeup washed off.
- Wash your face frequently but gently. If you have particularly oily skin, be sure you’re washing your face regularly to keep the oils from building up. Be careful that you’re not scrubbing too hard, though – especially if you have naturally dry skin! You can do more harm than good if you’re irritating your skin while you try to prevent pimples. If you dry your skin out, it will overcompensate by creating more oil, which – you guessed it! – creates more blackheads.
- Don’t overdo it. We’ve all had those SOS moments where you just have to fix this blackhead problem now! Just be sure that you save the harsher solutions for emergencies. If you use them too liberally, you’ll irritate your skin further.
I’m guessing you can see a theme in those last two – don’t irritate your skin more trying to make the situation better! It’s so easy to go too far with your face cleansing routine. Unfortunately, most of these remedies require a bit of patience.
One of the most surprising things I noticed while I was looking into this was that none of the articles I saw mentioned the now-infamous blackhead remover tool. It does work and can be picked up at your local drugstore or ordered from Amazon for under $10. But most dermatologists and DIY experts recommend less dramatic methods for longer lasting results.
Once again, the heavily emphasized point is to be gentle. Your face is one of the most sensitive parts of your body, so you want to be kind to it in your quest for clear skin! Bonus: a lot of these don’t require a prescription. Just pop by your local pharmacy and look for some key ingredients.
- Salicylic Acid. It works by actually dissolving the blackheads away. You can get a daily facial cleanser with salicylic acid as one of the active ingredients, but your best bet is going to be a leave-on gel. The longer the exposure to the acid, the better your luck will be with blackhead removal after. There are a lot of options for these type of products – I’m personally a fan of the Clean & Clear acne products, but I’ve also heard great things about Bioré’s Ice Cleanser.
- Retinoid Treatment. There’s a rumor out there that you can’t (or shouldn’t) use a retinoid treatment if you have sensitive skin. You do need to be a little choosier about your product, but there are low-strength options if you want to give it a try. A lot of people also think that retinoid treatments are for wrinkle removal later in life. Retinoids are good for that, but they’re also great for treating blackheads. I used Proactiv’s three-step treatment (which is retinol-based) in high school and loved it.
- Try a cleansing brush. If your normal routine just isn’t working even with some stronger products, try investing in a cleansing brush to get a deeper clean. As with anything else, though, be gentle.
- Use a mask or pore strips. We all love the satisfaction of pulling a pore strip off and seeing the little blackheads we just successfully removed! Masks and pore strips can be great to clear out your pores on-demand. Guess what the caveat here is, though? Don’t overdo it! Dermatologists recommend using a heavy-hitting mask only once every other week, and pore strips a maximum of twice a week.
If you’re struggling with blackheads or other acne problems, don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Most of them are nice (promise – I’ve seen quite a few!), and they can prescribe something a little stronger than the over-the-counter options.
Home Remedies for Blackhead Removal
Now that we’ve looked into some of the most highly recommended dermatologist options for blackhead removal let’s talk home remedies. As a long-term solution, the above options are going to be your best bet. But if you wake up in the morning having one of those SOS moments, there are some quick fixes that you can whip up with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!
- Egg whites. You’re going to make a DIY mask! Whip up some egg whites and spread them over the affected areas. After ten minutes or so – whenever the mask feels dry and tight – gently rinse the egg off with warm water. It should latch on to the gunk in your pores as it dries and pulls it out when you rinse.
- Lemon-salt scrub. Not nearly as hard on your skin as it sounds, the salt helps to clear out bacteria and the citric acid works to brighten your skin as a bonus! Mix 1 tbsp of sea salt with one tsp of water and ½ tsp of lemon juice. The same principle as the egg whites: apply, let dry and rinse with warm water.
- Honey. This one isn’t quite as much of a guarantee to have on hand since you do need filtered honey. The filtration process eliminates the beeswax in honey, which you want out of there. Beeswax can actually further clog your pores (think of the little pimples you get after a wax), so don’t go dabbing your average grocery store honey on your face. Filtered honey, though, is a great natural solution. Dab a bit onto the blackheads – the stickiness will draw out the gunk within, and honey’s antiseptic properties will help to keep the buildup from coming back so soon.
- Baking soda and water. Create a paste with a 1:1 ratio, and massage it onto your skin, then rinse with lukewarm water after it dries. The baking soda works with your skin’s natural pH to clear out impurities and exfoliate away any dirt that is hanging around.
With all of these home remedies, be sure that you follow up with a face moisturizer. Most of these will dry out your skin, and you don’t want to incentivize your face to produce more oil and re-clog your pores.
There are a few things to remember about blackhead removal. I can’t say this one enough times: be kind to your skin! The nicer you are day-to-day, the nicer your skin will be to you. Take a break from makeup for a few days to let your skin calm down. Wash your face regularly with a cleanser that includes oil-dissolving ingredients. Grab a bottle of tea tree oil and spritz it onto your skin as a natural toner.
Most of all, know yourself and know your skin. Whether you’re extra oily or dry as a bone, there is a blackhead removal solution for you! So which of these are you going to try next time those nasty blackheads rear their ugly heads? Do you have the DIY that you swear by? As always, let us know down in the comments.
Related Article: Top Ten Blackhead Removal Tools for 2018