How to Actually Banish Blackheads
Blackheads are a frustrating yet extremely common issue.
According to dermatologists, blackheads are essentially non-inflamed clogged pores known as open comedones. When pores get clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and gunk, the exposure to air causes them to oxidize and turn black. Hence, the name "blackhead."
Despite their unpleasant color, blackheads have nothing to do with dirt. Anyone can get them. However, those with oily skin and acne-prone skin are more likely to experience blackheads since these skin types have a higher potential for clogged pores.
Want to get rid of blackheads for good? Here's how to treat blackheads and prevent them from coming back!
#1: Wash Your Face Daily with a Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Daily cleansing goes a long way to help prevent dirt and oil buildup in your pores. Washing your face is a fundamental step in your skincare routine to help remove excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that accumulate in your pores and lead to blackheads.
Choose a face wash formulated with salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates the cells from the surface of the skins and removes pore-clogging sebum.
Wash your face at least once every day using this chemical exfoliant to dissolve dead skin and remove impurities, which will help treat and prevent stubborn blackheads. If you have sensitive skin, avoid washing your face more than once a day. Those with oilier skin may be able to wash their face twice a day, but for the majority of people, once daily is enough.
#2: Apply Pore Strips
Pore strips are a quick fix for freshly formed blackheads. While they can be kind of aggressive, pore strips can be effective for getting rid of blackheads quickly. However, they only really work for blackheads that haven't been hanging around for long. If they've been in your pores for a while, you'll need to try other blackhead removal methods.
#3: Try a Retinol Cream
Retinol (or vitamin A) isn't just an anti-aging elixir. It can also clear blemishes thanks to its ability to speed up cell turnover.
"Retinoids can help treat blackheads and clogged pores by reducing the stickiness of the cells that clog pores, as well as speeding up the rate at which the skin turns over and regenerates," says Shari Marchbein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University .
You'll find topical retinoids in the form of cleansers, toners, serums, lotions, and moisturizers. Just remember to gradually introduce them into your skincare regimen to allow your skin to adjust and prevent skin irritation.
#4: Exfoliate Away Oil
Gentle exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid are excellent at breaking down dead skin and oil clogging the pores. These alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be removed easily and without aggravating the skin.
Try Rainbow's Glow Bundle, which includes a face mask and serum formulated with glycolic acid and bakuchiol. These ingredients work in tandem to buff away dead skin, control oil production, and protect skin from environmental aggressors.
#5: Don't Forget to Moisturize
Moisturizing is still an important step in any skincare routine -- even if you're dealing with blackheads and whiteheads.
All of these blackhead treatments may strip oils from the skin and be drying. It's essential to maintain the right balance in the skin, and that's something moisturizing can help with.
Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer, and apply after washing your face to retain moisture in the skin. Rainbow's Hydrate Bundle is a perfect choice. This face mask + serum uses a nourishing blend of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to visibly plump and hydrate your complexion.
#6: Wear a Daily Oil-Free Sunscreen
Wearing a daily sunscreen is a crucial part of your daily skin-care routine because it can help prevent premature signs of aging and even skin cancer.
Wear a daily sunscreen or SPF moisturizer every day to keep your skin protected from UV rays and pollution. If you have acne-prone skin, make sure you use an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen so it won't clog your pores.
For maximum protection, re-apply sunscreen once every couple of hours if you are continually outside. This will keep your skin protected and healthy.
#7: Leave Extractions to a Professional
While you can buy blackhead extractors which you can use from home, it's best to avoid popping pimples and blackheads at home. Leave the extractions to a professional dermatologist. If you do the extraction incorrectly, you could end up making things worse.
Consult a dermatologist or esthetician. They will use a small tool such as an extractor to remove the dirt and oil from pores without damaging the skin or enlarging the pore. It should be done every four to six weeks to keep the skin blackhead-free.
#8: Spot Treat
Acne treatments are known for being drying. Instead of using your breakout-banishing formulas on your entire face, use a spot treatment on your problem areas (i.e. nose and chin).
In addition to sparing you from irritation and dry skin, you'll be able to withstand more concentrated skincare products on that smaller surface area. What's more, spot treating with a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide-based product will stop you from picking at your skin -- which will only lead to further breakouts and hyperpigmentation.
Ask your dermatologist to recommend an over-the-counter treatment for your type of acne so you can best address your skin concerns.
Blackheads are just an unfortunate part of having skin. Luckily, you have options. You don't need to put up with blackheads your whole life if you don't want to. Instead, adopt a solid daily skincare routine using the tips above -- and stick to it! Within a few weeks, you should start seeing fewer blackheads and a clearer complexion.
If you can't seem to get rid of your blackheads, consider booking an in-office chemical peel or microdermabrasion which exfoliates away the top layer of skin, revealing a smoother, clearer, blackhead-free complexion.