Blackheads are a common and almost unavoidable consequence of, well… having pores. These pesky little dots form when dead skin cells and oils get lodged into pores, and if the top of the pore remains open, these oils then oxidize and take on a darker colour.
Having blackheads does not mean that there is dirt trapped in your pores or that you have poor hygiene, and is more a consequence of your facial oil production. But, just because everyone has them, doesn’t mean you don’t want to do something about them!
Read on to discover 7 potential ways to help clear up blackheads.
Salicylic acid is a mild acid that is found commonly in over the counter acne treatments. This gentle acid works by helping clean out pores as well as playing a part in preventing the re-clogging of pores again over time if used regularly. Some people can use this ingredient regularly to help keep blackheads at bay, but for those with dry skin salicylic acid may be too drying for regular use.
Retinoids are a dermatology world darling, and they are derivatives of Vitamin A. Weaker retinoids can be found in over the counter products, but the stronger ones like Tretinoin are prescription only. Retinoids work their blackhead busting magic by helping increase the turnover speed of the top layers of the skin – the same layers that those blackheads lodge themselves into. Some people avoid retinoids due to their potential initial acclimating effects of redness, peeling, stinging, or dryness, but for some, the initial irritation is worth it for the skin benefits they see past that point.
Deep Cleansing Facial Brushes
Those spinning deep cleansing brushes like Clarisonic may help you get deeper into pores when you are washing your face and help slough away those blackheads. Some may find these brushes to be too intense for everyday use due to the moderate mechanical exfoliation they provide, but 1-2 times weekly should be pretty well tolerated by most. Pair these deep cleansing sessions with your favorite gentle cleanser for a truly pore-scrubbing experience.
Getting A Facial
As far as extractions go, if you need one, getting those blackheads professionally extracted is the way to go. Estheticians know the ins and outs of preparing and softening the skin for easy, painless, and non-damaging blackhead extractions.
So, if your blackhead situation is severe, scheduling a facial every few months could be the key to maintaining a flawless complexion. Picking and squeezing at blackheads on your own could be a recipe for scarring, bacteria spread, and worsening blackheads.
Spironolactone is a prescription medication that is taken by mouth to help clear up severe and persistent acne. This medication is for women only and works by helping block excess androgens in the body which contributes to oil overproduction on the face. If you have a feeling that your blackheads and acne situation have a strong hormonal component, it may be worthwhile to speak with your doctor about spironolactone therapy.
While antibiotic creams are not always the first-line therapy for those with blackheads and acne, they are sometimes used for severe or persistent cases. Pores can also get clogged when you have an excessive amount of certain bacteria in your face, so helping keep those bacteria levels normal may help keep those pores clearer. Antibiotic creams for the face are prescription-only, so you will need to speak with a doctor to see if they are a good route for you.
When you can see those little blackheads peaking through your pores, what you are actually looking through is the pore opening itself. Pores tend to enlarge when the skin is dry or dehydrated and make those blackheads more obvious. Invest in a gentle oil-free moisturizer to use religiously at least twice daily to help keep those pores hydrated, tiny, and happy.