There are so many amazing things in life, but blackheads are not one of them, in fact, they’re annoying AF. Plus, every time you think you’ve gotten rid of the little sucker, it comes back with more in its place. And because we’re constantly getting asked about how to get rid of blackheads, we thought we’d do a roundup of all the tips, tricks, and hacks as well as our hero products that save the day whenever your blackheads pop up again. The first thing to remember is not to worry about them – literally, everyone has them, and no one really notices them besides yourself – getting rid of them is just for you. So, here’s everything you need to know…
What causes blackheads?
A blackhead is a pore that’s blocked with oil, dead skin, and debris – ew! This blocks the pore and prevents the gland from secreting the debris, which then causes the wax plug to be pushed toward the surface of the skin. This then oxidizes causing the contents of the pore to turn black – et voila, you have a blackhead!
But sometimes, what looks like a blackhead is, in fact, a tiny hair or sebaceous filament, which are a combination of sebum and skin cells. So be careful, because that one ‘blackhead’ you’ve been trying to squeeze all week could be a hair. This is why you should avoid squeezing your blackheads (we know it’s tempting) as you’ll only bruise the skin, and it could even trigger a breakout.
How to get rid of them.
Use blackhead-busting ingredients:
When it comes to getting rid of blackheads, these skin saviors will kick ass:
Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is your secret weapon when it comes to the keeping blackheads at bay. It’s super effective as it’s able to penetrate deep into the skin, dissolving the ‘glue’ that binds the debris together, and exfoliating the inside walls of your pores. We love The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, $9, as it’s amazing for unclogging pores and removing impurities, although make sure you only use it twice a week (max) as it’s super potent. You can also just apply it to the areas that are most blackhead-prone, like your nose, chin, and forehead.
Retinol: We know the prospect of using a retinol may seem a bit much, but many of the best skin specialist’s we’ve spoken to suggest incorporating a retinol-based cream into your regime from your 20s. If you’re not familiar with retinol, it’s a vitamin A derivative that boosts skin cell renewal. Retinol thickens the deeper layer of your skin and helps decrease oil production, which helps tighten pores and keep blackheads at bay. If you’re concerned about using a retinoid, there are some great low-strength retinols like the Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream, $85, or you can try The Inkey List’s 1% Retinol Serum, $13, which is perfect, if like us, you’re tackling blackheads on a budget! Read more about why retinol is amazing here.
Clay: Clay is an amazing purifying and extracting ingredient, which makes a clay mask ideal for combatting and preventing blackheads. Clay will extract oil and purify pores, while gently exfoliating the skin. We’re obsessed with the L’Oreal Clay masks; they have different masks to cater to different skin concerns, but with all of them, you can literally see the oil being extracted from your skin – totally gross but also super satisfying (read our full review here.)
Tools and DIYs
Use a cleansing brush: If you’re prone to getting blackheads, you could consider getting a cleansing brush. This will intensify your cleansing routine, and help remove any dead skin, oil or debris from your pores. If you’re prepared to make the investment, the Clarisonic Mia Prima Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush, $99, is amazing, but if you’re on a budget, Miniso do a great cleansing brush for a fraction of the cost – $17!!! Although if you have sensitive skin, limit yourself to using the brush just twice a week, and don’t use too much pressure.
Steam: A gentle steam can do amazing things for your skin. Most importantly it’ll hydrate your skin and open your pores so they’re more receptive to other topical products that you apply. We like to do a quick steam and then apply The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, $9. We then finish it off by applying hyaluronic acid (our fav is Yeouth’s Pure Hyaluronic Acid, $15), to maximize hydration without blocking pores. Check out why facial steaming is amazing here.
Silk Cocoons: Silk cocoons are a super easy way to exfoliate your skin, leaving your skin feeling soft but more importantly free of dirt, oil, and bacteria! They feel like cardboard when dry, but the silk balls contain sericin, a protein that is hailed for having anti-aging properties as well as great exfoliation power. All you do is run the ball underneath some warm water or soak it for a couple of minutes to soften it, then pop it on your finger, and using small circular motions, gently pass it over your skin. Do it twice a week to keep blackheads at bay. You can buy a pack of them here, $8.
Bioré Limited-Edition Deep Cleansing Pore Strips: These pore cleansing strips help extract any dirt or oil clogging your pores by extracting them. You can get them on Amazon here, $5.
Let us know if there are any other skin issues you need help with, in the comments below.