The Ultimate Guide to Blackhead Removal: Real Solutions That Work
You wake up and have a shower. After stepping out, you comb your hair and wipe the mirror free of steam, only to see that your nose is covered in blackheads. You take a closer look and notice there’s a large one on your forehead and a few starting to appear on your shoulders. Ugh. It’s the worst feeling! They seem to crop up overnight and some of them are impossible to pop. If this sounds like you, you need to learn the basics of blackhead removal, and fast!
With some knowledge and basic products, some of which you’ll find in your kitchen, you’ll be on your way to a blackhead free life. Are you ready to get started? This post covers everything you need to know about removing blackheads. First, you’ll learn what they are and how they form. Then, we’ll get into the nitty gritty: how to prevent blackheads and remove them when they rear their ugly heads. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be an expert on blackheads and getting rid of them. Here we go:
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads. These unwelcome guests visiting your skin are just a type of pimple that have a black top, making them quite conspicuous. The technical term for these hateful blemishes is comedo. This term actually refers to both blackheads and whiteheads. You’re probably familiar with them both.
But, what makes a blackhead? And why is it black?
Blackheads are skin pores that get clogged with excess sebum, which is an oily secretion that our skin produces to stay hydrated and smooth. Technically, what we think of as pores are actually hair follicles. You have these all over your body, even on your face, although the hair on the face is usually fine and nearly invisible. Unfortunately, sebum can be overproduced, especially in certain key areas, and cause your skin pores or hair follicles to clog. When the excess sebum gets stuck in your follicles near the surface, your skin no longer covers it. As a result, it comes in contact with air and oxidizes, causing it to darken in color. Blackheads can range from dark yellow to black in color (1). Often, dead skin cells also accumulate on the tip of the blackhead, making it larger. (2)
Thankfully, blackheads and whiteheads are among the least serious kinds of pimples. If all you have are some blackheads on your face, you should be able to reduce their appearance with the information in this guide. Other kinds of pimples such as papules, pustules, nodules and cysts are more serious and will require the assistance of a dermatologist.
Blackheads on Nose, Forehead and Back: Why are they invading your body?
For many people, blackheads seem to congregate in certain zones and areas of the body, especially the face. The reality is that blackheads can form on nearly any part of the body such as: the back, chest, neck, arms and shoulders (3). But do remember, blackheads are associated with excessive oil production, so it also depends on what type of skin you have.
Dermatologists agree that many people have what’s called “combination skin” meaning that part of your facial skin is dry, and the T-zone which includes the forehead and nose, down to your chin, is oily. If you have trouble with blackheads accumulating only around your nose and chin, you may have combination skin. However, if you have blackheads that seem to appear anywhere and everywhere, you may have oily skin. (4)
If you happen to have combination or oily skin, then you need to make sure that you keep your skin clean and free of oils as much as possible. These are present in lotions, make-up and more, so check them! Make sure your skin products have an “oil-free” label so that you don’t add on more oil, causing more clogs.
How to Prevent Blackheads and Keep them from Getting Worse!
There’s good news! Before you even get to the stage of purchasing blackhead removers and planning blackhead removal routines, there are some things you can do to avoid getting them in the first place. There are also some things you can do to ensure that you don’t make things worse for the blackheads you might already have. These measures are good for your skin care in general. What do you need to know?
- Avoid popping blackheads with your fingers. While blackheads don’t usually get infected, if you try to pop them and are constantly touching your face with your fingers, you might end up with an infection. Our hands and fingers are covered in bacteria and dirt that can affect the health of our facial skin. Try to resist the urge to pop your blackheads with your finger! You will just make it worse. Also, try to get out of the habit of touching your face or resting your face on your hands. This will also help avoid infections.
- Use gentle cleansers regularly. In can be tempting to use strong exfoliants and cleansers on your face. However, scrubbing your face with rough cleansers and clothes can shred your skin and make your blackheads worse! It’s a good idea to continue washing your face to remove excess oil, but only use mild cleansers and limit yourself to twice a day: once in the morning and once before bed. You should also wash after sweating. If you exercise or break a sweat, this can make it easier for your pores to clog. Washing helps reduce the risk of clogging and forming more blackheads.
- Continue to moisturize. If you have blackheads or oily skin, you may think you should stop using moisturizers. You’re on the right track, because some moisturizers can be full of oil. But, if you use the right non-comedogenic, oil-free types of moisturizers, it will actually help your skin. How? Your skin produces more oil when it is too dry. You can help keep your skin hydrated by using a moisturizer and stop your oil secretion glands from producing too much oil, which helps limit blackhead formation. It’s especially important to use a moisturizer if you decide to use certain medicated products that tend to dry out your skin.
- Wash your pillow cases regularly. What does your pillow have to do with blackhead removal? Your pillowcase accumulates dead skin cells while you sleep. Gross, right? But it’s just the normal way our skin works. To avoid clogging your pores with these lost skin cells, wash your pillowcase regularly. Once a week is a good place to start.
- Check your makeup. If you wear makeup, make sure you’re using a non-comedogenic variety that won’t clog your pores. Many makeups can encourage blackhead formation because it clogs pores. Research the makeup you use carefully to avoid worsening the situation and causing more blackheads to form because you’re trying to cover them up in the first place!
These small changes in habits can make a big difference in how clear your skin is. So, jot down the checklist and make sure you follow each piece of advice.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, blackheads still appear. When it happens, you will find yourself seeking advice for how to get rid of blackheads, where to find the best blackhead removers and how to approach blackhead removal overall. In the sections below, we’ll explore all of these questions and more! Luckily, there are a wealth of methods, products, tools and strategies for blackhead removal, so you’re bound to find something that works for you.
Blackhead Removal Tools
Blackhead removal tools were originally only used by aestheticians and dermatologists. Now, they have come onto the market and are available for purchase online and in many drugstores. Using these tools, you can remove the clog, essentially eliminating a blackhead. There are many different types of tools available. Here’s a quick guide:
- Blackhead Extractor – This is a long pencil-shaped tool that has two loops of different sizes, one on each end.
- Blackhead Tweezer – Almost the same as tweezers, but this one is very sharp and includes a curved end so that you can get the gunk that’s clogging your pores right out.
- Microdermabrasion vacuum – This little machine acts as a vacuum and sucks out whatever is clogging your pores.
These are the main tools available. You’ll notice that the extractors and tweezers come in varying sizes and often come in sets including a few sizes and styles of the tools. This helps you deal with blackheads of different sizes.
This blackhead remover tool kit by Vena Beauty has a few different tools that you can use, including the extractor and tweezers. It’s a great starter kit so that you can try a few different tools and figure out what works best for you.
Some dermatologists approve of blackhead removal at home using these tools, while others shy away from endorsing this practice. Why? If you use a tool too aggressively, you can damage your skin and might even cause scarring. Or, you might not use proper sanitation techniques and end up infecting your pimples with bacteria, further complicating things. However, other dermatologists argue that if you’re going to pick at your blackheads, it’s best if you use a tool. The tool that’s most helpful and least likely to cause damage is the blackhead extractor.
Using a Blackhead Extractor
If you decide to purchase a blackhead extractor, how does it work? How can you use it? As far as blackhead removers go, extractors are among the most commonly used by aestheticians. These specialists know just exactly where to apply pressure and how to coax out the clog that’s causing the blackhead in your hair follicle. According to an interview with dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, the key is to avoid being too aggressive. She suggests you use the smaller loop and push down lightly around the blackhead. The clog might come right out. If it doesn’t move, let it be.
Yes, it can be hard to fight the temptation to push, prod and dig, but if you don’t get out the clog, you could just push it deeper into your pore, meaning it will take even longer to clear up. And remember, using a blackhead extractor is just one part of your possible treatment options for blackhead removal.
Here are some additional pro-tips for using a blackhead extractor correctly:
- Sterilize first! Don’t run into the same bacteria problem that you have with your hands. Dip the blackhead extractor in alcohol and dry it off on a paper towel before getting started.
- Apply some heat to open up the pore and loosen the blackhead. You can use a warm wet towel.
- Dab the affected area with alcohol to sanitize.
- Don’t scrape the tool across the blackhead.
- Press gently around the blackhead, rocking the extractor back and forth, starting with pressure on one side and then the other.
- The plug may loosen. Remove the blackhead clog with the extractor.
- Use gauze or a cotton ball to dab any bleeding when finished.
- Remember to sterilize the extractor in between each blackhead that you’ll remove.
Blackhead Removal Mask
Another popular method that works well for removing blackheads is using a blackhead remover mask. With a blackhead removal mask, you can avoid the tools, troubles with sterilization and tedium of removing each blackhead individually. With a mask, you can remove multiple blackheads at once!
How does it work?
There are different kinds of blackhead removal masks. There are regular masks that you wash off, and peel-off masks. The peel-off masks are particularly appealing because they literally remove blackheads on the spot. While there are many different brands and varieties available, most of them use the same process that Astrid Skin Solutions blackhead remover mask uses. The steps go like this:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry.
- Apply the wet mask over the affected area.
- Then, allow it to dry completely.
- While the mask sets, it grabs on to the blackheads, sticking to them.
- Finally, you peel the mask off, stripping away the blackhead clogs.
Peel-off masks are especially attractive when you want to remove blackheads from hard to reach areas. The creases around your nose and chin, your shoulders, and your back can be hard to access. You can use a blackhead removal mask to get rid of all of your blackheads in these areas in one go.
One of the best parts about blackhead masks like the Astrid Skin Solutions blackhead remover product is that the solution is immediate. As soon as you remove the mask, the blackheads are gone. While other treatment methods and cleansers may take time to clear up your skin, this one does so immediately. It’s great to treat your skin using several techniques, including ones that can help you keep your skin clear over time. However, if you’re headed out on a date, you probably want something with faster effects. A blackhead removal mask is the perfect way to get rid of pesky blackheads right away.
The best part? A blackhead removal mask won’t leave your skin red and irritated. On the contrary, it will leave your skin radiant and flawless. Unfortunately using a blackhead extractor can cause some slight bleeding. Usually, face masks don’t have this problem.
One of the best blackhead removal face masks on the market is the previously mentioned Astrid Skin Solutions blackhead removal mask. More details on this amazing product will follow in the product section below.
Alternatively, there are also many blackhead removal masks that you can make on your own using natural ingredients. These are also popular because they are easy to make and can usually be made with ingredients you pick up at the grocery store! However, the majority of these are not peel-off masks, and so act more to prevent and heal than completely remove blackheads.
Speaking of natural solutions, there are a wealth of recipes and ideas out there for how to run your own blackhead remover routine using all-natural ingredients. You may want to use several of these masks in a rotation to prevent blackheads and calm your skin, along with the Astrid Skin Solutions blackhead removal mask for when you want to get rid of blackheads right away.
Nature is full of powerful plants that provide many benefits to our health and well-being. Healthy skin is one area that can easily be helped with natural remedies. Below, you’ll find 5 easy face masks that you can make to help keep your skin clear and free of blackheads:
- Turmeric and Peppermint Mask
How to make the mask: Make a cup of peppermint tea and allow it to cool. Then, in a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of tea with one tablespoon of ground turmeric. Apply it to your face and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Then rinse it off with warm water.
Both peppermint and turmeric are super spices known for their many beneficial properties. In the mask, they will act to cleanse your skin and clean out your pores. The peppermint will leave your skin feeling refreshed. Both peppermint and turmeric also contain antimicrobial properties, fighting both fungi and bacteria. This is especially helpful in a facial cleanser to help avoid your already clogged pores from becoming infected, which is one of the causes of acne.
- Gentle Exfoliant: Cornmeal
What you need: Cornmeal and your regular gentle face soap
How to use it: Add cornmeal to your regular face soap and mix it up. Apply it to your face with a small amount of water and rinse as normal.
When dealing with blackheads, you want to avoid harsh exfoliants. However, it can still feel good to wash away dead skin cells so they don’t end up clogged in your pores later on. Cornmeal is a compromise. It’s gentle, but still helps gently remove dead skin cells, leaving your face rejuvenated and bright.
- Honey and Cinnamon Mask
How to make the mask: Mix one tablespoon of honey with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Using your fingers, rub it onto your face. Allow to sit for up to 3 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
Both honey and cinnamon are beloved super foods for so many reasons. Honey has antibacterial properties and has been a favorite facial cleanser for people all over the world for years. The cinnamon also acts as a mild exfoliant.
Here’s a pro tip: you know that old jar of honey that crystallized and is all nasty at the bottom? Use that gunky stuff in a face mask! The small amount of crystals act as a gentle exfoliant, and you avoid wasting honey. It’s the perfect honey to use in a mask for removing blackheads.
- Oatmeal and Yogurt Mask
What you need: oatmeal, honey, yogurt and olive oil
How to make the mask: Mix ¼ cup of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of yogurt, 2 teaspoons of honey and 2 teaspoons of olive oil together. Use a food processor if desired. Apply it to your face, rubbing it in gently and then rinse with warm water.
Oatmeal makes the perfect exfoliant when you’re aiming for blackhead removal. It’s gentle, yet effective. The honey, as you know is a natural antibiotic and can help keep your face clean and bacteria free. Yogurt is also great for your skin. In one study, yogurt used as a facial mask increased moisture, elasticity, and brightness of the skin where it was applied. This is great when you’re trying to eliminate blackheads and improve your skin tone.
- Sugar Scrub
How to make the mask: Mix ¼ cup white sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar in a bowl. Add ¼ cup olive oil and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix well. Then, gently rub the scrub on your face for 2 to 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water afterward. You can store any leftover scrub in an airtight container.
This natural remedy also makes use of gentle exfoliation to rid your skin of dead skin cells. Just remember to use it with caution, only rubbing softly. Olive oil is also known for keeping skin and hair healthy. In one study, it helped patients who suffered from a skin condition as a result of radiotherapy.
Quality Blackhead Removers: Which Products Really Work?
If you’re searching online, in the pharmacy or grocery store for facial cleansers and blackhead remover products, you’re probably overwhelmed by the options available. Numerous products are on the market, all claiming to be the best. How can you decide what to choose?
To help you in your search for the best blackhead removers and treatment products, take a look at this list below. These products are tried and true and will help you with blackhead removal and fast!
#1 Astrid Skin Solutions Blackhead Removal Peel Off Mask
This is a favorite peel off mask that will pull your blackheads right out and also remove dead skin cells that could clog your pores later. The Astrid Skin Solutions mask that was also mentioned in the blackhead removal mask section of this article is a quality product that’s also affordable and will get rid of your blackhead troubles immediately.
This peel off mask works like typical masks. The mask dries fairly quickly and is easily pulled off. With this excellent mask, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get the blackheads out of tricky areas like the crease of your nose or chin. Just slather on the black substance and the mask will do the rest.
Hundreds of satisfied customers vouch for this product. Join them to discover why it’s so well-loved and say goodbye to your blackheads.
21 F-HeeBin Blackhead Remover, 120g
All you have to do is read a few reviews to understand why people love this product. Customers rave about this excellent mask because it’s affordable, functional, smells nice and leaves your skin clean and beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?
This is one of those famous muddy, black peel-off masks containing bamboo charcoal complex and known for their deep cleansing effects. To use this peel-off mask, all you have to do is apply it to the affected area, allow it to dry and then peel off the mask, pulling the blackheads along with it.
This particular product comes in a tube containing 120 grams. You can use the product exclusively on problem areas such as the nose and chin or cover your whole face. The manufacturers recommend testing the product on the inside of your wrist to ensure that your skin will tolerate the mask well.
#3 Vena Beauty Blackhead Remover Tool Kit
If you’re interested in blackhead remover tools and extractors, this is the product for you. This kit includes blackhead tweezers and extractors of different sizes, giving you everything you need to squeeze your blackheads right out without using your dirty fingers. Each of the extractor tools is pencil shaped with a textured grip so the tool won’t slip while you’re using it. The affordable kit even includes a handy case where you can store the tools. Tools are about 4.5 inches long.
Just remember, these tools need to be properly used and sanitized for each blackhead that you remove. Consult with your dermatologist to learn the best techniques for using these tools on your own. When used too aggressively, you can harm your skin and even leave a scar! So, if you try and fail to remove a blackhead gently using the tools, it’s best to let it be and allow the professionals to help you take care of it.
#4 Amara Organics Retinol Serum, 1 fl. oz.
When it comes to treating blackheads, dermatologists recommend different treatments depending on how serious the issue is. If you want a solution for blackheads that is clinically proven and recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), choose a product with a retinoid. This is one of the products recommended by the AAD.
This product contains retinol at 2.5%, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E. The retinol helps clean out your pores, says the AAD. Vitamin E is good for your skin, especially for keeping in moist and smooth. Many of the ingredients are natural, such as the jojoba oil, green tea, aloe and others. Overall, this product is great for even the most sensitive skin and won’t leave you dried out or uncomfortable. You can use this product after you wash your face at night.
#5 Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser, 8 oz
The other product recommended by the AAD is a benzoyl peroxide wash, such as this one by Acne Free. This wash contains benzoyl peroxide at 2.5% and glycolic acid. The benzoyl peroxide, in particular, helps because it gets rid of bacteria on your skin that can worsen blackheads. Also, notice that the product is oil free and so it won’t cause your pores to become clogged. Use this once a day as a facial wash and you’ll be on your way to clear, beautiful skin. The best part about this product is that it is very affordable and easy to use.
This wash is fairly mild, so talk with your dermatologist about whether it’s the best fit for you. People who have severe acne or especially sensitive skin might be better off using another type of cleanser.
Your Blackhead Removal Plan
As you can see, there are many ways to work at eliminating blackheads from your body and life. Now that you know what blackheads are, how to prevent them and how to get rid of them, you need to organize yourself and make a plan. What are the next steps?
- Blackhead Prevention
There are a few areas included in prevention. First are your habits, like touching your face, picking your blackheads with your fingers, washing pillowcases, etc. Make sure you’re using good habits and work on eliminating bad habits.
Secondly, work out a skincare routine that includes a good face wash, retinoid and perhaps a few natural face scrubs and masks. You can use the recipes provided in this article in the natural solutions area for your scrubs and masks.
- Blackhead Removal
You also have to be prepared for the occasional breakout that will come up, no matter how well you care for your skin. For this part of the plan, you’ll want a solid peel-off mask on hand. You may also choose to purchase a set of blackhead remover tools to help you remove individual blackheads. This way, you can wake up every day confident, knowing you’re ready to remove any blackheads that may have formed while you were sleeping.
With both of these steps of your plan ready to go, you’ll soon enjoy clear, beautiful skin free of blackheads. Remember, if you notice that one of the products or natural scrubs isn’t giving you the results you’d like to see, try something else! Through trial and error, you’ll find the perfect combination of products and natural masks that will help you avoid those frustrating blackhead breakouts.
Finally, if you struggle with stubborn blackheads and acne, talk to a doctor or dermatologist. In some cases, there may be other reasons your skin is acting up such as changes in hormones or an underlying condition.
Now you should be ready to handle any blackheads that come your way and prevent future ones from forming. With your plan in place, you’ll gorgeous skin you can be proud to show in no time!
Have you found this article helpful? Do you have a secret blackhead remover trick that we haven’t included? Tell us about your blackhead removal experiences in the comments below.