How do I get rid of blackheads – this is one of the most commonly asked questions I get from my readers and friends. So, today I am talking about the causes and a few solutions of this extremely common yet hard-to-treat skincare problem.
Blackheads tend to be stubborn no matter what you do. You might feel like you’ve tried everything but getting rid of those unsightly, black little spots stuck inside an enlarged pore seems almost impossible.
Before we delve into the treatment aspect, we need to first understand how blackheads are formed. The problem begins when your oil glands produce too much oil inside the pores. This excess oil mixes with the dead skin cells/debris and become trapped inside the pore lining to form a clog (and this clog is what makes it difficult for the oil to flow freely causing the pores to enlarge). When this accumulated oil plug is exposed to air, it oxidizes, creating black dots, most commonly seen on the nose, chin, or center of the forehead.
Now, since blackheads are too deep in the pore, you can’t scrub them away with facial scrubs, wash cloth or even Microdermabrasion. In fact, the irritation of the scrubbing can cause more oil production making clogged pores worse. Also, blackheads cannot be pulled out of the pore by using pore strips. Pore strips are able to remove just the top layer of the blackheads so it’s only a temporary solution and the blackheads return soon after.
So, what can be done? The most important thing you can to treat blackheads is using a salicylic acid based exfoliating product. Salicylic acid exfoliates not only on the skin’s surface to slough off the dead skin cells but also penetrates deep inside the pores to remove all the trapped gunk. For best results, the exfoliant should be a leave-in product so that it remains on the skin to effectively get rid of the build-up that can contribute to blackheads.
The best product I’ve come across to treat blackheads is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ( it’s very reasonably priced as well at $18.95 for 4oz). It has a clear liquid consistency and seeps quickly into skin without leaving any residue. I just take a dime-sized amount and apply to clean skin with my fingers. It is gentle enough to be used everyday but I normally use it 2 -3 times a week at night-time, before my night cream.
The reason I love this so much is because it has been highly effective in keeping my skin smooth and blackhead-free since I started using it (more than a year ago). And since BHA (salicylic acid) has antibacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria, this exfoliant is also my secret weapon against breakouts and works as a fantastic spot treatment as well. Not only that, it also diminishes the appearance of enlarged pores by keeping them clog-free….it is skin perfecting indeed! When consistently using this product, you won’t need to use any other scrub or physical exfoliant.
Some other things you can do to keep blackheads at bay is washing your face (with a gentle, non-drying face wash) twice a day to remove any dirt or impurities, excess oil and makeup which can clog the pores. Also, avoid using skincare products that are too creamy or emollient because most of the ingredients that give lotions and creams their thick consistency can clog pores thus increasing blackheads.
I hope you find this post useful to deal with those persistent, yucky blackheads! Let me know what you think.