How to get rid of blackheads
Though blackheads are hardly detectable to those around us, the tiny spots (which are really oil and dead skin cells sitting in our pores) are certainly noticeable to yourself when you see them in the mirror every day. Along with acne and scarring, blackheads can become the bane of your existence as they are notoriously hard to get rid of. In that instance, try these tips to keep blackheads at bay.
RELATED: 6 ways to get rid of acne
What are blackheads?
First things first, what actually are blackheads and what does it mean when you get them?
Blackheads are small bumps that are typically found on your T-zone, often on and around the nose. According to Healthline, blackheads occur when hair follicles in the skin clog, and oil (or sebum) collects along with dead skin cells, producing a bump called a comedo. From here, the bump can turn into a whitehead, but if exposed to air it transforms into a blackhead. The skin will have an unpleasant texture – feeling rough, scratchy and bumpy.
A long-standing acne myth is that having blackheads (or any type of acne for that matter) is a sign of a dirty face, but this is false.
If you find blackheads are particularly persistent, here’s how to get rid of the pesky bumps.
Cleanse after exercising
You can imagine how wearing makeup at the gym will clog pores, but not washing your face after a workout will do the same. Sweat can fuel blackheads, so removing all of that oil and grime after a gym session is important to avoid clogging your skin – if you don’t do it already.
Wear oil-free sunscreen
Chances are you’re slapping on the sunscreen with wild abandon during the summer months (or you should be), but some SPF products can lead to breakouts and clogged pores, and generally leave you feeling icky. Oily and combination skin types especially should stick to oil-free formulations when protecting their skin from UVA and UVB rays. Find out your skin type first before deciding which sunblock is best for you.
Use salicylic acid products
Of all beauty ingredients, salicylic acid should be your best friend if you have blackheads. Found in plenty of over-the-counter washes, gels and creams, the acid will help to unclog pores and target dead cell build up. A leave-on product works best so the active ingredient can do it’s magic.
Make retinol part of your routine
Retinol has a bad reputation (with sensitive skin sufferers) but this is another topical treatment that is effective in combating blackheads and reducing pores all the same. Low-strength retinoids are best to start off with to shrink and tighten pores, and increase cellular turnover. But make sure you use retinol correctly to avoid damaging your skin.
Opt for enzymatic exfoliators
If you have oily skin that is prone to blackheads, the best thing you can do for yourself is implement an exfoliating routine that includes products containing enzymes. Although it seems you need a science degree to understand what enzymes are and do, in short they are often derived from plants and fruits – and break down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together, thereby sloughing skin without disrupting your pH level (and are also unlikely to inflame, irritate, or damage skin as acids can do if you’re not careful).
Try clay or charcoal
Rather than use a pore strip that tugs and pulls skin, opt for a clay mask to target blackheads. Deep-cleansing masks with ingredients such as clay and charcoal will pull oil from the skin to facilitate blackhead removal. It’s important to keep pores clean, and there’s perhaps no better way than with one of these masks, that don’t leave skin with that uncomfortable tight feeling – as long as your skin isn’t too dry.
Avoid clogging ingredients
Just as wearing oil-free sunscreen will help free up pores, avoiding other clogging ingredients is a sure way to avoid further pimples and blackheads. Many oils, including coconut oil or shea butter, are comedogenic, meaning they may clog the skin. Acne-prone skin types should avoid using heavy oil-based products that will only sit on top of the skin and even cause new breakouts to form. Alcohol, sulphates, and mineral oil are just some of the ingredients you should avoid as they are known to block pores.
What do you find helps you get rid of blackheads?