by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

4 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Blackheads

Image via @cdy.lately

Blackheads may seem like a simple problem, but do you really know how to get rid of them? No, Bioré pore strips (as satisfying as it is to see the black gunk on the strip) are not the best way to get rid of them—or to prevent them from coming back.

And remember: Picking, squeezing, and popping blackheads aren’t among your options. That approach could make your situation a lot worse.

Instead, let’s learn how blackheads form, why they keep coming back, and why a gentler and consistent treatment is actually the best way to deal with them.

What are blackheads and why do I keep getting them?

It’s a common misconception, but blackheads honestly have nothing to do with trapped dirt or how “dirty” your face is. They are just pores plugged with sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells. These dead skin cells react with oxygen in the air and turn black, which forms a blackhead.

If you think you get them around the nose more often than anywhere else, you’re not wrong: the skin around your nose has a particularly high concentration of sebum glands, which means more sebum and a higher potential for clogged pores.

As for why they keep coming back (we feel your pain), basically anyone can get blackheads, but those with combination or oily skin are most prone to developing them.

Image via @mandymadd

What is the best course of action to deal with blackheads?

1. Wash your face at least twice a day

This seems like basic advice, but cleansing can go a long way to help prevent dirt and sebum from clogging your pores. Washing your face is one most important steps in your skincare routine for good reason; regularly cleansing your skin will help remove any excess dirt, oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, or makeup that is lingering on your face.

It’s also important to wash your face after a workout, since excess sweat can combine with dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells to plug your pores, possibly leading to blackheads.

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2. Chemical exfoliation is the way to go

Exfoliating regularly with acids are one of the best ways to break down any dead skin cells and oil clogging your pores. That includes both AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid, as well as BHAs such as salicylic acid. You can also give polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) a try if you have uber-sensitive skin.

3. Use a clay or charcoal mask occasionally

Try applying clay or charcoal masks once or twice a week to help get rid of excess dirt and sebum from the skin. Products like these might not “detox” your skin, but they can help fight against blackheads or manage other acne issues over time.

4. Get professional extractions

Of course, you should never pop your pimples—as tempting as it may be. Most of the time, they will clear up go away on their own if you don’t pick at them (really!) and if done incorrectly, a popping session can cause irritation, scarring and even an infection.

But if you happen to deal with stubborn blackheads frequently, it may be worth it to see a professional to get them professionally extracted. Ideally, this should be done every four to six weeks.

How can I prevent blackheads?

As with managing any type of acne, a solid cleansing routine will do wonders. You should also be looking into products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores.

It also means instilling good skincare habits, like washing your sheets and pillowcases regularly, sanitising your phone regularly so it doesn’t cause breakouts, and consulting a dermatologist if you’re dealing with stubborn acne.