Blackheads are just clogged pores. Once the mix of dry cells and oil that clog the pores get exposed to the air, they look darker (hence the name!. Manual extraction of blackheads (i.e., using metal tools or your hands) is not the best, safest, or the most effective way to eliminate blackheads. Manually extracting blackheads—except when done by a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist— often results in trauma to the skin, more red pimples, and a higher risk of scarring. So unless you are a fan of long-term scars and more breakouts (didn't think so...), here are five ways to remove blackheads without hurting your skin.
Blackheads Removal Strips:
Pore cleansing/blackhead removal strips are essential, better versions of scotch tape (ha!)...but they work! Using a non-irritating adhesive, these strips bind to your blackheads and when removed, pull out the blackheads with them. Voila! The easiest and fastest way to remove blackheads. (Check ouMDacne's's blackhead removal strips)
Salicylic Acid Cleansers & Treatment Creams
Salicylic acid is an FDA-approved anti-acne ingredient. It dissolves and softens the dead cell keratin plugs that are clogging the pores. You can check out MDacne's medicated cleansers and treatment creams or look for OTC options with 2% Salicylic Acid.
Retinoids have been prescribed by dermatologists for more than 30 years to reduce blackheads and whiteheads. Fortunately, high-quality retinol creams are now available without a prescription to help reduce both blackheads and active, inflamed pimples. Be mindful that some dryness can be expected, and sensitivity to the sun is increased. Thus, it is essential always to apply an oil-free sunscreen in the morning when you use this type of product.
Pink Clay Mask
Using a pink clay mask, 1-2x per week, is another excellent option for people with blackheads and large pores. By absorbing the dead cells and excess sebum from enlarged skin oil glands, these masks can help with acne breakouts, reduce skin redness, and improve overall skin texture and brightness. You can check out this link for more info!
Steam and warm water help open the pores and loosen blackheads, enhancing everything else you are doing. Take a steam shower before using blackhead removal strips or the Salicylic Acid treatment for the best results.
And boom — blackheads are gone, just like that!