You know those times you see a dark mass stubbornly stuck in an enlarged pore just screaming for you to pull it out? Yes, I’m talking about blackheads. Unless you have Queen Cleopatra-esque skin, you are likely to have had blackheads at some point in your life.
Blackheads are a form of non inflammatory acne. They are caused when hormones stimulate excess oil production inside a pore, preventing it from flowing naturally to the surface. That excess flow of oil blocks the pore, and then mixes with accumulated dead skin cells that cannot be shed normally. The combination of too much oil and accumulated dead skin cells results in blackheads.
How to Get Rid of Blackheads
Blackheads can be quite stubborn, but thanks to stress management and a consistent routine with the right products, they can still be gotten rid of. Aside from a low pH, gentle cleanser, a well-formulated chemical exfoliant that is retinol or AHA(glycolic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) based is an absolute essential when treating blackheads.
Using a well-formulated light moisturiser containing niacinamide could also improve the shape of the pore.
Mistakes to Avoid When Treating Blackheads
- Avoid irritant ingredients that would make the problem worse by increasing oil production e.g. peppermint, menthol, lemon, lime, eucalyptus, fragrance.
- Avoid using pore strips – they can stretch your pores. Pore strips only remove the top part of a blackhead, so the blackhead would become the gift that keeps on giving – you’ll see it again soon. Also, isn’t there an ouch factor involved when removing the strip? I’m just guessing, I wouldn’t know.
- Avoid harsh physical scrubs (like that apricot scrub which is eeeverywhere!) because blackheads are too deep in the pore to be removed by surface scrubbing, and the potential irritation from scrubbing can make the problem worse.
- I completely understand the urge to pinch, scrape, poke, press, or squeeze a blackhead but please don’t. It’s not worth the potential scarring afterward and you could end up with permanently enlarged pores!
Don’t let stubborn blackheads take your joy. A consistent skin care routine will help you treat them. What are some of your favorite exfoliants to treat blackheads? Let me know in the comments.