Our goal is to guide you through your personal journey to clear, healthy, and blemish free skin.
What Causes Acne ?
Acne starts when the pores in your skin get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Each pore is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oily substance called sebum. Extra sebum can plug up pores, causing the growth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.
Your white blood cells attack P. acnes, leading to skin inflammation and acne. Some cases of acne are more severe than others, but common symptoms include whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.
Many factors contribute to the development of acne, including genetics, diet, stress, hormone changes and infections.
Ways to Get Rid of Blackheads
What you can do
Blackheads are one of the most common forms of acne. Although people who have oily skin are more vulnerable to blackheads, anyone can get them. They form when pores become clogged with a combination of dead skin cells and excess oil (sebum) from your sebaceous glands.
Unlike whiteheads, which create closed pores, blackheads have open surfaces. This creates an oxidation that is dark in color.
It may be tempting to try to pinch or push the black plug out, but this can cause unnecessary scarring and other damage to your skin.
You’ll likely have better results using the tips and tricks outlined below. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of your blackheads and prevent future ones from forming.
1. Avoid pore strips and other home extraction methods
You already know that picking, scratching, and popping any form of acne is considered off-limits. Still, it can be tempting to locate some form of extraction to get rid of those pesky blackheads. In recent years, there’s been an uptick in masks, pore strips, and extraction tools that promise clean pores.
Although pore strips and masks may help remove junk from your pores, they can also remove elements that actually help your skin. This includes natural oils and hair follicles. Removing all of these elements can cause your skin to dry out and become irritated. When irritation occurs, your sebaceous glands may go into survival mode and produce even more oil — resulting in more blackheads.
Other extraction methods include professional-grade metal or plastic tools. These purportedly
work by removing clogged blackheads without scratching your skin. The keyword here though, is professional — these tools are sometimes used by dermatologists who have years of training. When placed into novice hands, extraction tools can turn into a source for scratches, wounds, and even scars.
2. Don’t waste your time on benzoyl peroxide
When it comes to over-the-counter (OTC) acne spot treatments, you’re likely to find that many products contain benzoyl peroxide. The problem is that benzoyl peroxide doesn’t work for all types of acne.
Benzoyl peroxide works by reducing swelling, which a key marker of inflammatory acne. This includes cysts and pustules. It can also get rid of underlying bacteria in a pimple.
However, blackheads aren’t considered inflammatory, and they aren’t caused by bacteria, so products featuring benzoyl peroxide won’t do much good.
3. Cleanse with salicylic acid
Instead of benzoyl peroxide, look for OTC products that contain salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the preferred ingredient for blackheads and whiteheads because it breaks down the materials that clog pores: excess oil and dead skin cells. By choosing a daily cleanser with salicylic acid, you can remove these elements in addition to daily dirt, oil, and makeup.
Although you still need to wash your face twice a day, try using a cleanser that has salicylic acid in it just once a day to start. You may consider using it at night only, and then using your regular cleanser in the morning. As your skin gets used to the product, you may choose to use it both morning and night. Many people are sensitive to salicylic acid and you may not be able to use it more than once every few days. If you continue to react to it, discontinue use.
4. Gently exfoliate with AHAs and BHAs
In the past, you may have heard that exfoliating produces a negative effect on acne. This can be true for inflammatory acne, as the process can cause further redness and irritation.
For blackheads, though, regular exfoliation can help remove excessive amounts of dead skin cells that can lead to clogged pores. The process may also gently remove existing blackheads.
Rather than looking for harsh scrubs, you’ll want to focus on alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). Glycolic acid is the most common type of AHA, and salicylic acid is a prominent BHA.
Both work by removing the top layer of your skin. In theory, this can improve the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, all while cleansing pores and making your skin softer. You’ll find that BHAs are more widely available on the market, and in some cases, they’re more affordable too!