Getting blackheads can be a real nuisance, but treating blackheads doesn’t have to be. In case you didn’t know, blackheads are actually a combination of excess oil and dead skin cells that become dark due to oxidation. Many people believe that blackheads are dirty pores, but you can think of them like pimples without any skin over them, which have turned dark due to exposure to air. But enough of the details, let’s get on with the various ways of preventing and treating blackheads so you encounter these little annoyances less often!
1. Keep Fingers Away
Contrary to popular belief, treating blackheads by squeezing them with your fingers or fingernails is not the best way to go. Sure, it’s fast, easy and disturbingly fulfilling, but it’s also unsanitary and you run the risk of tearing and scarring your skin. If you must use your fingers to try and extract a blackhead, place tissues over your fingers to gently remove the blackhead after you’ve steamed your face. If it still doesn’t come out, leave it alone for a few days before you try again.
2. Get an Extractor
Comedone or pimple extractors might appear painful and intimidating, but it’s much safer than using your fingers. Gently press the looped metal tool over the affected area to gently push out the blackhead after you’ve steamed your face to “loosen up” the area. This tool makes blackhead extraction quick, easy and sanitary. Also, avoid using any acid-based products on your skin after any manual extraction to avoid irritation.
3. Avoid the Triangle of Death
Did you know that there is a triangle of death on your face? The area from the bridge of your nose extending to the corners of your mouth is referred to as the triangle of death by Dr. Oz. The reason for the name is that the area is home to many blood vessels that drain to back of the head, where they intersect with veins at the base of the brain. That means that if we squeeze a blackhead in the triangle of death region, we run the risk of nasty pus getting into one of those important blood vessels. Keep this area clean and avoid popping any pimples in the area.
4. Avoid Harsh Cleansers
One of the ways to prevent blackheads from forming in the first place is to avoid using harsh cleansers on your face. If your skin feels tight or itchy after using your cleanser, there’s a good chance it might be too strong for your skin type. Try swapping it with a gentle cleanser so you reduce the chance of irritation and excess oil production, which can contribute to even more blackheads.
5. Mask It
If you have oily skin or just want to give your facial skin a deep cleaning, try a clay mask. Clay masks are awesome at soaking up excess oil and dirt, controlling oil production, providing skin with beneficial minerals, deep cleaning pores and revitalizing skin. One word of caution though: Sharon McGlinchey of MV Organic Skincare warns against waiting until your clay mask completely dries before rinsing. McGlinchey says that if you wait until your mask and skin feel dry, you’re much more likely to smother your skin with moisturizer to soothe the skin, which defeats the purpose of the mask. Keep an eye or a finger on your mask so you rinse it off before it gets to the point where it cracks and dries for the best results.
6. Keep It Clean
Apart from removing excess oil from your face, you’ll also want to make a habit of keeping any products with oil away from the blackhead-prone areas of your face. Keep your pillow case and cell phone clean, keep your hair away from your face so it doesn’t absorb hair care products or oil from your strands, avoid resting your face in your hands and avoid using greasy moisturizers or any other products that contain oil around areas that are prone to blackheads.
7. Read Product Labels
I’m sure you’ve seen tons of products in beauty aisles that promise to banish blackheads, but did you know that some of those products can actually exacerbate the problem? According to skin care expert Paula Begoun, many skin care products that aim to treat blackheads contain ingredients like alcohol and menthol, which can irritate skin and lead to more blackheads. Look for helpful ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
8. Sweeten the Deal
You might have heard that using a dab of honey is a great spot treatment for acne. Well, it also works well on blackheads. What you do is quickly pat a small amount of honey on the affected areas for a few minutes. The stickiness of the honey will adhere to the stuff in your pores and help pull out the debris. After a few minutes of patting the honey on your face, rinse with warm water.
9. Try a Natural Toner
Lastly, using an apple cider vinegar toner might be just what your skin needs for getting rid of excess oil and dirt, balancing your skin’s pH and improving acne. ACV is antiseptic, antibacterial and totally natural, so it’s a cheap and easy way to improve the condition of your skin without exposing it to questionable ingredients and chemicals. For oily skin, mix 1 part filtered water with 1 part ACV. Normal skin can use 1 part ACV and 2 parts water and sensitive skin can use 1 part ACV and 4 parts water. Always test a small area of your skin first to test your reaction.
Do you know of any good tips or tricks for treating blackheads? Blackheads happen to all of us but we all react differently to treatments, so don’t get discouraged if one method doesn’t work for you. There are lots of ways to prevent and treat blackheads that are simple and effective!