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Today I want to help you learn how to get rid of blackheads, and not just in the short term. Blackhead removal is not so easy to figure out, especially when you take into account that you might not even be dealing with blackheads in the first place! The trick to getting rid of these pesky blemishes is all about mixing regular, gentle care with the occasional heavy-duty treatment.

How to Get Rid of Blackheads: Best Blackhead Removal Products

To really tackle a problem, it’s important to understand it, so I explain what blackheads are and what causes them in the first place. I explain the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, as well as other little blemishes that might add to the confusion.

I’ve outlined all of the best ways to remove blackheads, along with the ideal skin care products for blackhead prevention. To finish things off, I added some must-know facts about safe blackhead removal.

Blackhead Removal Guide: Contents

27 Best Blackhead Removal Products to Get Clear Skin

I’ve selected the 27 best blackhead removing products to help you keep your skin clear.

1. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum

This gorgeous overnight treatment is a chemical exfoliant that sloughs away dead skin cells and unclogs the pores, to ensure blackhead removal over time. It contains salicylic acid, which is known for its ability to cut through oil and sebum to exfoliate within the pore, and glycolic acid, which helps keep the surface of the skin clear. The formula as a whole is gentle and soothing, with raspberry extract and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin. It is gentle enough for nightly use and should work for all skin types. Pick it up from Sephora!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum

2. Clinique Blackhead Solutions 7 Day Deep Pore Cleanse & Scrub

This scrub is a little intense, but it works. It is made with kaolin clay, which is super absorbent and able to pull impurities from the pores. It also contains silicate, which acts as a very gentle physical exfoliant, which prevents the pores from getting plugged up with dead skin cells and keratin. Despite the brand’s recommendation, we think this scrub should only be used a few times a week unless you have extremely hearty skin. It is best for those with combination and oily skin. Find it at Nordstrom!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Clinique Blackhead Solutions 7 Day Deep Pore Cleanse & Scrub

3. Lancer The Method: Nourish Blemish Control

This wonderful moisturizer will keep your skin nourished and your pores, therefore, less likely to get clogged with keratin, but it also has some ingredients to gently unclog pores and prevent acne. It is made with salicylic acid at a low percentage, to exfoliate and keep things clear, as well as anti-bacterial tea tree oil to ensure those blackheads don’t turn into pimples. Order it from Net-a-Porter!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Lancer The Method: Nourish Blemish Control

4. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

This gentle clay mask is the ideal weekly treatment for keeping clogged pores at bay. With a bit of finessing, it can also offer actual blackhead removal. It contains both kaolin and bentonite clays, as well as charcoal, which is like vacuum cleaner of skincare ingredients. It is best for oily skin. You can buy it at Sephora.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

5. Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask

This mask is touted as a blackhead remover, but it will also help with prevention. It is made with a blend of kaolin clay and diatomaceous earth to soak up impurities, and a touch of salicylic acid to promote skin renewal and to exfoliate within the pore. It should work for all skin types, but especially for those with oily skin. It gets bonus points for being easier to remove than other clay masks. It’s available at Nordstrom.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask

6. Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil

It may be surprising, but a cleansing oil is one of the best ways to get rid of blackheads. In addition to totally melting down makeup, oils can also help loosen up plugs in the pores, and with a vigorous massage they can even get them to pop out completely. This simple, gentle cleansing oil is made with non-comedogenic mineral oil and hydrating glycerin. It has some surfactants in it, so it will easily come off with water. Get it at Ulta!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil

7. CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

This is the phenomenal Korean toner Jude Chao recommends for her incredible blackhead removal method. It is made with betaine salicylate, a gentle form of salicylic acid, as well as soothing willow bark extract and oil-regulating and antioxidant niacinamide. It’s a great daily toner that will keep clogging to a minimum. Purchase it from Ulta!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

8. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

This gorgeous face oil is one of the best acne and blackhead removal and prevention products around. It is made with superstar ingredient salicylic acid, of course, to help keep the pores clear long-term. The salicylic acid sits in a blend of non-comedogenic oils that moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and help keep keratin soft so that it doesn’t get stuck in the pores. There is also some neem and tea tree oil here to keep acne away. It is sold at Nordstrom.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

9. African Botanics Marula Mineral Cleansing Mask

This extra-gentle mask is the perfect blackhead removal mask for those with otherwise dry or sensitive skin. It is made with gentle yet clarifying kaolin clay, which helps absorb impurities from the skin. To keep things balanced and moisturizing, however, it also contains antioxidant-rich oils from plants like marula and avocado, as well as antioxidant-rich plant extracts. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, do be aware that it contains a lot of essential oils. You can find it at Net-a-Porter.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: African Botanics Marula Mineral Cleansing Mask

10. Goodal Washup Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask

This cooling mask gives a deep cleaning to the pores without dehydrating the skin. It utilizes super absorbent clays like kaolin and montmorillonite to pull out grime, but also includes butylene glycol to hydrate, and green tea extract to soothe. It comes with a spatula that makes getting it out of the tub a more hygienic process. It should work for all skin types, but since it has ferments it likely won’t work for those with fungal acne. Pick it up at Ulta!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Goodal Washup Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask

11. Differin Acne Treatment Gel

This over-the-counter medication is made with adapalene, a wonderful retinoid that helps rejuvenate the skin and regulate skin cell production. Though it’s technically not an exfoliant, adapalene still helps unclog pores, with many people finding that it helps get rid of blackheads as well as treat and prevent acne breakouts. The other benefit is that this retinoid has anti-aging properties, and is able to support long-term collagen production in the skin. Do note that this treatment is quite intense and should not be taken lightly. Get it from Ulta!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Differin Acne Treatment Gel

12. Osmosis Beauty Purify – Enzyme Cleanser

This gentle cleanser is perfect for daily use. It is sulfate-free with a low pH, so it won’t dry out the skin but it’ll remove all that extra sebum build-up. It contains fruit enzymes, which may add to skin exfoliation and softness, but more importantly, it is mild and refreshing, so it’s ideal for all skin types. Order it from Dermstore!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Osmosis Beauty Purify - Enzyme Cleanser

13. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream

Retinoids are exceptional blackhead removers because they help increase and regulate cell turnover. In addition to helping heal and dislodge existing cloggings, they can also improve skin texture in a way that prevents future blackheads and breakouts. This 0.5 formula is effective but not overly drying and contains a soothing complex with bisabolol to prevent irritation. Buy it online from Dermstore!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream

14. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

This mask is intense, meant for those with truly oily skin, and it is perfect for blackhead removal. It contains both kaolin and bentonite to suck up all of the gunk from your clogged hair follicles. It is also a little bit soothing, with oat flour and aloe preventing irritation. A touch of MCT oil prevents excessive dryness from the mask. It is available at Sephora.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Kiehl’s Since 1851 Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

15. Kate Somerville ‘EradiKate’ Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment

This unique foaming mask is definitely worth trying if the regular solutions like clay masks and salicylic acid just don’t seem to work. This mask foams up as it becomes activated, and the sulfur in it helps destroy bacteria and slough away build-up of keratin. It really refreshes the complexion and tightens the pores, to help prevent future blackheads. Purchase it at Nordstrom!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Kate Somerville 'EradiKate' Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment

16. Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask

This is another sulfur-based treatment you can choose if your blackheads have been resistant to the usual treatments. Sulfur is keratolytic and anti-fungal, so it’ll help clear up your pores even if you’re dealing with fungal acne. In this mask formula, it’s combined with kaolin clay and soothing willow bark extract. You can use it on a weekly basis, especially if you have combination or dry skin. It is sold online via Net-a-Porter.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask

17. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

I never miss a chance to recommend this incredible exfoliating toner, and blackhead removal happens to be something it is especially great at doing. It is made with 2% salicylic acid at the perfect pH for breaking down congestion inside the pore. It won’t irritate or dry the skin because it contains soothing green tea extract and hydrating butylene glycol. It’s gentle enough for twice-daily use and works for all skin types. Find it through Dermstore!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

18. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

If your skin cannot tolerate salicylic acid or retinol due to sensitivity, then azelaic acid is the next best thing to try to get rid of blackheads. Like salicylic acid, this treatment is also keratolytic so it helps to dislodge and exfoliate dead skin build-up. However, the other benefit is that it is wonderful for bringing down redness and preventing the spread of acne bacteria. It won’t irritate or dry out your skin and will work for any skin type, though the formula is thick and best for evening use. Pick it up from Sephora!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

19. Aveda outer peace Acne Relief Pads

These salicylic acid pads provide the exfoliation your skin needs for long-term blackhead removal. They also contain betaine and tamanu oil to avoid overdrying the skin, though definitely note that they are best for those with oily skin. They are made with Aveda’s pure-fume fragrance blend, which has a gorgeous scent and mild antibacterial properties to prevent those blackheads from turning into pimples. Get it at Nordstrom!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Aveda outer peace Acne Relief Pads

20. Not Just A* Konjac Face Sponge – Green Tea

Konjac sponges were all the rage for a hot minute, and then it seems like everyone forgot about them. It’s quite unfortunate since they are still one of the best ways to get a more thorough cleanse and mild physical exfoliation – exactly the two things necessary for keeping blackheads at bay. You can use a konjac sponge to wipe off your cleanser, or infuse it with your cleanser and massage it over your skin. This one is infused with green tea, which gives it a skin-soothing and uplifting effect. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Not Just A* Konjac Face Sponge - Green Tea

21. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

Though I have a heavy preference for chemical exfoliants, the occasional physical scrub can give an instant smoothing response that is hard to resist. The Microfoliant is gentle enough to not irritate the skin, and the occasional scrubbing can definitely help prevent blackheads. Despite the name, I suggest you only use it a few times a week at most. It contains a touch of tea tree oil, which will help keep pimples from developing. Purchase it from Sephora!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

22. Peter Thomas Roth AHA/ BHA Acne Clearing Gel

This exceptional chemical exfoliant gel combines 2% salicylic acid with 10% glycolic acid to remove dead skin very thoroughly. It will help remove blackheads as well as smooth out the skin and fade acne scars. It’s a fairly potent formula that should be used carefully but you can also expect quick results with it. It also has some excellent skin-brightening ingredients like licorice root extract and retinyl palmitate. It is available at Nordstrom.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Peter Thomas Roth AHA/ BHA Acne Clearing Gel

23. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

This is one of the best daily-use cleansers for blackhead prevention. It maintains the skin at a healthy pH level while removing oil build-up and preventing cloggings. It contains just a touch of red clay to absorb impurities, but otherwise, the formula is quite gentle as it is free of harsh surfactants. It is best for those with oily and combination skin and can work alone or as a second cleanser. You can buy it from Sephora.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

24. By Terry Cellularose Cleansing Oil

Using this rose-scented cleansing oil is a dream. It is made of non-comedogenic mineral oil as its base but is then fortified with nourishing oils from jojoba and squalane. There are a few surfactants added to make sure it’ll come off with just a quick splash of water. It is perfect for a double cleanse ritual, and is especially useful in a pore-decongesting massage. Find it online through Net-a-Porter!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: By Terry Cellularose Cleansing Oil

25. Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask

This is another exceptional clay mask for deep cleaning the skin and removing blackheads. It is made with Umbrian clay, also known as fuller’s earth, which works beautifully to remove impurities from the skin and tighten the pores. Fuller’s earth is pretty intense, so other ingredients, like glycerin and butylene glycol, help counter its drying effects. It comes off quite easily with water when compared to other clay masks. It comes in either a tube or a jar, but we recommend the tube for ensuring everything is hygienic. Pick it up at Sephora!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask

26. Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser

Salicylic acid is not as effective in cleansers as it is in leave-on products, but if your skin is sensitive or if you’re already using retinoids then this might be the only way that your skin will tolerate this blackhead-removing ingredient. This gentle cleanser has a touch of salicylic acid, as well as antibacterial tea tree oil. It dissolves makeup and impurities without drying out the skin and is fabulous for daily use for all skin types. It is sold through Dermstore.

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser

27. Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

This balm cleanser is just as good for a blackhead removing facial massage as an oil cleanser. It is a fabulous choice for those who avoid mineral oils in their routine, as it is made with MCT oil and a variety of botanical oils. It makes the skin incredibly soft and moisturized and is very easy to rinse off with water. It contains a touch of papaya extract to promote a keratolytic effect. It will work for all skin types. Purchase it at Sephora!

Best Blackhead Removal Products: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

What Are Blackheads and Where Do They Appear?

Blackheads are the tiny black or dark brown dots that show up when our pores or hair follicles (the two terms can be used interchangeably for the most part) get clogged up with a mixture of sebum (a.k.a. facial oil) and dead skin cells (which have some melanin in them). The clog then gets oxidized, which is why it turns black or dark brown.

Blackheads usually don’t have much to do with dirt, as they are caused by things that our skin naturally produces. Their technical name is “open comedones” as opposed to “closed comedones”, which refers to whiteheads.

Blackheads tend to appear on oilier parts of the skin, with the nose being the most common. However, they can show up anywhere where we have hair follicles. They can stretch out the pores and lead to them looking permanently enlarged. Aside from the face, people also often experience blackheads on their back, back of the neck, chest, and scalp.

Blackheads are a type of non-inflammatory acne. The acne bacteria are usually present in the mixture of sebum and dead skin that make up a blackhead, but the open comedone itself doesn’t become inflamed.

It is only once a clogged pore becomes inflamed because of the acne bacteria that the term pimple applies. Blackheads can turn into painful pimples if one neglects them or doesn’t employ an acne-fighting skincare routine.


Causes of Blackheads and Large Pores

Hair follicles can become clogged up with sebum and keratin for no particular reason, and they are usually not a sign of poor hygiene. There are some additional factors that will increase your chances of developing blackheads.

What Are Blackheads and Where Do They Appear?

• Those with oily skin are more prone to blackheads because it becomes harder for the pore to expel the oils.

• Misshapen hair follicles with damaged lining are going to become clogged more easily. This is why you will find that blackheads and pimples show up in the same spot over and over again.

• A skincare routine that lacks exfoliation or cleansing might mean there is more debris on the skin and may increase your chances of developing blackheads.

• Our genetics might determine the propensity of our pores to become clogged, while hormones can impact how our skin produces oils, with androgens being notorious for increasing oil production in the skin.

• Health conditions related to hormone production can definitely increase your chances of blackheads as well as of other types of blemishes.

• Stress and diet may also come into play.


Telling the Difference Between Blackheads, Sebaceous Filaments, and Other Common Skin Issues

Blackheads are not as common as you might think. If you have tiny plugs on your nose that appear just a touch darker than your skin, you might believe they are blackheads but it’d be more appropriate to categorize them as sebaceous filaments.

‘Sebaceous filaments’ is a fairly new term in colloquial language that is often referred to as SFs in the skincare community. Like the term blackheads, SFs also refers to plugs of sebum and keratin, but fairly minor ones that don’t have time to become oxidized and are usually not visible unless one were to come up really close.

Sebaceous filaments are a fairly normal part of how the skin functions, especially if you have combination or oily skin, but they can become blackheads if you don’t practice a blackhead preventing skincare routine.

Blackhead Removal Options

The main difference in how you would get rid of blackheads vs. sebaceous filaments is that only the former require extraction. You definitely wouldn’t need to see a professional for sebaceous filaments.

Sebaceous filaments can be treated with a continuous and gentle skin care routine, as any extreme attempt at extracting them will only injure the skin. Blackheads, which are thicker, more disruptive plugs, may require extraction.

As for whiteheads, they are very easy to distinguish from blackheads even though technically the two have very similar causes. Whiteheads are pores that become clogged with the same mixture of sebum and dead skin, but the clog happens deeper in the pore. They look like small pustules, but without any redness, inflammation, or pain. They can be treated with a gentle, non-comedogenic skincare routine and regular exfoliation.

Another condition worth noting is trichostasis spinulosa, which is often mistaken for blackheads. In this condition, tiny “peach fuzz” hairs (vellum hairs) get trapped in the hair follicle as a bundle, which leads to what looks like very small blackheads, but is actually hair. Regular exfoliation can help free them up, and tweezing will remove them as they can look dark even when not trapped.


How to Get Rid of Blackheads: Blackhead Removal Methods

Before I get into all the specifics of how to remove blackheads, it’s important to note that prevention is much easier! In addition to giving these methods a try, it’s also important that you take good care of your skin by maintaining a great skincare routine. Blackheads can disappear all on their own, albeit slowly if you just take care of your skin.

The Best At-Home Blackhead Removal Method: The BHA, Clay Mask, and Oil Cleanse Trifecta

This blackhead removal method was devised by Asian-beauty blogger Jude Chao of Fifty Shades of Snail in 2015 and ended up taking the skincare community by storm. People were posting photos of the gunk that came out of their skin and giving their own tips and variations on the technique.

This method helps get rid of blackheads as well as prominent sebaceous filaments, and it also temporarily tightens the pores. It doesn’t cause the usual damage and inflammation that careless pore squeezing would cause, but you do need to remember to be gentle.

How to Get Rid of Blackheads

This method can become part of your masking routine once a week or just every once in a while when you feel like it’s necessary, and the products in it can all be part of your regular skincare routine. Note that some people have had success after slightly altering this method, either by waiting less time or by taking out either the salicylic acid or the clay-based mask. You can experiment and see what works for you.

You will need:

  • Gentle, low-pH foaming facial cleanser
  • An oil cleanser or straight oil
  • Clay-based mask
  • Toner, serum, peel, or pads with salicylic acid
  • The serums and moisturizers that make up the rest of your skincare routine

1. To start, make sure your skin is totally clean and free of oils by cleansing with a gentle foaming cleanser.

2. Apply your salicylic acid treatment, and wait 10-20 minutes for it to penetrate into the skin and do its work. Do not rinse it off unless it is a high percentage peel. It is better to use a gentle, leave-on product.

3. Apply the clay-based mask to your skin (yes, over the salicylic acid), and let it sit on your skin for as long as the mask directions say. Usually, 10-15 minutes is enough time.

4. Once the time has passed, rinse off your masks completely with cool water. You can use damp cotton pads or a microfiber cloth to make sure all residue is gone.

5. Take your facial oil, or oil cleanser, and massage it over your skin lightly so it covers your face. Give it a little bit of time to soften the plugs in your pores. Jude Chao recommends waiting 15 minutes, but it still works even if you don’t wait as long.

6. Now is the time to apply a bit of pressure. I normally suggest you massage your skin in outward motions, but this time you’ll want to do the opposite. Using circular motions, massage from the outside in, focusing on the areas where you are dealing with the most congestion.

7. Don’t massage for longer than 5 minutes, as an overly long or aggressive massage will damage your skin.

8. You will soon notice that hard little plugs of keratin pop out of your skin, and that bigger, darker ones pop out where you had blackheads. Resist the urge to go longer or apply more pressure, even if some pores remain clogged.

9. Next, splash on some water and massage to emulsify and remove your oil cleanser. If you used a straight oil then wipe it off with a damp cloth, and perhaps cleanse one more time with your foaming cleanser.

10. Finish things off with the rest of your routine, making sure to give your skin a lot of moisture to counteract the drying effects of the clay mask.

11. If it is daytime, finish with a layer of sun protection.

How to Prevent Blackheads

At-Home Blackhead Extractions

I hesitate to talk about blackhead extractions for a couple of reasons, but I’d be naive not to mention them at all.

The first reason why I hesitate to mention them is that I think people might be tempted to rely on them as a quick fix instead of getting their skincare routine in order and that they might try to utilize them not just to get rid of blackheads, but also to get rid of sebaceous filaments, which unfortunately can really damage the skin.

The second reason is that I think that extracts are better left to the professionals. If you’re not a professional, you might find yourself using too much pressure with the extractor and damaging your skin.

Even worse, the actual act of extracting blackheads and popping pimples is known to be addictive, but if it is done too frequently or to parts of the skin where the blackheads are not severe enough, then skin can get damaged, you can end up with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or erythema, which are much harder to get rid of than a blackhead.

So with all this being said, it is possible to do blackhead extractions at home with a ringed extractor tool. The tool presses on the skin, creating pressure and forcing the build-up to come out of the pore.

These kinds of tools work best on larger blackheads, though they exert too much pressure to be worth using on smaller blackheads. It is important to only use an extractor when the skin is clean, and to make sure to sanitize the extractor with an alcohol soak before using it. You can attempt extractions after masking the skin and before moisturizing it.

When you do use the extractor, don’t dig it into your skin. Place the ring over the blackhead, and apply the smallest amount of pressure, while rotating it around. If nothing comes out, don’t press harder – just stop. If a plug does come out, wipe it up with a damp cotton pad, and then apply a bit of an anti-acne spot treatment or petroleum jelly over the area.

Seeing an Aesthetician

It is much better to see an aesthetician for blackhead extractions. They offer extractions regularly, so they know when to stop and exactly how much pressure to use. They can combine the extractions with a facial like an acid peel or microdermabrasion, which will thoroughly exfoliate the skin and allow the blackheads to come out more easily.

Blackhead Remover Options

Make sure to choose an aesthetician that gets incredibly good reviews online and that has a proven track record for working with people suffering from blackheads and acne. An untrained or irresponsible aesthetician can end up being too aggressive with your skin or might not have sufficiently high standards of hygiene.

Seeing a Dermatologist

For truly severe or persistent blackheads, an aesthetician will not be enough, and you will want to see a dermatologist instead. A dermatologist can prescribe you tretinoin, which is the strongest retinoid you can apply topically, or they might recommend a medical-grade peel or blackhead treatment.

Like an aesthetician, a dermatologist can also perform extractions, and you will have greater peace of mind knowing that the environment will be totally hygienic and that they will use the right amount of pressure.

Additionally, a dermatologist will be able to diagnose the root cause of your blackheads. They might prescribe an oral contraceptive to regulate hormones or they might suggest oral isotretinoin to decrease oil production in the skin. The input of a medical professional is invaluable, even if it’s not as luxurious as going in for a facial.


How Can You Prevent Blackheads?

If you don’t maintain your skin you can absolutely expect your blackheads to return. A gentle skincare routine that includes regular exfoliation is truly the best way to prevent blackheads. Your routine should consist of the following steps:

• Cleansing

You should be cleansing your skin every evening in order to remove any build-up of oil that might get into the pores and cause blackheads. No matter your skin type, you should always stick to gentle, non-drying, sulfate-free, low-pH cleansers.

Double cleansing with an oil cleanser as the first step is especially great for blackhead prevention because oils can soften the plugs in the skin and allow them to slide out more easily.

How to Remove Blackheads

• Resurfacers

After you cleanse you will want to apply a chemical exfoliant, at least a few times a week but as often as every morning and every night. The frequency also depends on the intensity of the exfoliant and what your skin can tolerate.

Exfoliating serums and toners tend to be gentler, while peels with high percentages will be more intense. There are many excellent chemical exfoliants (I’ve covered most of them fairly extensively), but salicylic acid is by far the best one for blackheads because it can penetrate layers of oil and exfoliate within the pore. You can also find a lot of products that combine salicylic acid with other exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid or lactic acid.

Retinoids, though technically not exfoliants, can also help prevent the build-up of dead skin, and anecdotally they seem to have a wonderful effect of keeping the pores clear. Some people find they can use both retinoids and chemical exfoliants, while for others it can be too harsh.

Be aware that most resurfacing and exfoliating skincare ingredients will make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so using a sunscreen in the morning is a must!

• Hydrators & Moisturizers

Keeping the skin well hydrated is a key part of preventing blackheads. When the skin is dehydrated, dead skin cell build-up becomes more of an issue, while the skin itself becomes compromised and more prone to clogging.

On the other hand, when the skin is moisturized dead skin cells shed more easily. The stratum corneum, as a whole, plumps up and pores become a little tighter. Moisturizing is an important part of every skincare routine, and especially one geared towards removing blackheads since typical blackhead removal methods can dry out the skin.


Blackhead Removal Dos & Don’ts to Keep Pores Clean

• Don’t squeeze your skin! If you really want to go around popping, it is better to aim for a gentle massage or use an extractor tool. Squeezing with the tips of the fingers is a no-no, however, because it can damage the skin and can cause inflammation and redness.

Blackhead Treatment Products

• Keep things clean! Even the gentlest blackhead removal massage or extractions session can be harmful if your hands, tools, and skin aren’t cleaned before you start.

• Some sources recommend you steam your face to dilate the pores. We don’t recommend that, however, since hot steam can actually damage the skin and lead to dehydration and visible veins. It is much better to just let the skin soak up some oil instead, as it will make it more malleable and will help soften up plugs.

• Be skeptical of blackhead removal home remedies involving things like lemon juice or baking soda. They can do a lot more harm than good. It is always better to rely on proven skincare ingredients and methods.

Photos via @worldofcolorx, @anajohnson, @melisssaspiteri