Blackheads. The persistent nemesis no one asked for. Just when you think you’ve squeezed, popped and ripped your way to clearer skin, they come back – only MORE of them. Sigh.
And as satisfying as it may be to rip them out or push and prod your pores, battling blackheads can be exhausting. They’re a complicated concern to tackle, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself trawling the web to find answers.
To save you from going down that rabbit hole, we’ve got you sorted. Because we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about blackheads, including what causes them and - most importantly – how to get rid of them for good.
First things first: What exactly are those black spots on your nose and chin?
Blackheads (the science-y name is an open comedone) are basically made up of dead skin, debris, and sebum (read: oil). Yum!
When all of this glorious stuff mixes together and gets trapped inside your pores, it hardens and forms a ‘plug’. And when this trapped gunk gets exposed to air, it oxidises and turns black.
Yep – the stuff you’re seeing isn’t actually dirt!
With acne and blackheads, the cause of congestion is commonly due to genetic factors which stimulate excessive oil production and enlarged pores.
Of course, our hormones can also increase the build-up of oil and subsequently clogged pores – however this is more common to skin that is already oil-prone.
Besides your genetics and hormones, things like stress can also cause blackheads to form. This is because when you’re stressed, your body releases high levels of cortisol – a hormone that triggers your oil glands to produce more oil.
Alrighty, now for the important part: Exactly how to get rid of blackheads on your nose, chin and everywhere else they’ve so kindly decided to pop up.
Like other forms of acne, you generally have two choices when it comes to treatment: You can tackle it at home (DIY style), or for more severe cases, you can see a dermatologist or skin therapist.
Of course, this will depend on many different factors.
If you have mild to moderate blackheads, the right skincare can help regulate oil production and skin cell turnover, as well as breakdown and clear any existing debris.
In terms of what kind of ingredients to look out for, it’s best to avoid going too hard too soon on really powerful active ingredients – like retinol and salicylic acid - because more often than not, you’ll end up doing your skin more harm than good.
Instead, integrate these ingredients into your routine slowly to give your skin some time to get used to them. By taking a less is more approach, you’ll be able to use these kinds of ingredients daily at comfortable concentrations long-term.
Often over-cleansing, harsh ingredients and physical exfoliation are used in an attempt to unclog pores; however, blackhead-prone skin can be sensitive, and misuse of certain products and ingredients can actually increase inflammation and increase the frequency of blackheads.
That’s where Skin Virtue comes in. Our innovative products use soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients to ensure over-treating or over-exfoliating the skin is not a thing that happens.
Our Super Clear Collection incorporates marine and botanical actives that work to regulate oil production, calm the skin (bye, redness!) and support a healthy skin barrier function. So, our products basically decongest the skin, without all the nasty irritation.
For severe cases, you might be best checking in with a dermatologist or skin specialist, as oral medication may be necessary.
We know it’s hard not to resist the urge to squeeze your blackheads (it’s SO satisfying- we get it!) but trust us – you’ll only make things worse.
Not only can squeezing your blackheads encourage inflammation and scarring, but it can also damage the skin barrier and gave you more black spots in return. Yikes.
So, instead of squeezing at your skin, opt for a gentle professional extraction and stick to the right skincare to help clear things up.
If you absolutely have to take a DIY approach, we recommend using an ultrasonic skin scrubber such as this one, These are great for at-home extractions because there is no squeezing required, meaning it’s less likely to produce inflammation or redness.
Blue light treatments can also be a beneficial at-home option. These kinds of devices have an antimicrobial effect and can help kill acne-causing bacteria.
Either way – mitts off!
Do you have blackheads? What’s your go-to products for tackling them? Share your views and ideas with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gary Williams, Bio