Getting Rid of Blackheads—the Right Way!
Pretty much anyone with skin has had the unpleasant misfortune of experiencing blackheads. They’re pesky little blemishes that can be tricky to get rid of or even hide. But what are they, exactly? And how on earth can you keep them off of your complexion? Keep reading to find out!
Blackheads or “open comedones” as they are known scientifically, are open pores that are clogged with sebum (oil), dead skin, and often dirt and bacteria. This material is exposed to the air which, due to oxidation, causes it to become black. If the pore is not open, the blemish is called a “closed comedone” or “whitehead,” so named because the oxidation and resultant black color do not occur.
There are a few ways to tackle blackheads.
Pore strips are definitely the instant-gratification option when it comes to getting rid of blackheads. These are strips of adhesive that you apply to an area of skin with blackheads (most commonly the nose), dampen with water, allow to dry and harden, and then peel off. They literally rip the gunk out of the clogged pores in little plugs that you can see stuck to the strip once you pull it off. It’s gross—but also incredibly satisfying.
Though these strips do have the quickest results, they may not be the best option in the long run. For one thing, the ripping of the plugs of gunk out of the pores leaves the pores open and ready to be clogged back up with more gunk. Using a toner to close your pores can help, but you might also want to consider some other approaches to treating blackheads.
One of the top blackhead treatments recommended by dermatologists is salicylic acid. It’s a beta hydroxy acid that can be found in varying concentrations in commercial face scrubs and cleansers, and it has proven effective in cleaning out pores and eliminating blackheads.
Though it won’t remove that gunk from your pores as quickly as a pore strip, it will probably prove more effective in the long run. It will gradually clear out those pores and won’t leave them open and exposed like the strips will. If used pretty consistently, it can keep your skin clean and clear all the time, whereas the strips wouldn’t be very effective until the pores have had a chance to clog up with plugs of gunk for the adhesive to grip onto and pull out.
Keep Your Skin Clean
The moral of the story is that you’ve got to keep your skin clean so that your pores don’t get clogged up in the first place. This means you’ve got to wash your face regularly. We recommend at least once daily, but twice is even better (in the morning and before bed). Exfoliate occasionally, but not every time (see our blog article about exfoliation for more info). And always moisturize!
Your pores will thank you for keeping them gunk-free, and you’ll be rewarded with a complexion that is free of those annoying little black spots!