Blackheads are a common form of facial concern. If you have oily skin, then the odds are that you are no stranger to acne. This, in turn, makes you highly susceptible to blackheads. However, anybody may suffer from them. Blackheads form because your pores get clogged by dead skin cells as well as sebum (oils) produced by your sebaceous glands. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads have unclosed surfaces. This causes an oxidation effect that makes them darker in colour.
Blackheads can be irritating. Nobody likes to have protruded black spots on their face. Sometimes, it may be tempting to try to break the blackened plug. However, this is not advisable. If you do this, you stand the risk of scarring your skin and causing subsequent damage.
How then do you get rid of blackheads? There are different natural remedies as well as cosmetic solutions to the problem of blackheads. Keep reading to learn how to eliminate blackheads and prevent the formation of new ones.
Table of Contents
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are small tiny bumps that appear randomly on your skin as a result of a blocked hair follicle. They are a milder form of severe acne breakouts. Typically, they form on the face. However, it is entirely possible that they appear on other body parts including:
Acne affects up to 80 million different Americans and Canadians every year. According to statistics from the American Academy of Dermatology, it is the most common skin condition.
How do blackheads form?
Blackheads develop when a plug is formed in the opening of several hair follicles that are present in the skin. Every follicle is home to one strand of hair as well as sebaceous gland designed to produce oil. This oil is sometimes called sebum, and it is responsible for keeping your skin soft.
Over time, it is entirely possible that dead skin and oil collects in the follicle causing a bump. If the surface covering the bump is present, the bump is referred to as a white head. If the skin is open, the increase in air exposure causes it to oxidize and turn black, forming blackheads.
Factors causing blackheads
Different factors can lead to you developing blackheads. Some of them are:
- Production of excess body oil
- A build-up of acne bacteria on your skin
- Irritation of hair follicles
- Failure of dead skin cells to shed regularly
- Hormonal changes caused by birth control medication, pregnancy, menstruation
- Drugs such as lithium, corticosteroids, etc
Some people are of the opinion that food and drink may contribute to the onset of acne. Dairy products that enhance blood sugar quantity may trigger acne outbreaks, but no strong connections have been verified by research.
How do you know you have blackheads?
Blackheads have a dark colour that stands out on your skin. They are also slightly raised from your skin. Blackheads are not painful since they are usually not inflamed, unlike pimples. Pimples, on the other hand, are formed because certain bacteria nest in the clogs situated in your hair follicle, resulting in inflammation and skin redness.
Related article: The Benefits of Chemical Peels
How to get rid of blackheads
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get rid of blackheads. Blackheads can be removed from your skin by following some steps and trying out some cosmetic solutions. Some ways you can remove blackheads include:
- Avoid the use of pore strips and other self-extraction methods
Your skin is very tender and sensitive. Scratching, popping, and picking of blackheads is off-limits. Still, we know how enticing it can be to use some form of “magical” extraction method to attempt to get rid of blackheads. Over the years, tools such as pore strips, masks, and other extraction tools have seen an upturn in popularity.
Although these pores strips may remove some of the blockages from your skin pores, they also remove some necessary elements. Pore strips remove your skin’s natural oils and even hair follicles. When this happens, your skin will dry out, leading to irritation. If this happens, your sebaceous glands may respond by producing even more sebum, leading to more blackheads.
Other extraction devices that you should avoid include professional-grade plastic and metal tools. These tools are supposed to remove every clog in your skin without scratching your skin. However, they are meant for professionals and should only be used by qualified professionals. When you make use of them, it is possible that they may cause scratches, scars, and even more serious wounds.
- Don’t use benzoyl peroxide
Most over the counter medications that are sold to counter blackheads contain benzoyl peroxide. However, you should be careful when using these products like benzoyl peroxide doesn’t work for all forms of acne.
Benzoyl peroxide reduces swelling which is a critical component of inflammatory acne. It can also help to kill off the underlying bacteria that causes pimples.
Remember that blackheads are not considered to be inflammatory. They are also not caused by the presence of bacteria. This means that benzoyl peroxide won’t do you much good in the treatment of blackheads.
- Use salicylic acid as a cleanser
When dealing with blackheads, it is advisable to buy products that contain salicylic acid. It is an active ingredient that breaks down the unwanted matter that clogs up your skin pores. When you cleanse the affected region daily, you will be able to remove excess oil, dead skin cells, daily dirt and makeup from your pores.
Although, you should be washing your face twice every day, start with a salicylic acid cleanser once every day, preferably at night. You can use your regular cleanser in the morning. As your body gets used to the effectiveness of the product, you may start to use it every night and morning.
Some people may have sensitive reactions to salicylic acid. Start out by using it once every three days. If your skin still reacts to the product, then you should stop using it immediately.
- Exfoliate with BHAs and AHAs
If your acne is inflammatory, skin exfoliation will have an adverse effect on your acne. However, blackheads are not inflammatory. This means that exfoliation works great for them. With exfoliation, you can remove excess oil and the dead skin cells that clog up your pores. Exfoliation can also remove already existing blackheads.
When considering exfoliation, the key is to not use harsh scrubs. It is far more advisable to use scrubs that are of the Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acid (AHAs and BHAs) derivatives. Glycolic acid is a common type of alpha hydroxy acid while salicylic acid belongs to the beta hydroxy acid group.
AHAs and BHAs work by removing the uppermost layer of the skin. Theoretically, this will also improve the overall appearance of facial wrinkles and sunspots. Don’t forget that they also thoroughly cleanse your skin and make it softer
- Use a skin brush
Skin brushes can provide you with exfoliating effects much like BHAs and AHAs. They also contribute to the removal of excess skin cells. When using skin brushes, be sure not to use them more than once every week. That way, you can avoid skin irritation. Additionally, you should not skin brushes on days that you decide to exfoliate.
There are different types of skin brushes available for sale out there. Depending on the size of your budget and personal needs, you can buy any. You may decide to buy an electric based system or a more budget-friendly handheld option. The two types of brushes can be combined with your regular facial cleanser.
- Try out topical retinoids
Retinoids are a great way to get rid of extremely stubborn acne cases. They are highly effective at unclogging blocked skin pores. The use of retinoids also makes other over-the-counter medicine more effective as they will be able to penetrate deeper into your skin.
- Clay masks
If you have oily skin, then clay masks are an absolute must-have. Clay masks work by removing oil, dirt and other unwanted elements from your skin pores. If you suffer from blackheads, clay masks can loosen blocked pores.
There are some clay masks for sale out there that contain sulphur. Just like salicylic acid, sulphur breaks down dead skin cells that are contained within blackheads. You can use regular masks or those with sulphur once every week along with your regular exfoliating sessions.
- Charcoal masks
As is the case with clay masks, charcoal masks are able to reach deep within the skin removing oil, dirt and dead skin cells. The active ingredient in these masks (charcoal) increases the exfoliating effect of these masks.
- Use non-comedogenic products
If you avoid the use of non-comedogenic products, the right facial cleanser, exfoliator, and facial masks will have a positive effect on your blackheads. Non-comedogenic products are those products that do not cause clogged pores.
You may be shocked to learn that a vast number of products are comedogenic. Read labels and instructions carefully before you start to use makeup and skin products.
- Remove makeup every night
We know how tiring it can be to drag yourself to remove makeup at the end of every long day. However, you have to force yourself to do it. Sleeping without removing makeup encourages the development of blackheads.
When left overnight, even non-comedogenic makeup products can block your pores. Also, you may be risking the onset of skin irritation as well as other skin infections.
- Chemical peels
Traditionally, chemical peels are used to slow down the effects of ageing such as age spots and fine lines. These peels contain alpha hydroxy acids that remove the uppermost layer of the skin.
Following chemical peels, newer, smoother skin will be exposed meaning that your skin will now be devoid of blackheads. Chemical peels also thoroughly exfoliate the skin removing every trace of dead skin. Chemical peels are particularly helpful if you are looking to reduce the effects of ageing.
- See a dermatologist
Your dermatologist can help you with devising a cosmetic regimen to get rid of your blackheads. There are different procedures such as microdermabrasion or the Aquapure Facial that can remove blackheads. It all depends on your budget and the intensity of your condition.
Even if you don’t suffer from blackheads, it doesn’t mean that you should be lax with your skin care. You can avoid blackheads from developing by following these simple steps:
- Wash regularly
Washing twice every day is perhaps the most basic of skin care routines that can prevent the formation of blackheads. Wash your face every morning and night to avoid dirt and residue from building up in your skin.
Take care not to wash your face more than two times every day. This can lead to skin irritation and can aggravate your acne. Also, when washing, use a gentle facial cleanser that doesn’t irritate your skin or leave it red. Sometimes, you may use cleansing products that have antibacterial properties.
If you have oily hair, you should wash your hair every day as hair oils can form clogged pores. Furthermore, it is advisable to wash your face after consuming oily foods because they contain oil that may clog up your skin pores.
- Use oil-free products
Avoid using oil-based products. Products with oil can contribute to the development of blackheads. Maybe sure that you always use oil-free, water-based and non-comedogenic skin care products.
- Protect your skin
When going out, use sunscreen that has adequate SPF protection on your face and other exposed areas. In addition, you may wear hats and use an umbrella to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
An in-depth look at chemical peels
What are chemical peels?
Chemical peels can be described as skin resurfacing techniques that are aimed at removing the uppermost layer of the skin. A unique chemical solution is added to your skin causing it to peel off naturally revealing the newer, brighter and smoother layer of skin. Chemical peels also boost the production of collagen, making your skin firmer and more elastic.
If you are looking to remove blackheads from your skin with a cosmetic procedure, chemical peels are a great option. They are cheap and also non-invasive. That means that you don’t have to worry about suffering from severe side effects. Additionally, chemical peels also help to stop the ugly consequences of ageing in addition to removing those pesky blackheads.
There are different types of chemical peels available. The perfect one for you is dependent on a number of factors including:
- Desired outcome
- Recovery time
- The intensity of your condition
- Personal preferences
Benefits of chemical peels
Chemical peels improve the overall facial appearance of your neck, hands as well as the face. Depending on the type of chemical peels that you choose to undergo, the procedure can help you get rid of skin conditions such as:
- Sun damage
- Age Spots
- Freckles, brown spots
- Light scarring
- Crow’s feet
Blackheads can be an irritating skin condition. The good news is that they can be removed. Our consultants are highly experienced and can determine the proper treatment technique for your blackheads. Book a session with Canada MedLaser Clinics today to get more information on how you can reduce blackheads.