If not properly extracted, blackheads will turn into acne breakouts. Get ahead of your acne with this professional blackhead removal technique that you can do at home and specific products to prevent blackheads.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How blackheads start the acne process
- What products are best for treating blackheads
- The professional blackhead removal technique you can do from home
Blackheads start the acne process
A blackhead is a closed comedone, a plug of oil and dead skin cells trapped within a hair follicle. As air gets to it, it oxidizes and the surface of the plug turns black or grey in colour - hence the name “blackhead”.
It’s typical to spot these on or around the nose or t-zone where pores are larger. However, they can appear anywhere on the face, chest, back and even in your ears!
HOW ARE BLACKHEADS CREATED?
Blackheads are created by excess oil production, lack of effective cleansing, exfoliating or skin care products that have clogged your pores.
If not extracted, your skin will start to grow over the plug and create a closed comedone, a blackhead trapped below the skin’s surface. This is often referred to as congested skin, where the surface feels bumpy to the touch.
Since your skin is producing oil, the follicle will eventually swell and a papule will begin to form. A papule is an inflamed acne breakout that is red and often tender to the touch.
The next stage of a papule is called a pustule - when you notice an acne breakout with an infection appearing as a red raised lesion with a white or yellow head filled with pus. This is where acne bacteria thrives.
THE BEST EXFOLIANTS TO TREAT BLACKHEADS
Blackheads are considered non-inflammatory acne, meaning it’s safe to use physical exfoliants that are typically too stimulating for inflamed types, like papules and pustules mentioned above.
Physical exfoliants immediately lift dead cells from the surface of the skin. With blackheads this is really important because flakes that are left on the skin can easily fall back into the follicle and create more blackheads.
Once or twice a week, consider using a dual exfoliant that acts as a physical and chemical scrub to detach and lift dead skin cell build up.
If your skin is on the oily side, try the Grapefruit Polishing Powder. You can buffer it with the gentle cream cleanser during the cooler months for increased results. If your skin is on the dry side, your skin will prefer the Mint Poppy Seed Polish.
In addition, consider adding one or two additional nights of a chemical based exfoliant to liquify the trapped oil inside your follicles. This is an important step if your blackheads are too deep or there are a lot of them.
Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant
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The mandelic acid will work inside the follicle to soften the oil, lactic acid will lighten any hyperpigmentation while the other fruit acids refine your skin’s texture while you sleep.
MAKE SURE YOU'RE DOUBLE CLEANSING EVERY NIGHT
Keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain your results by double cleansing every night. Your first cleanse should be with a gentle cream cleanser to effectively remove any sunscreen and makeup while your second cleanse can be with a gel or foaming cleanser using this super soft konjac facial sponge.
Konjac Facial Sponge
This highly absorbent facial sponge is handmade with food grade konjac powder and infused with fine-mesh tourmaline crystal powder. By respecting the integrity of the stratum corneum, this Konjac Facial Sponge provides excellent daily cleansing and exfoliation for a smooth...Read more
Professional blackhead removal technique
STEP 1 - CLEANSE YOUR SKIN
After washing your hands, cleanse your skin using a foaming cleanser and konjac facial sponge. This will ensure daily debris, makeup and dead skin cells are removed and don't get in the way of extracting your blackheads.
STEP 2 - APPLY A HOT COMPRESS
Once your skin has been thoroughly cleansed, soften your pores by applying a hot compress for about 5 minutes. If your blackheads are stubborn, you may benefit from taking a shower first as the steam from your shower can facilitate this process.
STEP 3 - APPLY A SKIN CONDITIONER
If you have combination skin, your pores are smaller which will make your blackhead removal process more challenging. Prepare your skin with a few drops of squalane oil to lubricate your skin and make blackhead removal easier.
STEP 4 - EXTRACT YOUR BLACKHEADS
There are two awesome tools you can use at home to make extractions easier. This blackhead extractor and tweezer set will help you isolate blackheads for removal and pull plugs out that are stuck in the follicle.
Blackhead Extractor Kit
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Start with the extractor. Isolate the blackhead in the middle of the thinner loop and gently press down on all sides to encourage the blackhead to surface. If that doesn’t work, switch to the flat end. Isolate the blackhead in the centre of the loop, press down to bring the blackhead up. If you can see it lift, gently glide the tool across your skin to surface the blackhead. With the tweezers, pull the plug right out of the follicle.
When it comes to blackhead removal, it’s really important to know when to quit so that you don’t break a capillary vein or cause post inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks that can be left on the skin for months!
Give it three times before moving on to the next one.
If you don’t have an extractor or tweezers at your disposal, you must cut your nails very short to prevent unnecessary damage while trying the following blackhead removal technique.
Wrap your index fingers with tissue paper. Isolate the blackhead with both fingers and position them at 3:00 and 9:00, then 5:00 and then 10:00, then 2:00 and 7:00. When you’re in position, gently pull, press and push the blackhead up and out of the skin.
Remember - three tries and move on!
STEP 5 - CLEANSE YOUR SKIN AGAIN
You may now see flakes and plugs of oil that are sitting on the surface of your skin. These can easily fall back into your pores so make sure to cleanse your skin using a gentle cleanser. Rinse with slightly cool water to calm down your skin.
STEP 6 - MOISTURIZE
Your skin may appear pink in the areas you tried to extract. Calm down the skin by applying ice wrapped in tissue paper in 10 second intervals if your skin is really red. Follow that up with a hydrating serum and the clarifying cream to prevent new blackheads from forming.
This powerful multi-use product helps to improve the appearance of problematic skin of all ages and types. Effective at regulating the skin’s microflora and strengthening its resistance to colonization of unwanted bacteria. Used as a serum, primer and moisturizer, this...Read more
Don't forget to wash your tools after each use with soap and warm water. Better yet, sterilize using rubbing alcohol.
Blackheads can be persistent so get ahead of them by using the right products and techniques. Since your skin is constantly turning over, you can repeat this process as needed to maintain clear skin.