We honestly find them one of the most frustrating acne ailments, Unlike whiteheads that seem to appear and disappear in a few days, blackheads tend to set up shop on your face for so much longer.
And even though they are much smaller and harder to see (unless you’re nose deep in your vanity mirror!) they can dull your complexion and lead to bigger acne flare ups.
STRIPPING IT DOWN
- What Are Blackheads?
- What Causes Blackheads
- How to Prevent Blackheads
- How to Treat Blackheads
- Best Blackhead Products
What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads, also known medically as “open comedones” are a result of oxidization of skin debris in your follicle.
Bacteria, dirt and excess oil (sebum) can all build up and get stuck in your open pores. As the air comes in contact with this debris, it oxidizes and turns black, hence the term blackhead.
Certain areas of your face are more prone, such as nose blackheads and chin blackheads.
As you can guess, nose blackheads form on or around your nose, typically in the creases of your nostrils.
Chin blackheads appear in that little dip of your chin making it tougher to get rid of them unless you are diligent with your facial cleansing.
Just like you can get pimples on your back, you can get back blackheads as well. They are tougher to spot (obviously!) because it’s not nearly as easy to check out the skin on our back as it is our face.
Blackheads vs Whiteheads
Blackheads form before excess amounts of buildup can form, which is why they are smaller than other forms of acne.
Whiteheads, on the other hand, form in closed pores. The same grime that causes blackheads builds up beneath the surface of your pore and forms a white bump on your skin.
One of the most common myths about blackheads vs whiteheads is that whiteheads are filled with pus. In fact, whiteheads are non-inflammatory, but they can turn into pimples if left untreated. (Check out a few of our simple pimple treatments should it get that far though…)
What Causes Blackheads
As we mentioned above, what causes blackheads is the oxidization of build up in your open pores.
Essentially anything from dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria or excess oil can accumulate and smother your open pore. As air comes in contact with this junk it causes a reaction between it and the oxygen which leads to discoloration, thus a blackhead is formed.
Foods That Cause Blackheads
Just like any other form of acne, there are certain foods that cause blackheads. Foods containing processed sugar are a big one. Sugar spikes your insulin levels and can throw your hormones off balance. When this happens you may experience excess sebum production leading to more clogged pores and blackheads.
Dairy is commonly associated with causing blackheads as well because it contains high levels of iodine. It also breaks down into sugar so together they can interfere with your delicate hormonal balance.
Be wary of junk food and processed food. Essentially anything you would find in the center aisles of your grocery store. Instead, stick to the outer perimeter where produce, fresh meats and seafood are located. Whole foods are definitely the way to go.
How to Prevent Blackheads
There are several simple strategies you can add to your skin care routine that will help you prevent blackheads. For starters, make sure you wash your face regularly, especially after working out or sweating.
Another way to prevent blackheads is by exfoliating regularly. Exfoliation gently sloughs away dead skin cells, grime and bacteria that may be trying to clog your open pores. Better yet, regular exfoliation can smooth your skin tone and tighten your pores making it harder for buildup to occur in the first place.
As we mentioned above, avoiding foods that cause blackheads is also a great preventative measure. Processed foods, high glycemic foods and foods high in sugar should all be cut from your grocery list. Choose whole foods found in nature instead.
How to Treat Blackheads
There are several different methods on how to treat blackheads. We love a good homemade remedy, so here are a few of our fave DIY’s to try out.
Egg Whites for Getting Rid of Blackheads
You will need:
- 2 fresh eggs
- Facial tissue or 2-ply toilet paper
Separate your egg yolk from the egg whites in two bowls. Feel free to keep the egg yolks for cooking or throw away. You will only be using the whites.
On freshly cleaned skin, use a makeup brush (or your fingers) to apply egg white all over your face.
Apply facial tissue over your face and then saturate it with another layer of egg whites so it sticks to your skin.
Let the facial tissue become fully dry. That’s when you know it’s ready to be removed. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
Gently peel off your dried face mask. If you look closely you should be able to see all of the blackheads that have been removed. Rinse away any residue with warm water then pat your skin dry and moisturize.
Why this Works
Egg whites are rich in skin nourishing vitamins and minerals such as selenium, that are known for preventing acne.
The protein content also helps tone and tighten your pores. The benefits to this are twofold; it makes it harder for bacteria to clog your pores and cause blackheads to begin with, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
You don’t have to use this as a blackhead mask though. Alternatively you can create blackhead strips with this remedy and target certain areas of your face that are more prone to blackheads like your nose or chin.
You will need:
- 10 drops Lavender essential oil
- 3 drops tea tree oil
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 medium sized bowl
- 1 clean towel
Boil your water and pour it into your bowl. Add in your oils as well.
At a table or over the counter, use your towel to cover your face and the steaming bowl of water. Do not put your face too close to the bowl or you will burn your skin. Remain covered for 10 minutes or until water cools.
Once you are done with the steam, rinse your skin with cool water and moisturize.
Why this Works
This is one of our fave blackhead remedies because steam helps open your pores. This allows your body to release toxins and push dirt to the surface of your skin. The antibacterial properties of lavender oil and tea tree oil work to kill acne causing bacteria on contact to reduce the likelihood of future blackheads.
Finally, the cool water rinses away the dirt and shocks your pore so they tighten up, making it harder for new buildup to occur.
Blackhead Banishing Compress
You will need:
- Witch hazel
- Cotton pads
Rinse your face with a mild facial cleanser.
Soak a cotton pad with witch hazel and then place it over any area that you are suffering from blackheads. Hold it here for 5 minutes.
Repeat ‘Step Two’ over every area suffering from blackheads. Don’t worry about rinsing this off or moisturizing afterwards. Simply compress, repeat and carry on.
Why This Works
Witch hazel is full of antioxidants and contains natural astringent properties that work wonders on getting rid of blackheads.
Another benefit is that witch hazel is that it hydrates your skin, unlike other astringents that suck the moisture away.
Best Blackhead Products
If you are looking for non-diy blackhead treatments then you may be better off buying a product.
Exposed Skin Care for Blackheads
Exposed Skin Care has a whole line of acne treatment products, but one product in particular really tackles blackheads.
The Exposed Skin Care Clear Pore Serum is a light serum that you can apply at night time all over your face or use it as a spot treatment for small breakouts. It contains tea tree oil, which contains antibacterial properties, and cuts right through blackhead causing buildup.
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips for Blackheads
These pore strips for blackheads are specifically designed to lift away dirt and bacteria from those hard to reach crevices on your face. With special designs for your nose and chin, all you have to do is stick it on, let it sit then rip it off for clear, acne free pores.
These strips are easy to find in any drugstore, but of course, we prefer our all natural, DIY egg white version!
Zenmed AHA/BHA Complex for Blackheads
The Zenmed AHA/BHA Complex is essentially a toner that contains alpha and beta hydroxy acid that promotes cell turnover without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Not only is it great at blasting blackheads, but it helps brighten your skin and give it a more even texture.
This product is safe to use twice daily as it does not contain any harsh chemicals that will dry out your skin. Not recommended for use on broken skin though.
Now we want to hear from you, what homemade hacks or products do you use to get rid of blackheads? Share in the comment section below.