How to Get Rid of Blackheads? While not all pimples are fun, blackheads can be some of the most annoying to deal with – they’re plentiful, hard to hide, and keep coming back. And with masking on the rise, blackheads seem to be showing up even more lately.
But before you put your fingers in the squeeze position, step away from the mirror and keep reading. We interviewed top dermatologists about the cause of blackheads and how to get rid of them in different ways (including at home, instantly, and overnight) and in different places, from your nose, cheeks, back, etc. Plus, our experts share their favorite anti-blackhead ingredients and products.
What exactly are blackheads?
“Blackheads, which are medically known as open comedones, are pores filled with oil or sebum, debris, and dead skin cellsSays Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology in New York City. The oily mixture is found at the opening of the pore surface, where it oxidizes by air and takes on black or gray color.
While the black material is often assumed to be trapped dirt, “it has nothing to do with cleanliness,” she says. Blackheads and whiteheads are usually the first signs of acne, says Ife Rodney, MD, dermatologist and founding director of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD. The main difference between them is that blackheads look dark due to the opening of the pores, while “whiteheads are closed comedones, which means that the surface of the blocked follicle is covered with a thin layer of skin. , creating a lighter color, ”she says.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads have many underlying causes, explains Dr. Gymrek. “They’re most often seen at puberty when hormones cause increased sebum or oil production and pores become clogged,” she explains. “Hormones can also fluctuate and cause blackheads during monthly periods, pregnancy, and in people with polycystic ovary syndrome or other hormonal syndromes where there is an excess of androgens. “Other factors may include taking steroids, wearing tight clothing and hats or helmets when sweating (think athletes), and using thick, occlusive creams or oil-based products that can clog pores.
“Genetics may also play a role in the appearance of blackheads,” says David Bank, MD, founder and director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. This means that if your siblings or parents are prone to blackheads, there’s a good chance you have it too. “Pore size is determined by genetics and those with larger pores are more prone to getting blackheads.”
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So how can i treat black dots?
There are many ways to treat and prevent blackheads, but generally speaking you want to “consistently use medicated cleansers or treatment products that help break up debris in your pores, whether the blackheads are on. your cheeks or on your back, ”Dr. Rodney said. Here are 10 ways:
1. Try salicylic acid.
First, look for active ingredients like salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that’s great for removing blackheads. “Because it is soluble in oil, it is capable of penetrates deep into pores and sebaceous glands to break up debris and sebumExplains Dr. Rodney. She recommends using it in a daily cleanser, such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Cleansing Gel.
2. Use benzoyl peroxide to get to the root of the problem.
Another effective and slightly more potent option for blackheads is Benzoyl Peroxide, also popular in cleansers like CeraVe Acne Foam Cleanser. It helps to dissolve the dead skin cells above the top of the pimple, help open it. Dr Gmyrek cautions not to be overzealous and use more than what is recommended on the product’s packaging instructions, as this can dry out and irritate the skin.
3. Try strong retinoids.
If all else fails, retinoids and retinol (a milder version), both derived from vitamin A, can also be extremely effective in treating blackheads. “Retinoids change the way your skin cells grow from the inside to the outside, preventing pore clogging and acne formation explains Dr. Rodney. Retinoids are available over the counter and under prescription. (Bonus: They also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.) Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. Bank both recommend using a 0.1 percent adapalene gel, like Differin.
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4. Use steam to instantly remove blackheads.
Starts with spray your face to open your pores, Suggests Dr Bank. Then, “use two cotton swabs or a blackhead extractor to gently press on the sides of the blackhead,” he says. “Do not use your hands as this can introduce bacteria and lead to infection.”
5. Get rid of blackheads overnight with a two step process.
To make blackheads disappear in the morning, Dr. Bank recommends a two-step process: First use a pore strip and then apply salicylic acid gel before going to bed.
6. Try pore bands to get rid of blackheads on your nose.
Pore strips like Bioré Original deep cleansing strips adhere to the skin of the nose and as it dries, the adhesive attaches to oil, sebum and dead skin cells, which are removed when the tape is removed, says Dr. Gmyrek. They can be irritating, however, so use caution if you have sensitive skin or rosacea. If you have a tendency to get blackheads on your nose, Dr. Bank also suggests using a salicylic acid cleanser or serum regularly on this area and getting a professional facial with manual extractions.
7. Use a medicated cleanser to remove blackheads on your back and body.
For blackheads on the back, “I recommend using a benzoyl peroxide face or body wash daily in the shower,” says Dr. Gymrek. “Let sit on the skin for a minute or two before rinsing off.“She recommends trying a formula with 5% benzoyl peroxide to start with, then upgrading to a higher percentage if your skin can tolerate it without irritation. If the benzoyl peroxide dries too much, apply a salicylic acid wash instead, suggests Dr. Gymrek.
Another option: Before bed, apply a thin layer of retinoid gel or cream to the area, starting every other night to avoid irritation. If you can’t reach your back, have someone help you apply the cream or try a back lotion applicator. For more stubborn blackheads, see a dermatologist: Dr. Bank suggests a Jessner peel, which contains a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to deeply exfoliate the skin and treat acne.
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8. Be gentle with the blackheads on your cheeks.
If you have blackheads on your cheeks, “remember that this skin will be a little drier and maybe more sensitive to retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid than other spots,” says Dr. Gmyrek. You can use these ingredients, but in smaller amounts so that the skin does not dry out or become irritated.
9. Beware of DIY blackhead removal hacks.
A PSA from our professional dermatologists: Although much talked about on the Internet, toothpaste is not an effective treatment for blackheads – it’s too harsh and dries out the skin.
10. Call your dermatologist for deep blackheads.
“For those super deep blackheads, you should see a dermatologist or esthetician because they have special tools that can safely extract the gunk trapped in your pores,” says Dr. Drodney. “Do not try to remove them yourself, as this can cause trauma and scarring on your skin.”
How to avoid the formation of blackheads?
While you can’t get rid of blackheads for good (sorry!), You can Maintain a consistent skincare routine incorporating the tips above to prevent future breakouts from appearing. Always remove your makeup at night and wash your face twice a day. Be sure to address any underlying hormonal issues if possible, and remove thick, occlusive creams, makeup, or hair products if you suspect they may be an underlying cause.
However, don’t skip hydration entirely, as it’s important for all skin types – just be sure to choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula, like Good Housekeeping Seal’s Neutrogena Star Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer. , to prevent pore-clogging.