Have you been battling with blackheads, those tiny black dots on your face? Read all about blackheads and our 6 ways to get rid of them in this article.
Despite their appearance, blackheads aren't due to the skin being dirty. Blackheads (also known as open comedones) are a type of clogged pore. They can occur on their own or sometimes along with acne. Blackheads form when dead skin cells combine with excess sebum and dirt in the pore lining. Once this combination reaches the opening of the pore at the skin’s surface, it oxidises, turning black. Blackheads tend to arise in your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin), particularly around the nose area as it has more hair follicles and produces more oil than other parts of the face.
Excess sebum production inside the skin's pores makes it difficult for the sebum to reach the surface of the skin resulting in blocked pores.
As the flow of oil clogs up, it mixes with accumulated dead skin cells that haven't exfoliated as efficiently as they should, narrowing the 'exit' of the pores so that the sebum cannot be secreted naturally.
If the pore is still slightly open, the combination of excess sebum and dead skin cells is exposed to oxygen, which oxidises the mixture and turns it black, forming a blackhead.
Excess sebum production can be caused by hormones, diet, ingredients in cosmetics products, medical conditions and medication.
Spots and blackheads are caused by clogged pores. This occurs when a hair follicle is clogged with sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Spots form when the hair follicle is completely sealed, blocking the sebum and dirt in the hair follicle from reaching the surface. As a result, the size of the spot may increase. If the pore is clogged but not sealed, the sebum and dead skin cells in the pore can reach the skin's surface. When it comes in contact with air (oxidisation), the sebum turns black forming a blackhead.
Blackheads are open comedones (clogged pores) which look like tiny black dots. These black dots are essentially blocked sebum that has become oxidized, causing it to turn black. Whiteheads are closed comedones, referred to as such because they’re covered (closed) with a thin layer of skin. Because of this skin covering, the sebum cannot reach the surface which causes its flesh-toned, bumpy appearance.
1. Be consistent with your skincare routine
Prevention is the best cure when it comes to blackheads. Following a simple 3-step skincare routine will help keep skin healthy and prevent blackheads from forming.
2. Check the texture of your skincare products
Use skincare products with a liquid texture or in gel form where possible. Rich creams and lotions often contain pore-clogging ingredients.
3. Avoid irritating ingredients
Avoid skin irritants. Many skincare products can stimulate sebum production and make blackheads worse. This is due to ingredients that irritate the skin, such as alcohol, peppermint, menthol, lemon, lime and eucalyptus. Avoid using products with these ingredients and never use soap bars to wash skin - they will clog your pores and irritate or dry out your skin.
4. Try using a mask
Remove excess sebum. Use a clay mask regularly to absorb sebum, particularly on the oilier parts of your face.
5. See a professional
Visit the beautician. They will safely and hygienically remove your blackheads and then your home-care products can help minimise their formation.
6. Remove blackheads safely by following these steps
Make sure you never squeeze, push or scrape your skin too hard.
If you're looking for a safe way to remove blackheads, be careful with what you see on the internet - some of the advice can actually make the problem worse. You should never do these things:
The nose is probably the most common area to experience blackheads. The reason why is because the nose has more oil glands than any other part of the face, and excess oil is a key component in the formation of blackheads. Getting rid of nose blackheads is no different to getting rid of blackheads on the other areas of the face. That means consistently following a skincare routine suitable for your skin type and regular use of a BHA exfoliant to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells on the surface of skin and inside pores. Removing blackheads yourself can damage your skin if done incorrectly, follow the steps above to ensure your nose blackheads are removed safely or visit a beautician if you don’t feel like going it alone.
Whatever skin issues you have: there is no single product that can solve them for you. It is important to have a good routine to keep skin clean and healthy. Once you've got the basics you can then add in products that are aimed at reducing and preventing spots and blackheads.
Scrubbing is never a good idea. The vast majority of scrubs contain hard, coarse particles that can damage your skin. This can lead to irritation and increased sebum production, which in turn can lead to more spots and blackheads. In addition, blackheads are too deep in the pore to be able to remove them with a scrub. If you do use a scrub, you will only remove the upper part of the blackhead and not the underlying cause. Instead of a scrub you can use an bha-salicylic acid. BHA exfoliants remove dead skin cells without damaging the skin and can penetrate into the pores. Still want to scrub? Then try The UnScrub . This mild cleansing scrub removes makeup, SPF and dirt, but unlike other scrubs, it contains no hard, coarse particles – just fine, flexible jojoba balls. They dissolve slowly so won't damage your skin.
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Fast absorbing liquid removes built-up dead skin cells and fights blackheads.
Super-light, anti-ageing toner prevents signs of ageing and refines pores.
This mask is specially formulated for acne-prone skin. It mattifies shiny skin, helps prevent breakouts and soothes redness.
Refreshing cleansing gel gently removes excess oil, debris and pore-clogging impurities.
Blackheads have nothing to do with dirt or how often you wash or scrub your face.
Exfoliating with a leave-on product refers to a process that breaks the bonds holding dry, dull cells to skin’s surface and inside the pore lining.
Two of the most persistent and difficult skin problems to treat are blackheads and enlarged pores.