Blackheads - The Ultimate Must Read Guide to Prevent them!

Blackheads, we've all had them and we've certainly all tried to get rid of them. Problem is, some of our blackheads can be pretty stubborn and not want to move.

Even worse, once we do get rid of them... they keep coming back! There are a few steps you can take to safely and effectively remove blackheads as well as prevent them. 

Please Don't Squeeze!

Although it may be pretty quick and oddly satisfying, squeezing your blackheads is NOT the way to go. Squeezing your pesky blackheads out might be a quick fix but it definitely isn't the safest. You could cause a lot of damage to your skin by repeatedly prodding and poking around as explained in this article. The main problem is inflammation around the area you're squeezing. It's also unsafe due to bacteria on your fingers! The bacteria on your hands can easily end up in the pore itself causing you way more problems such as infection and breakouts. 

If you're looking to get your blackheads extracted, it's best to leave it to the professionals. A dermatologist is able to perform extractions in a clean environment without spreading bacteria. They're also much more knowledgeable when it comes to knowing exactly how to get the blackheads out. We know it's tempting! But avoid doing it at all costs or you could make it worse!

We know it's tempting! But avoid picking, poking and squeezing at all costs or you could make it worse and cause unnecessary scarring and pimples.

Clay and Mud Masks

Clay is a proven way to get rid of blackheads. What better way to get rid of your unwanted campers than to whack on a soothing, relaxing face mask? When wet, clay does an amazing job of drawing out impurities in the skin. It's extremely detoxifying and helps with much more than just blackheads. Clay can help to reduce acne and redness too! Mud masks, used on a regular basis, can also help to draw out oils and impurities and in the long term, help to regulate oil balance! They also contain an array of nutrients and vitamins that are great for the skin, leaving it feeling revitalised and fresh. You can see our Dead Sea Mud Mask here

Many people don't use masks enough, they should actually be a solid part of your skin care routine! Using a mask two to three times a week could make a dramatic difference to your skin and it's pretty relaxing! If you feel like you've tried pretty much everything for your clogged up pores, try a mask a few times a week and see the difference! How could you resist a little mid-week pamper session?!

Baking Soda Scrub

That's right! Raid your kitchen cupboards. Baking soda is a pretty well-known way of helping your blackheads move along! The most effective way to use this method is before a pore strip, it helps to really open up the pores allowing the strip to really grab whatever is in there! Really, exfoliating your face in general with your usual skin care would help blackheads but adding baking soda can really make a massive difference. Using this method regularly could not only help to remove what's already in the pores but also prevent them filling back up! It's a super affordable tip too. 

For an extra clean cleanse, try mixing the baking soda with apple cider vinegar! The vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial which is great for getting rid of any nasty bacteria snooping around your pores. This isn't recommended for everyday use, try to keep this down to once a week, twice if you really need!

Exfoliate 

Leading on from the above tip, making sure to exfoliate! Exfoliating is one of the best ways to prevent blackheads as well as remove them. This is because a lot of what makes up a blackhead is dead skin! Exfoliating removes your dead skin cells before they can form any little nasties in your pores. 

Top Tip: 

If you don't feel your facial exfoliator is doing it for you, try an electronic brush! You can get these with different types of heads to suit your skin. Don't use these every day as it could dry the skin out far too much, 2-3 times a week is what we'd recommend! You can read about the effects of over exfoliating in our previous blog post

Pore Strips

Otherwise known as super-satisfying and gross strips, right? Regardless of if you're pro icky pore strips or they just aren't your thing, they're pretty great. Pore strips can really remove your blackheads well and they're so much better to use than our fingers! There's less chance of getting new bacteria in your pores. 

For pore strips to remove blackheads effectively you need to prep your skin before hand! So many people think just sticking a strip on will rid them of their blackheads, but they're wrong! To prep your skin you should: 

  1. Open the pores. Do this by soaking either a washcloth or muslin cloth in hot water (as hot as you can handle) and pressing it over the desired area. Continue to do this for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Cleanse. Cleansing your skin before a pore strip is an important step. You want to make sure you've removed all the excess dirt so the strip can just cling to the blackheads and remove them for you. This would be the time to use our baking soda tip if you wish!
  3. Dampen the area. Make sure the area you'll be sticking your pore strip, usually the T-zone, is damp. Not soaking wet. If the area is too wet, the pore strip won't work. You don't want a lot of moisture, just enough for the strip to adhere to the area. 

There will be instructions on the pack informing you on how long to leave it on. Most take around 20-25 minutes to harden up and do their job. Make sure you're peeling them off really slowly and gently. If you rip it off too hard or quickly, the strip may not pick up the blackheads and it would be pretty painful! 

You can use pore strips as and when they are needed but we wouldn't recommend using them more than once a week. Over-using these products can cause dryness, especially around your nose and T-zone. You shouldn't need to use them more than once a week or once every two weeks if you keep a great skin care routine! 

Facials 

Going for a facial is always acceptable, we don't need an excuse! But if you were looking for one, persistent blackheads would be one! There are many different types of facials that do different things for your skin. Brightening, anti-ageing, de-puffing our faces, peeling, you name it! 

Microdermabrasion

The go-to for removing and preventing blackheads! It's actually great for a lot of things including acne/breakouts, clogged/congested skin, wrinkles and scarring. It can even be performed on your body for stretch marks! 

It's a non-invasive treatment that is suitable for all skin types. Microdermabrasion works by spraying microcrystals onto the skin. These micro-crystals remove all dead & dry skin on the outer layer of your skin. It's like an intense exfoliator but much more high-tech. Not only does it get rid of the things you don't want but it actually encourages the growth of new skin cells. The new cells contain more collagen, leaving the skin looking more youthful and plumper. 

The frequency you get this treatment depends on your skin's tolerance to it. Some people are able to go for weekly appointments whereas some people go every once in a while. You should have a consultation before your treatment, here they'll be able to advise you on any questions you may have. 

Retinoids 

Retiwhat's?! Retinoids are one of the most effective blackhead treatments. Simply put, retinoids contain vitamers of vitamin A (stick with us!), these chemical compounds can work magic! They're able to unclog your pores and plump your skin leaving fine lines and wrinkles looking more subtle. You can get so many retinoid creams on the market now, make sure you do your research into what is best for your skin! There are certain products you shouldn't mix retinoids with such as other acids which could deactivate them so make sure you do your reading.

Charcoal

Activated charcoal is great to use on blackheads. It's essentially just charcoal that has been treated with oxygen. Activated charcoal works as a magnet. It really helps to draw the blackheads out of your pores much better than other products. This is why you can find charcoal in a lot of masks and pore strips, it draws out all of the dirt and oils leaving you with fresher skin. 

You can buy products with charcoal already in them or even make your own charcoal mask as long as you're using skin safe products! Just like using face masks you should use charcoal to draw out blackheads a few times a week but not daily. 

Glycolic Acid

This is essentially another way to exfoliate. Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells which is removing all the dirt and grime clogging your pores causing blackheads and breakouts. Glycolic acid can help to regulate oil production, turning very oily and blackhead prone skin to more combination and manageable skin. You can use acid peels at home a few times a week or you can go to a professional and get it done as needed. Getting an acid peel done professionally is much more intense than doing it at home. It's always best to go for a consulation before receiving any professional treatment so you know exactly what to expect during and after the procedure! 

If you're into the idea of using acids there are many different types you can try. Another great option is salicylic acid. One thing to look out for when using acid is sun damage. Using acids on our face can make us more susceptible to burning and damage from the sun. Always remember to use sun protection when you're out and about!

Non-Comedogenic 

Keep your eyes peeled for non-comedogenic products. Non-comedogenic means these products will not clog your pores or trap any oils underneath the skin. A lot of heavier skin care products can add to our pore problems! Many people fail to check the ingredients in their skin care meaning they don't really know what they're putting on their faces. It's best to do a little research into ingredients in the products you are using to see if they can clog pores. If you're finding your skin care products are clogging your pores, give something else a try! 

We'll never truly be able to prevent every single blackhead forming in our pores but we can give it a go! Blackheads may be unsightly and annoying but it's something we have to deal with from time to time. With a combination of good skin care and a little knowledge, which you now have, you should be able to clear them up in no time and prevent new blackheads forming! 

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