How To Get Rid Of & Prevent Blackheads

How To Get Rid Of & Prevent Blackheads

Recurring blackheads are hard to get rid of – but with a few tweaks to your daily routine, experts and dermatologists believe you can minimise the problem effectively from the comfort of your own bathroom. Just follow these failsafe rules...

Understand What You’re Dealing With 

“A lot of people assume blackheads are a sign of overly dirty skin, but they’re not,” explains skincare expert and facialist, Teresa Tarmey. “Essentially, they’re a build-up of oil, dead skin and bacteria that clog hair follicles, making the surface look black or dark – hence why we call them blackheads. They are most common around the nose area but not restricted to there. Living in a city is a prime cause too, with pollution being one of the main triggers for congested pores and skin.” 

Avoid Scrubbing & Picking  

“Don’t try and scrub off or squeeze your blackheads, as this will just irritate the skin and make problems worse,” adds Sonia Deasy, founder of Pestle & Mortar. “Instead, opt for a good, daily cleansing routine and stick to it. Skin loves monotony and you’ll notice a big difference if you keep it up. Avoid overly astringent products too (this includes fragranced products and anything with sulphates), as these will just dry out the skin, triggering more sebum production, resulting in a further breakout of blackheads.” 

Use Acids Not Exfoliators  

“Physical exfoliators can work temporarily, but if you’re just relying on this as a treatment, you’ll notice your blackheads keep returning – an acid is much more effective,” explains skincare expert and global director of education at Pixi, Amanda Bell. “Salicylic acid is a great option for dissolving blackheads, especially when it’s left on the affected area. This is because it is a beta hydroxyl acid and has a larger molecular size, so it stays on the surface for longer, giving better results. Look for products with at least two per cent of salicylic acid and use it regularly in the morning and night.  Once the blackheads have cleared, continue using it to prevent pores from re-clogging. The only downside of salicylic is it can be quite drying, so depending on your complexion type, glycolic acid, which is less drying could be a better option.” 

Seek Out Micro-Needling For Quicker Results 

“If you’re impatient or want to reduce blackheads at lightning speed, then micro-needling is a great option. But that doesn’t mean you can skip a solid skincare regime post-treatment,” adds Teresa. “Blackheads will return, and the only way to keep them at bay is by maintaining your regime with regular use of acids. Look at micro-needling treatments which come with a variety of enhancing skincare products such as lactic acid toner and peptides, to maximise the impact. Lactic acid is another great all-rounder and instantly brightens the skin’s surface.” 

Don’t Ignore Steaming  

“A lot of people think steaming your face is a skincare myth, but it really does help bring loosen the blackheads and flush out your pores,” says Amanda. “That being said, for best results, let a professional show you the best way to do it first so you can then replicate the treatment at home. Seek out extraction facials – they will steam your face first and have the correct tools that will be sterilised for the best and safest results.” 

Try A Retinol

“Retinol is one of the best ways to clear clogged pores and prevent blackheads from forming,” adds Teresa. “Vitamin A works on the receptors in the skin to regulate cell turnover, alleviating congestion. Cleanse, tone, apply any serum, use your retinol and then moisturise – that’s your go-to regime right there. Retinol is very impactful, but people tend to over use it, or use it incorrectly in order to rush the overall effect. The key is to allow your skin to build tolerance to retinol slowly.” Dr Dennis Gross agrees: “Using a cocktail of acids at low levels [like retinol, glycolic and salicylic] will help to loosen the ‘glue’ that binds dead skin cells together. Once this dead skin is removed, you’re much less likely to run into an issue with cell build up, which is a key cause of blackheads. Blue LED is brilliant for balancing oil chemistry, too.” 

Keep Moisturising  

“A lot of people skip this step, but overly dry skin can actually start to produce more blackheads and oiliness,” says Teresa. “Avoid using oils as part of your routine, and seek out nourishing creams that are laced with acids. It goes without saying, but an SPF during the day is vital too, especially when using AHAs as they do make your skin more sensitive and susceptible to sun damage.”

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