What are Blackheads?
Blackheads are a form of acne which is most common in people with oily skin, however, it can be developed into any skin type. When excess oil and dead skin cells combine, they form blackheads. This problem arises due to clogged pores, pores might get clogged due to dirt, pollution, excess oil produced on the skin, etc.
The areas which might get affected by blackheads are the face (especially the nose and forehead), back, neck, and chest. Blackheads usually start developing when dirt and excess oil on the skin starts breaking into the surface of the skin, leading to the formation of black bump-like structures on the skin. One might try to pinch or push it out of the skin but this may lead to scars and skin damage.
How to Treat Blackheads?
To treat blackheads, the basic step is to exfoliate, soften the skin and remove the blackheads. To avoid blackheads in the future one must take good care of the skin. There are various ways to treat active blackheads:
- Skin cleansing
Always keep the skin clean and dry which will help to reduce the production of excess oil. Try using the face wash/cleanser which contains salicylic acid as it is a preferred ingredient to treat blackheads and whiteheads.
It helps to reduce the excess oil on the skin and removes dead skin cells. Wash the face twice a day, to keep the skin clean and free from dirt.
- Use AHA’s & BHA’s
AHA and BHA help to remove blackheads by removing the top layer of the skin which can help to cleanse the pores and make the skin softer. Instead of using harsh scrubs on the skin and affecting the skin, one can simply choose AHA/BHA cleansers.
Salicylic acid is a common BHA and Glycolic acid is an AHA.
- Using a Skin Brush
A skin brush work’s similar to AHA’s & BHA’s, however, it is not recommended for people with sensitive skin as it might damage the skin. Skin brush should be used occasionally along with a gentle cleanser.
Skin brush cleans and exfoliates the skin to open the pores and removes impurities and dead skin. It reduces the appearance of pores, helps in making the skin smooth, and removes dead skin.
- Use a Clay/Charcoal Mask
Clay masks can be used once a week and are considered a must-have for people with oily skin. It helps to remove oils and toxins which unclog the pores and help to remove blackheads. Some clay masks contain sulfur, which helps to break down the dead skin cells that contribute to the formation of blackheads.
- Chemical Peel
Chemical peels usually contain AHA’s and BHA’s. They help to remove dead skin cells and shrink the enlarged pores. Chemical peels are usually recommended for anti-aging benefits such as age spots and fine lines.
- Use Non Comedogenic Products
Noncomedogenic products refer to products that do not lead to clogged pores. These products play an important role in the removal of blackheads as all products are not non-comedogenic.
One must use non-comedogenic makeup and skin care products to get rid of blackheads and avoid them in the future.
- Remove makeup before going to bed
Always remove makeup before going to bed, as sleeping with makeup on can lead to clogging of pores which leads to blackheads. Makeup can be removed with the help of foaming cleansers, micellar water, and makeup remover cleansing balm.
The choice of product can be according to the skin type and the makeup type.
- Consulting a Dermatologist
New acne or blackheads can take effect in 6 to 12 weeks. One can consult a dermatologist if they see pre-existing blackheads, as a dermatologist can use tools to extract the blackheads and prescribe cleansers and toners according to the skin type.
This will help to avoid blackheads in the future as well.
- Use Oil-free sunscreen
Using sunscreen every day helps to protect the skin from UV rays and also acts as a barrier to dirt and pollution which leads to clogged pores and causes blackheads. Using an oil-free sunscreen is recommended especially for people with oily skin type as excess oil on the skin causes clogged pores and leads to blackheads.
- Use pore strips
Pore strips can be used once a week. They are applied on wet skin, allowed to harden, and then peeled off. They contain adhesive which pulls off the excess oil, dirt, and dead skin from the surface of the skin. The adhesive in the strips sticks to the contents of the blocked pores and removes them as the strip is pulled away.
- Always stay hydrated
Make sure to drink lots of liquid, especially water which helps to clear the skin by removing toxins from the body in the form of urine. Water also keeps the skin glowing with the help of vitamins and minerals in it.
What should be avoided?
Below practices must be avoided as they can lead to skin damage:
- Blackhead extractor: A metal or plastic tool which has an opening at the end creates pressure on the pore and removes the blackheads, this should not be used by someone on their own as it can damage the skin or lead to bacteria building in the skin.
- Popping or Pressing: Trying to pop or press a blackhead can lead to pain, scares, acne, or skin infection. It also opens the pores on the skin which accumulates oil and bacteria into the skin and leads to acne or skin infections. This should be done by a dermatologist only.
- Using Toothpaste: Toothpaste contains antibacterial properties, however, it also contains properties that can irritate or damage the skin.
- Using Suction devices: Suction devices may sound appealing to deal with blackheads, however, suction is harmful to delicate skin and leads to broken blood vessels on the skin.
- Harsh Scrubs: Using harsh scrubs on sensitive skin may lead to dead skin cells. It can strip off the natural oil from the skin and lead to more oil generation on the skin which leads to clogged pores and blackheads.
- Tight clothes: Avoid tight clothes in a humid environment as they do not soak the sweat and oil produced on the body and lead to clogged pores.
- Avoid the use of oil-based & alcohol-based products.
Many products in the market can help you in solving the problem of blackheads. This is a very common problem. You can use the best facial toner like skin toner cream that will keep your skin tone even after these problems.