No matter your skin color, texture, or type, you’ve probably suffered from the small, black spots, otherwise known as blackheads, somewhere on your face. Contrary to popular belief, just because blackheads look like dirt, they’re really not. They are a combination of oil, P. acnes (the bacteria that causes pimples), and dead skin cells collecting in a pore and oxidizing, which is what causes them to appear black. If it hasn’t oxidized, or reached the skin’s surface and been kissed by the air, it remains a whitehead. Oxidation actually kills the breakout causing bacteria, which is why they don’t turn into a zit.
And of course, like most beauty woes we have discussed on the blog, blackheads could be genetic. So, while you may want to blame your mother for these, there are plenty of everyday issues that can cause them, as well. Sleeping with makeup on, using sunscreen and other products with oil, as well as touching your face often can cause them to pop up. We’ve listed some key do’s and don’ts to help make blackheads a thing of the past.
We know this is easier said than done, but you could cause permanent damage or scarring to pores if you use those at-home tools built only for the pros. If you must squeeze (and we’re not judging), wrap your clean fingertips in a tissue and lightly push both sides. Squeezing or pushing too hard could cause blood vessels in the skin to break, forming a small blood blister - definitely more unsightly than a small black dot!
Nix the Pore Strips
Blackhead reducing pore strips have become ever so popular in recent years, with the skincare aisle filled with an overwhelming amount of options. However, these strips, while they can be effective in decreasing your blackhead count, can also literally strip your skin of healthy oils and moisture, leading to other unwanted skin problems.
Exfoliate Without Over-Exfoliating
Whether your preferred method of exfoliating is physical or chemical, keeping blackheads at bay is just another reason to add this crucial step to your skin care regime. A face brush is great for buffing away dead skin, but a chemical will always be more efficient. Try one with salicylic acid to really get deep down in there!
We Recommend: TTC Natural Enzyme Peel and Mask (can be used all over the face or just on the nose/chin/other problem areas!)
Practice Oil Control
Too much oil in the skin is a major cause of congestion that causes blackheads. Stick to oil-free products to reduce buildup, and if you’re naturally pretty oily, find an oil control serum or moisturizer to balance out the skin.
We recommend: LCA Gel Perfector
Keeping your face from getting too dry helps keep skin balanced and healthy, while also keeping dead skin flakes out of your pores. Find a solid, good-for-everyday moisturizer to use morning and night. Better yet, find one with retinol that can help regenerate skin cell growth and penetrate pores deeper to keep them cleaner longer!
We recommend: Q+SOD Moisturizing Cream