We all seem rather embarrassed by the idea of blackheads. It’s an odd state of affairs as it’s not as if these little blemishes are particularly rare. There’s probably not a single person on Earth who hasn’t had some at one time or another.

This being the case, there should be no shame in asking other people for advice on how to get rid of the things. And yet, rather than do that, we type shy inquiries into our search bars about what we should do.

Part of this is probably down to the way skin care products are advertised. After all, sales aren’t going to go up if we’re being assured that ‘no one will even notice’ and ‘aren’t you a handsome man/woman’.

Instead we find ourselves in a sea of adverts saying that we’ll be chased through town by an angry mob if we don’t buy the advertiser’s product.

In addition to crippling our self-confidence, this glut of adverts for specialized products makes it quite difficult to work out what is the best approach to dealing with blackheads. Truth be told, blackheads are amongst the simplest types of blemish to clear off your face. They don’t require a prescription or a specialized treatment to shift them. Instead a few changes to your skincare routine and the occasional face mask should send them packing. There’s no way to stop them coming back (that’s life) but there are a number of ways to get rid of them.

This article will not only provide you with your options for blackhead extermination, but we’ll explain what blackheads actually are. This will also cover how they differ from other kinds of acne. Also included is a do-it-yourself section and a frequently-asked questions list. Don’t say we never do anything for you.

SUMMARY

  • Blackheads are a type of acne and are, therefore, inflamed. However, they are the least inflamed kind of acne there is.
  • Acne treatments that work for whiteheads and pimples don’t do a particularly good job at dealing with blackheads.
  • In terms of treatments that are effective against blackheads, Salicylic acid is a widely used acne-fighting ingredient that is effective at reducing blackheads. It does such a good job due to its exfoliating and drying properties.
  • Another effective remedy for clearing the blackheads away is sulfur. This ingredient works by gently drying the skin.
  • Retinoids are another option, though this one is a bit more hit and miss than the previous two. Depending on the person’s skin type they might get rid of the blackheads, or it might result in the skin drying out and flaking; which can lead to more acne.
  • If you need a cheap, do-it-yourself, option and you don’t mind smelling zesty, lemon juice can do a good job. Though, as you’re rubbing citric acid on your face, it can be harsh on your skin. It can also cause some discoloration on dark skin.
  • Some people swear by toothpaste or baking soda as acne treatments, but these people are provably wrong. Not only are these substances very harsh on your skin, they have been proven to be very ineffective when it comes to treating acne.

Inflammation, Acne, And Blackheads

As we’ve already mentioned it, now is as good a time as any to discuss inflammation and how it relates to blackheads (as well as acne in general).

First of all, whiteheads and blackheads are traditionally categorized as ‘non-inflamed acne’. This may seem a bit confusing considering we referred to them as inflamed before, but bear with us. This misleading terminology comes from an older (and now outdated) of the causes of acne. At the time, doctors believed that a bacterium called p. acnes was the cause of acne.

Therefore, they thought that pimples and cysts were examples of acne that had become inflamed while whiteheads and blackheads were 100% inflammation free. Since then it’s been discovered that inflammation is the primary reason for all types of acne.

However, sometimes a term can end up sticking and blackheads and whiteheads are still known as ‘non-inflammatory’. There is a certain method to the seeming madness of keeping the name. After all, if inflammation is the root cause of all acne, why are there different types?

Acne varies from the humble blackhead to the hugely unwelcome cyst. The distinction comes from the fact that, while they were caused by inflammation, the inflammation has not gone any further. If it does keep advancing, then the blackheads and whiteheads advance to the level of papules; the charming mid-way point between a blackhead and a pimple.
Now that we’ve established that inflammation does lead to acne, let’s now move onto why it does cause it;
Inflammation of the skin can have any number of causes; one of the most common is stress. No one lives a life free of stress and many of us have stressful lives and obligations. Extended periods of stress beyond a certain threshold can lead to inflammation. It could also be the result of an external irritant. Different people have skins of different sensitivities and encountering something that irritates it can lead to inflammation. These irritants can range from an ingredient in a facial wash to a type of material. Or it could even be caused by an infection somewhere in your body (it doesn’t even have to be the same part of the body as where the inflammation appears). These are just some of the more common reasons.

The human body is a network of different systems running alongside each other and there can be a lot of different ways things can go wrong. When something does go wrong, inflammation causes the skin to swell, sometimes on a microscopic level. When that happens, the holes in your skin (your pores) are forced to contract due to there suddenly being less room for them. When this happens, anything currently in your pores gets stuck there.

This includes the oil your skin naturally produces (called sebum) that keeps it waterproof and lubricated. Other detainees include dead skin cells and our old friend p. acnes bacteria. Depending on the level of inflammation the pores can close completely; creating a whitehead. If they don’t close all the way, leaving the pore open to the air. And this is where blackheads come from.

Another bit of disinformation spread by many acne advertisers is the idea that dirt has anything to do with blackheads. The general idea is that blackheads are darker colored because they are the result of dirt trapped in your pores.

Like a lot of things that ‘everyone knows’ this is entirely untrue. You could shower five times a day and leave the house in a diving suit and you’d still be just as likely to develop blackheads as the next person.

The actual reason that blackheads take on the color they do is the fact the pores aren’t entirely closed. The sebum and dead skin cells are still exposed to the air in way that whiteheads are not. Anyone who has taken a bite out of an apple and put it down for a while should have a good idea of why blackheads change color. The exposure to the air will oxidize the sebum, turning it a dark color; just like the half-eaten apple.

Treating Different Kinds of Acne

Now that we’ve established acne’s tragic backstory, a lot of you will probably want to move from ‘why do I have acne?’ to ‘how do I get rid of it?’

If you want to get rid of your acne, there’s no single, absolute answer. What works for blackheads isn’t the best solution for whiteheads. The same holds true as we climb the acne severity scale from papules to pimples and cysts.

What all of these blemishes have in common is that they were caused by inflammation. But each one was caused by inflammation under slightly different circumstances.

You need to follow the same logic as would when it comes to dealing with different types of fire. All of them were started by heat, fuel and oxygen coming together, but an electrical fire needs a different extinguisher than a paper fire.

For example, pimples and cysts are caused when bacteria get trapped below the skin. With nowhere to go, the bacteria do what it does best and causes a minor infection. Therefore, if you want to get rid of a pimple or a cyst, you need a solution that targets and removes the bacteria from the situation.

As a result, antibiotics used to be prescribed for most cases of acne. However, with antibiotic resistance increasingly rearing its ugly head, this is a less effective option these days. These days, the champion’s throne for clearing acne is held by benzoyl peroxide.

Benzoyl tears through bacteria like nobody’s business and doesn’t have to worry about antibiotic resistance. In low concentrations (2.5% max) benzoyl peroxide goes through pimples and cysts like a hot knife through butter.

However, as we’ve already said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting rid of acne. So, while benzoyl peroxide wipes out pimples and cysts, it doesn’t do a huge amount of good against blackheads. This is due to it targeting bacteria that isn’t really present in blackheads. It won’t make your blackheads any worse, but it won’t make any headway in getting rid of them either.

Instead, you need something that will clear out the sebum and dead skin cells stuck in your pores. So, instead, you’ll want to look towards exfoliating or drying agents if you want to see results.

Out of the options that you don’t need a prescription for, your best bet for unclogging those blackheads would be salicylic acid and sulfur. Another possible choice would be a retinoid; however, this isn’t as good a choice as the first two if you have dry skin

 

Salicylic Acid: Breaking Up Blackheads

As we’ve already mentioned it, now is as good a time as any to discuss inflammation and how it relates to blackheads (as well as acne in general).

First of all, whiteheads and blackheads are traditionally categorized as ‘non-inflamed acne’. This may seem a bit confusing considering we referred to them as inflamed before, but bear with us. This misleading terminology comes from an older (and now outdated) of the causes of acne. At the time, doctors believed that a bacterium called p. acnes was the cause of acne.

Therefore, they thought that pimples and cysts were examples of acne that had become inflamed while whiteheads and blackheads were 100% inflammation free. Since then it’s been discovered that inflammation is the primary reason for all types of acne.

However, sometimes a term can end up sticking and blackheads and whiteheads are still known as ‘non-inflammatory’. There is a certain method to the seeming madness of keeping the name. After all, if inflammation is the root cause of all acne, why are there different types? Acne varies from the humble blackhead to the hugely unwelcome cyst.

The distinction comes from the fact that, while they were caused by inflammation, the inflammation has not gone any further. If it does keep advancing, then the blackheads and whiteheads advance to the level of papules; the charming mid-way point between a blackhead and a pimple.

Now that we’ve established that inflammation does lead to acne, let’s now move onto why it does cause it;
Inflammation of the skin can have any number of causes; one of the most common is stress. No one lives a life free of stress and many of us have stressful lives and obligations.

Extended periods of stress beyond a certain threshold can lead to inflammation. It could also be the result of an external irritant. Different people have skins of different sensitivities and encountering something that irritates it can lead to inflammation.

These irritants can range from an ingredient in a facial wash to a type of material. Or it could even be caused by an infection somewhere in your body (it doesn’t even have to be the same part of the body as where the inflammation appears).

These are just some of the more common reasons. The human body is a network of different systems running alongside each other and there can be a lot of different ways things can go wrong.

When something does go wrong, inflammation causes the skin to swell, sometimes on a microscopic level. When that happens, the holes in your skin (your pores) are forced to contract due to there suddenly being less room for them. When this happens, anything currently in your pores gets stuck there.

This includes the oil your skin naturally produces (called sebum) that keeps it waterproof and lubricated. Other detainees include dead skin cells and our old friend p. acnes bacteria. Depending on the level of inflammation the pores can close completely; creating a whitehead. If they don’t close all the way, leaving the pore open to the air. And this is where blackheads come from.

Another bit of disinformation spread by many acne advertisers is the idea that dirt has anything to do with blackheads. The general idea is that blackheads are darker colored because they are the result of dirt trapped in your pores. Like a lot of things that ‘everyone knows’ this is entirely untrue. You could shower five times a day and leave the house in a diving suit and you’d still be just as likely to develop blackheads as the next person.

The actual reason that blackheads take on the color they do is the fact the pores aren’t entirely closed. The sebum and dead skin cells are still exposed to the air in way that whiteheads are not. Anyone who has taken a bite out of an apple and put it down for a while should have a good idea of why blackheads change color. The exposure to the air will oxidize the sebum, turning it a dark color; just like the half-eaten apple.

If you have read this and decided Salicylic Acid is the way forward for you, then check out our Top 3 Salicylic Acid Cleansers.

ProductOur Rating

Misumi skin cleanser
#1. Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Key features: This cleanser uses salicylic acid for a deep pore-penetrating power that will clear any active breakouts.

  • 4 fl oz
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Produces collagen for a youthful complexation
  • Pore-penetrating exfoliant to clear active breakouts
  • Soothes and calms pimples


Proactiv face wash

#2. Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash

Key features: Designed to handle both active breakouts and minimize acne scarring, making it a great multi-action product for those who suffer from breakouts.

  • 16 fl oz
  • Gentle exfoliant beads
  • Works deep into the skin to keep it clear
  • Incredibly refreshing wash
  • Reveals bright and clear complexation

Replenix Cleanser
#3 Replenix Acne Solution Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser

Key features: This cleanser combines glycolic acid with salicylic acid for the ultimate acne treatment. These two acids work to clear breakouts, exfoliate pores and smooth skin.

  • 6.7 ounces
  • Promotes exfoliation within the skin’s pores
  • Includes green tea extracts to soothe and soften skin
  • Two acids to clear both surface and deep grime
  • Prevents future breakouts as well as treating active pimples


Sulfur: A Gentle Drying Agent

In the arena of skincare, how much a treatment dries out your skin is a crucial battleground. We’ve said this before (and we’ll keep saying it because this is important) but your skin drying out too much is a factor that leads to acne.

Quite often, if someone brings up a product’s ability to dry your skin out, it’s meant in a negative sense. But, up to a certain point, drying out your skin is an important factor in keeping it healthy.

Excess sebum needs to be removed; if allowed to build up it’ll just end up clogging your pores. The challenge is finding an acne-fighting ingredient that walks that fine line between leaving too much oil and taking too much.

Sulfur is one of those wonderful agents that is both effective and gentle. Of course, once again, there is no miracle acne treatment that you can slather on without consequence.

Like with salicylic acid, it’s a good idea to start with the lowest possible concentration and slowly build up until you find the perfect amount for your particular skin type. In general, though, sulfur is an excellent choice blackhead-busting for all skin types except dry skin.

Which isn’t to say sulfur doesn’t have its own drawbacks and is a perfect example of how not all drawbacks are about how the product affects your skin. Some of you might associate sulfur with the smell of very rotten eggs and, honestly, you guys aren’t wrong.

Some products which use sulfur try to counter the smell by using fragrances to drown it out. This is a brave attempt, but you can’t have things both ways. Adding fragrances will mask the rotten egg smell but they are well known for irritating the skin.

It really boils down to what your priorities are; sulfur smells funky but it is really effective at fighting blackheads. Firstly, drying out the excess sebum is a priority if you want to prevent blackheads forming. The, slightly less obvious, other way it helps fight blackheads is through the way it gently dries the skin.

Drying the skin just slightly can help loosen the sebum that’s already clogging your pores. This can prevent blackheads from forming or, at the very least, prevent the buildup of more sebum from adding to the problem.

As you can imagine, such a useful ingredient such as sulfur can be found in a lot of topical acne treatments. These range from facewashes to serums and this means that the concentration used will vary from product to product. Non-prescription products can have anything from 3% to 10% concentrations of sulfur.

While sulfur is generally gentle on the skin, going for 10% right off the bat is leaping straight in the deep end. As with salicylic acid, the best approach is to start with the lowest concentration. If it appears to be helping, then you can start slowly increasing the concentration that you use.

Something to keep in mind with regards to sulfur is that the effects of its work often show themselves slowly. Don’t write it off just because you don’t see any difference in the first week or so.

Sulfur and Salicylic acid, like all anti-acne ingredients, have their own specific strengths and weakness. This is why the most effective acne treatments combine multiple elements to treat all different types of acne at once. This is important from a practicality perspective because, the more individual steps in your skincare routine, the more likely you are to skip steps. Life is busy and there’s no guarantee you’ll always have the time to work your way through a ten-step skincare routine every morning.

This is why we’re so enthusiastic about Exposed Skincare; they combine over fourteen different acne-fighting ingredients, including salicylic acid and sulfur, into one product.

 

What About Retinoids?

Despite sounding like the title to a sci-fi based sitcom, this is a very important question. This is because, if you’ve ever been to a dermatologist for help with acne the odds are fantastic that they prescribed you some kind of retinoid.

This might have been Retin-A, Tazorac or even Differin (which you can also get over-the-counter). There are lots of different kinds of Retinoids and dermatologists absolutely love them. This love isn’t without reason, as they are very effective for treating acne. The problem is that as far as treatments go, Retinoids are pretty harsh on the skin.

There’s no denying that they’ll make short work of your blackheads, but there’s a reason that we don’t include them in our selection of top recommendations. It’s for the same reason that we recommend starting off with lower concentrations of salicylic acid and sulfur before building up.

Good skincare is about getting rid of acne without aggravating your skin, or otherwise damaging its integrity. Retinoids are best used for dealing with higher level acne like cysts while using gentler options for dealing with lesser acne like blackheads.

Retinoids are, essentially, concentrated forms of various vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that our bodies make use of. Concentrated doses, of the variety that make up Retinoids, can actually stimulate new skin growth.

Those of you who have been paying attention will have noticed that this is the exact opposite effect that salicylic acid has. You may be wondering how both treatments can be used to treat the same problem (blackheads) if they have opposing effects.

The trick is that Retinoids and salicylic acid approach the issue from different perspectives to achieve the same result. Salicylic acid takes the cause of blackheads (buildup of dead skin cells that clog pores) and deals with it by slowing down the shedding of dead skin cells. With the output lowered, it’s less likely that there will be enough of a buildup to cause a clog.

Retinoids, on the other hand, take the skin shedding issue and turn it on its head to find an answer. By stimulating skin growth, the number of dead cells being shed accelerates. The sheer output of dead skin cells steadily forces the earlier cells out of your pores by sheer pressure, clearing out the clog. With skin cell production through the roof, future clogs are made less likely as the dead cells are steadily forced out.

In some ways, this is a more effective approach than reducing cell production; pores that are constantly emptying themselves are less likely to clog than pores that are just filling very slowly. The problem with Retinoids comes from the impact that constant cell production overdrive has on the skin. This is especially an issue for people with dry skin.

Increased turnover of skin cells is not without consequence as it can steadily lead to burning, itching and peeling skin. This can lead to irritation of the skin which is why we don’t like using Retinoids as a first resort when it comes to acne as basic as blackheads. Inflammation is the inevitable result of skin irritation and, as we’re sure you haven’t forgotten, inflammation is the core cause of acne.

Avoiding irritation is the single most important step you can take to prevent the onset of acne. And preventing the formation of acne is much easier than getting rid of it once it’s there.

The Truth About Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Now that we’ve covered what medicine and nature can both do to help fight your acne, it’s time to change gears a bit. We’re now going to cover what you absolutely shouldn’t do in your campaign against acne.

If you found this article via a search engine, you probably found a storm of results insisting that toothpaste and/or baking soda are the holy grail of acne treatments. So, we’d like to start this section by congratulating you for ignoring all that nonsense and continuing on to us.

The idea that toothpaste or baking soda are superb anti-acne weapons are strangely persistent rumors that seem to have more staying power than acne itself. The only reason we can think of as to why these old wives’ tales persist is because of how widely spread they are. Presumably people introduced to them assume that there must be something to them simply due to how widespread they are.

Baking soda to fight acne scabsHowever, as any dermatologist (or person who actually tried smearing toothpaste on their faces) can tell you, they simply don’t work. In fact, they can even make things worse. Actual acne treatments are specially formulated with clearing your skin in mind. Meanwhile, toothpaste was designed to maintain the enamel on teeth. There isn’t a huge amount of crossover between those two jobs. In fact, toothpaste contains a great deal of ingredients that actively irritate the skin.

These include sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride; at the very best, these ingredients will briefly reduce redness. However, there are so many better options to do this that won’t cause more acne. Baking Soda does have some medical uses, but none of them are anywhere near your face.

For those of you looking a solution to redness that won’t result in massive outbreaks of acne, one of our favorite remedies are green tea ice cubes. Green tea is well known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. It is also excellent at reducing redness of the skin.

So, if you do have an outbreak of redness that you need to get under control, simply brew some green tea. Let the tea steep until it’s cool and then pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Once the ice cubes have formed, take one and apply it to the breakout. Keep it pressed to the skin for five minutes and then remove for five minutes. Continue alternating until the blemish has reduced.

Do-It-Yourself Solutions on How to Get Rid of Blackheads:

If you’ve been reading all this information on acne treatments and the ingredients up to this point, there may be some of you who are wondering about something.

Do you have to buy and use a professional treatment to deal with your blackheads? Maybe you don’t have much spare budget for skincare products right now. Maybe you’re just uncomfortable with slathering various solutions on your face. While there is no reason to be concerned as long as you apply them sensibly and do your research, you do have other options.

For more information visit our home remedies page.

Regardless of your reasons if you want to try a do-it-yourself approach to skincare, we do have information on what you can try. Also, we’ll let you know about some things you absolutely shouldn’t use, but we’ll get to those.

We’ll begin this section with a little disclaimer up front. Lemon juice can be reasonably effective at purging blackheads, but you really shouldn’t make any plans to add it to your regular skincare routine. Regularly rubbing citric acid on your face won’t do you any favors in the long run.

Lemon juice is one of those remedies where people mistakenly believe the burning sensation is a sign that it’s working.

As we’ve already discussed, stinging and burning sensations are signs you’re hurting your skin rather than helping it. So, if you’re completely set on using lemon juice, we strongly recommend that you only use it on oily areas with blackheads. Applying it to dry, sensitive, (or even just normal) areas of skin is just asking for trouble. And by trouble, we mean irritation, inflammation and, you guessed it, more acne.

With that out the way, let’s move onto the best way to use lemon juice. To begin with, you should make sure that you get your juice from a fresh lemon. Prepacked lemon juice almost always has a mix of preservatives and other ingredients in it. These ingredients are great for extending shelf life, but your skin probably won’t appreciate them very much.

In terms of quantity, you won’t need much juice to work with; use a quarter of a lemon at absolute most. Squeeze the juice into a bowl before using a cotton ball to absorb the juice. Once done, then gently dab the cotton ball onto the affected areas, being careful to avoid dry skin. Once done, we generally advise you to let it set for an hour before removing

. However, if you feel if your skin begins to burn, itch or otherwise feel uncomfortable, wash it off immediately. Either way, when it’s time to wash it off, rinse using warm water. This will cause your pores to open, removing the sebum and dead skin cells that have been clogging your pores. Pat your face dry with a towel and you’re done.

Coconut mask for dull skin.Honey

Lemon juice is a reasonably effective option for people with fair skin. However, it is very much not recommended for people with dark skin. You’re probably aware that lemon juice has an abundance of vitamin C in it. When this much vitamin C is applied to dark skin it can cause discoloration in the form of white spots and light patches. We don’t have any other DIY ingredients that work as well against blackheads as lemon juice. What we can offer is a very effective way of preventing blackheads from forming in the first place; honey.

Honey is a treatment that works well with all skin tones and types and is hugely effective at reducing new outbreaks of acne. While it has no impact on existing blackheads, it helps prevent future outbreaks via its powerful anti-inflammatory qualities. By removing the requirements for blackheads to form in the first lace, this powerful natural agent can help keep your skin unblemished.

In some respects, this makes honey a better choice that lemon juice. Like we keep saying; preventing acne outbreaks is far better than fighting them once they arrive.

If you’ve decided to make use of honey, it can be applied directly to the skin without the need for other ingredients. As with lemon juice, make sure you’re using pure honey. There is a certain amount of debate about whether the type of honey has any impact. On the one hand, some studies have shown that Manuka honey is the best choice for treating acne.

On the other hand, different studies have found no significance between different types of honey with regards to their acne-fighting benefits. In the absence of any clear consensus, we advise letting your heart decide. And by ‘heart’ we mean ‘wallet’. With no clear ‘best’ honey to choose, you might as well use whichever one is lightest on your budget. The only other factor to keep in mind is making sure the honey you’re using has no added ingredients such as fructose or water as these will reduce the benefits of the honey.

Apply the honey to your skin and let it sit for twenty minutes to one hour. Once done, rinse off with cool water and pat yourself dry with a towel.

Some studies also suggest that ingesting honey can also help fight inflammation. If smearing honey over your face is too messy for your liking (or if you just want to eat some honey) you can try eating a spoonful of honey a day. Alternatively, you could put that spoonful in your tea. Either way, this could also help fight inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the final section of this article, we’re going to answer a few questions that get tossed around a lot. Let’s begin with this one;

Q. Is it bad to “pop” blackheads?

A. Well, first of all, you can’t really pop blackheads in the way most people think. A quick web search will produce hundreds of satisfyingly disgusting videos of people popping pimples and having a lot of mess come oozing out. Blackheads aren’t really pronounced enough to pop them this way.

You can, however, press down on them hard enough to eject some of the sebum and dead skin cells inside. So, you ‘can’ pop blackheads, but ‘should’ you?

To be entirely honest, the only type of acne you ‘should’ pop are fully formed pimples. You can tell if a pimple is fully formed by whether or not it has a fully defined white or yellowish head. Even in situations like this, you need to be extremely gentle in how you go about doing it. To be perfectly honest, popping blackheads isn’t the best move you can make and can even lead to scarring.

However, if you’re absolutely determined to do this then there is a ‘right’ way to go about doing it that will, at least, minimize the risks. To begin with, wash your hands before you do anything. The last thing you need is for bacteria to get into the freshly popped blackheads because of grubby fingers.

Secondly, even if your blackheads are proving difficult to pop, resist the urge to scrub at your skin. Ingredients in face products aren’t the only way to irritate your skin; pressing your fingers against your face and wiggling isn’t going to take things in a direction you’ll like.

Unless you like irritation and inflammation of course. When you go to press down on your blackheads, make sure to use the pad of your finger rather than your nail. Using your nails to pop them is pretty much just asking for acne scars. Once you have popped your blackheads and removed some of the sebum and skin cells that was clogging your pores, wash your hands. Also wash your face, just make sure you do so gently.

Just to clarify, the above advice is if you absolutely can’t be talked out of popping them. These tips minimize dangers like acne scarring, they don’t remove them entirely. There are so many better ways to get rid of blackheads that you should try before resorting to popping.

Make sure the products you use in your skincare routine are optimized to your skin. Even try a homemade lemon or honey mask first.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, is all we’re saying.

 

Q. It seems like a lot of your tips work for everyone except people with dry skin. What are we supposed to do?

A. Sorry about that; it’s honestly nothing personal. The reason for this is that a lot of acne-fighting ingredients dry out the skin as they work. Great for the oilier skin types, not so much for people with dry skin.

Given everything we’ve said about oil clogging your pores leading to blackheads, what we’re about to say may come off as just a little bit counter intuitive. Nevertheless, hear us out; if you have dry skin and acne, one of the best things you can do is moisturize it.

It’s true that too much oil on the skin isn’t great, but not enough oil comes with its own set of problems.

Dry skin is easily irritated skin, irritated skin leads to inflammation and inflammation (say it with us) is the core cause of acne. If you’re lucky, it will just lead to blackheads instead of pimples and cysts. A sensible level of moisturization will reverse the contraction of your pores, reducing the likelihood that they will become clogged.

Of course, there is such a thing as going too far the other way. Having dry skin doesn’t mean it’s the oil-based equivalent of being bulletproof. This means you shouldn’t just grab the first moisturizer off the shelf and start slathering it over your face. So, before you pick a moisturizer, you need to check the ingredient labels and look for the following.

First of all, you need to check to see if the product contains alcohol. If it does, it’s not necessarily out of the running but any product with more than one type of alcohol-based ingredient in should be put back immediately.

Examples of alcohol-based ingredients include things like glycerol or isopropyl alcohol. The reason moisturizers contain alcohol-based ingredients is that they do serve a handy purpose; they spread the other ingredients around the mixture evenly. This does result in the mixture working more effectively, but how much alcohol they used is an important factor. Too much alcohol (and it doesn’t take much, alcohol really isn’t great as a skincare product) and it will irritate the skin. This goes doubly so for anyone who has a dry skin type.

The second thing you need to look for when deciding on your skincare weapon of choice are one of several phrases. These phrases are ‘non-comedogenic’, ‘non-pore-clogging’ or, simply, ‘oil-free’. Simply because you have dry skin, doesn’t mean that your pores are immune to getting clogged. If you use the wrong moisturizer, all you will be doing is introducing large quantities of oil to do just that.

What those three phrases mean (and variations thereof) is that, on the comedogenicity scale, the product is unlikely to clog your pores.

CONCLUSION

Throughout this article we’ve provided you with a lot of information on what you should put on your skin and what those things will do for your it.

We’ve also discussed what things you really shouldn’t use and what they will do to your skin if you do. Between all this and the breakdown of why blackheads form, we’ve given you a lot of information to sort through.

Therefore, we’d like to close out by streamlining your focus into a central idea that you should put at the core of your skincare routine. Whatever type of skin you have, no matter how much money you have in your skincare budget, your main goal is to avoid irritating your skin.

Skincare is a very deep subject and even an article just on blackheads has this much information. But all of the flood of skincare options are just different ways to reach the same goal; preventing irritation of your skin. Irritation leads directly to inflammation which, (one last time), is the core cause of all types of acne.

The art of skincare ultimately breaks down into two stages. The first stage is to tackle any irritation or inflammation you currently have and return your skin to the healthiest state possible.

Once you’ve achieved the blackhead free, unblemished skin you’ve always wanted, your priority shifts to maintaining this state of affairs. So, make use of the information in this article and, once again, please don’t smear toothpaste on your face. It REALLY won’t help you at all.