Blackheads are the most common type of acne, and the most persistent, and for that reason, they can be incredibly frustrating. Blackheads are blemishes that can appear on any area of your skin, though they are often found on the face.
While puberty is a common cause for such hormonal changes, blackheads might appear at any age or time depending on the circumstances. Here, we’re going to show you a few ways to learn how to extract blackheads naturally, so you can get rid of them once and for all.
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads differ from other kinds of acne, like whiteheads, pimples, or cysts, because they are the least inflamed form of acne. They are basically clogged pores that are made up of dead skin cells and excess oil from your skin.
While whiteheads are clogs in a closed pore, blackheads are clogs in an open pore that is exposed to the air. This oxidation is what gives blackheads their dark colour. Frustratingly, the fact is, you can’t really prevent this oxidation from happening, however, you can help prevent and get rid of them.
The most common area where the blackheads appear is the face, especially around the nose or cheeks but they can, and do, appear on any part of the body. In order to banish blackheads, you first need to know what’s causing them.
What causes Blackheads?
Contrary to popular belief, blackheads aren’t caused by dirt blocked in the pores of your skin. Furthermore, they aren’t related to dirt or poor hygiene either. Blackheads are predominantly caused by the overproduction of oil. This happens when the skin is not cleaned properly and the oil settles in the pores over time.
There are several factors that can contribute to blackheads. The three main causes include the following.
When your hormones fluctuate during puberty, blackheads and other blemishes are a common side effect. In some adult women, blackheads can form due to hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy or certain methods of birth control.
These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Moreover, this excess oil leads to clogging of the pores on your skin causing the bumps.
Skincare Products that Blocks Pores
If you use oil-based cosmetics or moisturisers, they can also stimulate blackhead development. So, when choosing skincare products and cosmetics, always look for non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores.
The ingredients in non-comedogenic products help to dissolve excess oil and remove any dead skin cells from your pores to avoid blackheads.
Poor dieting leads to an imbalance in body hormones. For example, some food and dairy products increase blood sugar levels, leading to excess production of insulin hormones. This triggers the oil production process on your skin resulting in excess oil that can clog your pores to cause blackheads.
How to Prevent Blackheads
When it comes to clearing blackheads, prevention is key. Without consistent skincare, blackheads will keep coming back.
Since the main cause of blackheads is a build-up of oil and dead skin cells, the best natural prevention is to reduce the oil and dead skin cells that create the clog in the first place. Untreated blackheads can become breakouts, so it’s important to keep pores clear with these tips.
Cleanse Your Skin Regularly
Although blackheads are not actually caused by dirt, you should gently wash your skin regularly to remove excess dirt and oil. Doing so can help prevent blackheads from forming or clogging pores.
However, as many people use the wrong cleansers to treat their skin concerns, look out for ones that are fragrance-free and for sensitive skin and avoid anything that makes your skin overly dry. Also, look out for a milky formula that purifies and tightens the pores without being too drying—it’s the best formula to avoid blackheads.
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Don’t Over Cleanse Your Skin
If you don’t clean your face well, it may lead to blocked pores which increases the chances of blackheads. Where cleansing can go a long way to help prevent dirt and oil from accumulating in your pores you must make sure you don’t over-cleanse your face.
Overly cleansing your face can strip away the natural oils and this will only cause the pores to produce even more oil to compensate. The best way is to opt for gentle scrubs. If possible, go for natural exfoliators like oatmeal, coffee extract that will cleanse and exfoliate the skin gently without drying it out.
Suggested Article: DIY Coffee Scrub: 11 Coffee Skincare Recipes for Smooth Skin.
Change Your Pillowcases Regularly
As you sleep in your bed, oil and dirt from your face get rubbed on pillowcases and bedsheets. Unfortunately, not washing them regularly can lead to accumulation of grime which can get transferred to your face and clog pores, encouraging blackheads.
So, make sure you change your pillowcases and sheets as often as possible.
Do Regular Steam Facials
Steaming the face makes the skin sweat, which in turn helps to clear out toxins from within. Additionally, it also opens and softens the pores, making the stubborn blackheads easier to work upon and remove.
Tip: To do your own at-home steam facial, just place some boiling water in a pan and cover your head with a towel to allow the steam to cleanse your face. Don’t forget to apply a lightweight, hydrating moisturiser afterwards.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Regular exfoliation removes dead skin cells from your skin thus unclogging the pores. However, the problem persists when people choose overly abrasive formulas and apply far too much pressure. So, make sure you use a gentle exfoliator that isn’t too harsh on the skin.
Make your own exfoliator at home by combining organic oats and natural yoghurt. The oats will gently exfoliate the skin whilst the yoghurt hydrates it. In fact, this is especially great for those with sensitive and irritation prone skin.
Use a Clay Mask
Clay has the unique ability to draw impurities to the surface of your skin and clean out your pores, plus it will leave your skin soft, smooth and bright. Simply, use it once or twice a week to draw out excess oil and impurities – which can help remove dead skin cells.
Suggested Article: Chocolate Facials: DIY Cocoa Face Masks for Clear Skin.
Replenish your skin’s moisture after each wash by applying a suitable moisturiser.
A salicylic acid product is a great option for dissolving blackheads away. Even better, it can be found in over-the-counter products available in the market. Additionally, retinoid skin creams are also a useful way to get rid of blackheads, so try and incorporate it into your skincare routine.
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Keep Blotting Papers on Hand
You can help to keep oil at bay by keeping a tissue or piece of blotting paper at hand for blotting throughout the day. Remember, blackheads are essentially dead skin cells and oil, so removing the oil will greatly reduce blackheads.
Simply dab the blotting paper on any oily parts of your face and the paper will absorb it up to prevent your pores from becoming clogged!
Remove Makeup before Going to Bed
Going to bed with makeup can cause your pores to clog. Plus, eye makeup left on overnight can lead to eye irritations or infections.
So, always remove your makeup using a gentle cleanser or makeup remover before going to sleep.
Shower After Performing Physical Activities
Sweating can lead to excess bacteria and oil on your skin that could lead to blackheads.
After performing any strenuous activity, always shower immediately to prevent the production of germs and bacteria.
Natural Ways to Remove Blackheads
If you like using your own home remedies, there are plenty of options when it comes to blackheads. These homemade blackhead removal treatments can help reverse and prevent blackheads without harming delicate facial skin.
Baking soda helps to neutralize any pH imbalance your skin may have, as well as work as an exfoliant to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. The fine grain of the powder is perfect for clearing away dead skin cells and encouraging the skin to produce less oil. So, it works as an exfoliant to scrub away dead skin cells, leaving the skin soft and smooth.
How to: To make a baking soda scrub, mix two tablespoons of baking soda and two tablespoons of water together to form a paste. Then, massage the paste onto the affected areas for a few minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Important: Ensure you don’t overuse this scrub as the mixture could dry your skin. So, don’t use it more than two or three days a week.
Egg whites offer numerous benefits to the skin, especially for treating blackheads.
The egg white, when dry, latches onto the skin to pull out any dirt and oil trapped in the pores when peeled off. In addition to this, albumin, a key ingredient present in egg whites, is mainly responsible for this pore-tightening property. So, when applied directly on the skin or as a mask, egg whites shrink the pores, hence forcing blackheads out.
Due to their ability to tighten skin and minimise pores, using egg whites is especially good for oily skin. It not only reduces the chances of future blackheads but it aids in removing current blackheads at the same time.
This treatment will take up a little more time than most, but the nutrients the egg whites will give your skin are worth the time.
Honey not only helps prevent the growth and spread of acne-causing bacteria but it also helps prevent the discolouration of clogged pores. As a result, this greatly reduces the appearance of blackheads and helps soften them up for easier removal.
Furthermore, honey also acts as a natural antibiotic, helping to pull dirt from the pores of the skin to clear blackheads as well as tightening and hydrating the pores for a clearer complexion.
How to: Just dab some of the warm honey onto any blackheads and allow it to soak in for about ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, remove the product from your face with a warm, damp cloth
Turmeric can be used to help remove blackheads due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to: To use it to treat blackheads, take one tablespoon of turmeric and mix with one tablespoon of water or natural yoghurt to form a paste. Then, apply the paste to your face and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing it off.
Important: Do note that turmeric can stain the skin, so make sure you don’t leave it on the skin for too long.
Sea salt is an excellent antibacterial that unclogs your pores. In particular, it dissolves all the dirt and dead skin cells to eventually remove your blackheads. Eventually revealing smooth and clear skin.
How to: To make a sea salt scrub, mix half a teaspoon of sea salt with a few drops of lemon juice and a drop of water and then massage the mixture on your skin.
Lemons are small but very powerful and your skin will thank you for using them!
The citrus in lemons is good for unclogging pores because it contains a lot of vitamin C, which promotes new skin cell growth. Additionally, the pores are less likely to get clogged when skin cells are being produced consistently.
Evidentially, lemon will clean out your pores. It helps to tighten them (temporarily) and restore and balance the ph. levels of your skin.
How to: To use lemon to treat your blackheads, gently rub the lemon on the affected area, or your entire face if you prefer. After ten minutes, rinse with warm water and repeat a couple of times a week as needed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV contains acetic acid known to break down tough build-up in the skin and also balances the pH in your body to prevent further blackheads. So, it works great on the skin when used as a toner.
How to: To use the product on your skin, simply apply a drop of the product to a cotton pad and apply it to the areas you have blackheads. Then, simply wash it off after ten to fifteen minutes.
This nutrient-rich grain is safe and effective on a number of skin conditions, including blackheads and sensitive, irritated skin. It soothes irritation, removes dead skin cells, and soaks up excess oil to help clarify the complexion. Additionally, this scrub will not only help to de-clog the pores but also exfoliates the skin to give you a natural glow.
How to: To make the oatmeal scrub, take two tablespoons of oatmeal, three tablespoons of plain yoghurt and a half lemon juice. Then mix it well until you get a fine paste and apply this on to your nose and the most affected area. Let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
How to Make at Home Pore Strips to Remove Blackheads
Pore strips are an effective way to prevent the appearance of blackheads. But store-bought pore strips can be expensive, especially if you use them regularly. So, why not make your own?
Making your own pore strips takes less than five minutes and the results are amazing! However, when using them, don’t forget to wash your face with warm water before you apply the pore strip. Not only will this clean your face to remove any dirt and oil, but the warm water will also open up your pores, making it easier to remove the blackheads from deep within the pores.
Here are a few natural ways to make pore strips that will leave your nose feeling clean and smooth.
Sugar and Honey Pore Strip
To make this pore strip, combine 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey and the juice of 1 lemon in a saucepan and place it on medium heat until it is liquefied. Once it does, remove from the heat, add 2 – 3 drops of glycerine to the mixture and stir it together well.
Apply it over your nose, allow it to harden for 20 minutes and then peel it off gently.
Milk and Gelatine Pore Strip
To make this pore strip, you can use any type of milk you like. However, we suggest you make sure that the gelatine is organic and unflavoured.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of warm milk and 1 tablespoon of gelatine powder in a bowl
- Then heat it in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes until warm.
- By now, the mixture would have turned into a chunky paste with a cloudy appearance.
- Make sure the mixture cools down slightly.
- If you want, at this point you can also add a few drops of lavender oil to the mix.
- To test if it is the right temperature, dip a makeup brush into the mix and apply it on the back of your hand.
- Apply it over your nose area in even layers, especially on the target areas where you have a lot of blackheads. Leave it to dry for 30 minutes until the mixture hardens.
- Once it has cooled, peel it off from the nose area gently by starting from the inside.
- Work your way up slowly, pulling away from the face until the whole strip comes off.
- After removing the strip, wash your face with warm water and apply moisturiser
Egg Pore Strip
To make the strip, start off with separating the egg whites and yolk into a bowl. Next, beat the white of the egg, until it is frothy. Then, apply it in a thin layer over your nose.
While it is still wet, place a small strip of single-ply tissue over it. Then apply a second layer of egg white on top of the tissue. Follow this up with a second layer of tissue. Next to last, you should allow the mixture to harden for 40 minutes. Once dry, peel the paper off gently.
Finally, finish by splashing your face with cold water so it closes up the pores. Also, you can use the egg yolk afterwards by applying it on the face to moisturize it.
What to Avoid Doing to Blackheads
Don’t Squeeze the Blackheads
As tempting as it may be, do not squeeze or try to pop your blackheads. Squeezing will only make it worse. Additionally, trying to squeeze out blackheads yourself can be really unhygienic if not done properly. In fact, you may end up making the problem worse by spreading around acne-causing bacteria. More so, you can even push it deeper into your skin. This can result in a lot worse than blackheads. Just be patient and you will see results!
However, if your blackheads are incredibly persistent or severe, it may be best to give your dermatologist a visit. A doctor can advise you on the best products and treatments for your skin as well as prescribe special creams. These tend to be excellent for keeping pores clean and acne at bay.