Blackheads are one of the biggest skin problems that most college-age women face. I've gotten quite a few emails asking about how to get rid of blackheads, and I have to say, I used to struggle with them myself!
I have an embarrassing story about how I found out I had blackheads in the first place. I guess you could say I was in "blackhead denial."
It started out innocently enough – I was hanging out with my boyfriend one weekend, goofing around. All of a sudden, he stared at my face with a scrutinizing look. Pressing his finger up against my nose, he said “by the way, how do you get rid of those things?” I think you can guess what he meant.
Yes, he was pointing at blackheads. Skin flaws that even I, Ms. Perfectionist, hadn't thought about before! I knew I didn't have flawless skin, but couldn't believe something so tiny would be noticeable. I was so upset and embarrassed that I not only chewed my boyfriend out for pointing them out, but became completely self conscious about my "blackhead problem." From then on, I developed a complex (and an intimate relationship with my magnifying mirror) and became obsessed with getting rid of them.
Since that fateful day, I've done tons of research, learning what those little black dots on your nose are and how to get rid of them! Although my boyfriend's comment partially traumatized me, on the plus side, my skin is looking a lot better now and blackheads are no longer an issue.
If you want to get rid of blackheads yourself, or just want to know how to keep them away, read on!
Tips for Getting Rid of Blackheads
Check your makeup
The truth is, what you put on to cover blackheads up might actually be causing more of them! If you wear lots of heavy foundation or use thick face creams, you could be contributing to the problem with your products! In general, if you have a problem with greasy skin and clogged pores, consider using as few products as you can. The fewer layers of stuff that you put on your face, the better.
Lots of water and healthy eating
Cliche', maybe, but it's so true. What you put into your body shows on the outside. Simple as that. If you eat lots of greasy crap, your skin is not going to look as good as it would if you ate more veggies and drank more water.
Use BHA for blackheads
BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid, which is an exfoliant that removes the dead layer of skin from your face. If you've ever seen a skincare product that contains salicylic acid, that's BHA. BHA is important for getting rid of blackheads because it goes into your pores to clean out the excess oil and dead skin cells that make up blackheads.
A great BHA product that I use is Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Anti Blemish Daily Moisturizer. I put it on at night after washing my face, and when I wake up, my skin always looks better and better. I have less blackheads, and as a bonus, my skin is clearer and softer than it was before!
Do a clay mask once a week
This is only for those of you with oily or combination skin. Dry skin, obviously, needs all the oil it can get. Blackheads are partially caused by excess oil on your face, so if you have greasy skin, a good quality clay mask will help sop up some of the grease and keep your pores clearer. Using it once a week is enough - you don't want to over-dry your skin, because this could lead to even more problems!
Don't bother with a pore strip
First of all, they're basically useless for getting rid of anything that's stuck deep in your pores. Second of all, they can actually damage your skin! I know these things look like miracle products, but save your money because they aren't really going to help.
Squeeze, but do it carefully!
This is one situation where picking your face may actually help instead of making things worse. Don't take this as permission to pick at your face all you want! There is a right and a wrong way to squeeze blackheads and it's really important that you do it the right way.
First, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. (I like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.) Next, cover your face with a warm, wet cloth for 10 to 15 minutes. Pat your face dry, then wrap tissues around your fingers to prevent slippage. Use GENTLE pressure to press down then up around the sides of the blackhead. If nothing happens after one or two tries, stop. That means the blackhead isn't ready to come out yet. Whatever you do, don't pinch, use your nails or press too hard. This can damage your skin and might even lead to scars!
See a dermatologist
If all else fails, a derm can really help you out. They can prescribe things like Retin-A, antibiotics or Accutane, which can all help with blackheads. Procedures like microdermabrasion are also said to be effective, but I recommend trying the above steps first because the problem can usually clear itself up without these extreme treatments.
At the end of the day, blackheads are kind of an ongoing battle. For those of us who are prone to them, light makeup, gentle cleansers and BHA treatments are necessary to get rid of them and keep them away. There isn't any magical cure that will rid you of them forever, but taking good care of you skin on an ongoing basis will work wonders.
Have you ever had a problem with blackheads? How do you get rid of blackheads? Do you recommend any products to help with the problem? Let me know in the comments!