Blackheads are an annoying fact of life for many of us. We understand the cause: blocked pores. But, the big question is how to get rid of stubborn blackheads effectively, safely and permanently. Here are 10 tips that really work.
Our clear skin tips.
1# Choose your cleanser wisely.
Of course, you know that you should cleanse your skin regularly. And that means morning and night, every day. But the way that you do it and the cleanser that you use can be an all-important factor in your mission to get rid of stubborn blackheads. Some standard cleaning materials like ordinary household soap can actually make the problem worse by leaving a sticky residue on your skin. Ideally, you need a soap-free gel that will work on eliminating excess sebum and reducing blackheads overall, or you could try an anti-blemish tonic. Both should contain salicylic acid (we’re coming to the reasons why) and really needs to be gentle enough for daily use.
2# Try an exfoliator or an exfoliating face wash.
You can’t get rid of stubborn blackheads if your daily routine is piling up the debris and grease that blocked your pores in the first place. Essential as a daily cleanser is to eliminate blackheads, you need something more. Exfoliation gets rid of the dead skin cells that inevitably build up on your face. It is an essential tool in getting rid of blackheads because it brings them to the surface where the right treatment can break up the blockage, which makes them susceptible to shrinkage and being simply washed away. Remember, don’t over-do it – an exfoliating face wash two to three times a week is plenty.
3# Go natural
If you prefer a home-made scrub with natural ingredients, there are several recipes you can try. Not all skin is the same, and if one doesn’t work well for you, try a different one. A simple mix of sugar and oil is a popular and effective exfoliating scrub for many people. Simply mix a tablespoon of granulated sugar, brown or white, with some olive, coconut or almond oil to make a paste. Smooth this over your face and rub gently in a circular motion. You could make a bigger batch and store it in an airtight jar in the fridge.
4# Charcoal for blackheads?
Every so often, a new wonder ingredient comes along. And although most fade away after the fad has passed, some remain because they actually work. Charcoal is not new of course, but recently it has found a new use because of its almost miraculous ability to absorb bacteria, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles, by drawing them to the surface of the skin. The simplest way to use charcoal for blackheads is to get an exfoliating scrub containing charcoal, like Pure Active Intensive Charcoal, or a charcoal mask for your face. You could make your own, but you would miss out on the other active ingredients and it can be pretty messy!
5# Quick removal.
Sticky strips are a great method if you’re still wondering how to get rid of blackheads. However, the process is somewhat akin to ‘squeezing’ (another big ‘no-no’!), except that it pulls rather than pushes the skin. The problem with these strips is that to be effective they must be super-sticky and as a result strip away layers of skin, as well as the unwanted blackheads. They also tend to leave pores open and are only a temporary solution at best. If you really want to try this route, go very carefully, so as not to damage your healthy skin and be sure to moisturise afterwards.
6# Relax with a face mask.
With your regular cleansing and an exfoliating scrub twice a week, you are well on your way to getting rid of those blackheads for good. Just one more vital process: the face mask. A good face mask is a unique way to literally to lift particles out of your clogged pores. This is the final step in banishing the blackheads. The easiest way to do this is with a ready-made mask containing salicylic acid. Some contain benzoyl peroxide which is harsh and can leave your skin extremely dry, damaged and even discoloured. Whereas, salicylic acid is gentler and simply dissolves the cement that sticks together the particles plugging your pores.
7# Try your hand at a clay mask!
For another natural alternative, you could try a clay mask. The home-made route for face masks is messy but perfectly possible! Bentonite clay is good for lifting impurities out of your pores because, when hydrated, it carries a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. Just mix a couple of tablespoons of Bentonite clay with enough water to make a paste, smooth over your face or the problem area and leave to dry for about 20 minutes. The shrinkage as the clay dries is quite dramatic and some people prefer to rinse it off when partially dry, as it can feel quite harsh on the skin.
8# Get creative with some DIY products.
Our final home-made recipe is made by crushing a few aspirin with water and then smoothing the solution onto the affected area. This can reduce any inflammation associated with blackheads (if they become infected) and also break down the plugs that are blocking the pores. This is because the acetylsalicylic acid in the aspirin is chemically very close to salicylic acid and has similar effects on your skin. Just dissolve about half a dozen uncoated aspirin in enough water to make a paste, apply it and leave for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing.
9# Test out baking soda!
An alternative, and also popular, home-made scrub consists of nothing more than baking soda and water. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a natural alkaline substance that has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Alongside these health benefits, baking soda can be used as an exfoliating scrub too because of its texture. The granules help to dislodge any dirt and debris clogging up your skin’s pores. Go very carefully though, as it can be harsh on your face and dry out your skin; use this method with caution.
10# Remember, don’t squeeze or pick!
Like we said before, don’t be tempted to squeeze or pick! At best, this will leave you with angry, inflamed skin and gaping open pores. At worst, if there is any infection anywhere, you could spread it over a large area of your face. It really is much better all round to be a little patient and go the ‘cleanse – exfoliate – face mask’ route. If you absolutely have to squeeze and nothing can dissuade you, use a clean tissue, make sure your fingers do not touch the skin and discard the waste immediately.
Having achieved your aims, enjoy your blemish-free skin and take care of it with the continued regime of ‘cleanse – exfoliate – face mask’. It’s easy to get into and stick with. You can also back it up by drinking plenty of water and eating as healthily as you possibly can. Job done!