No one likes having those unsightly blackheads on their skin, especially on their face. Blackheads make us self conscious and leave us wondering what people must think of us when they see them. Blackheads are usually associated with having dirty, unclean skin, but as anyone with more oily skin will tell you, this is definitely not always the case.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are most commonly found on areas of the face that are known to be more oily. These areas usually include the forehead, around the nose, and the chin (also known as the “T-zone”). Our skin sheds skin cells frequently, and the skin cells are meant to simply flake off. If the skin cells get trapped in or under the oil that is already on our skin, however, this can clog the pore and result in a sort of ‘plug’ over the pore. This hardened, dark plug is what we refer to as a blackhead.
How can I prevent blackheads?
Exfoliating at least 3 times a week is one good way to prevent blackheads. Regularly exfoliating the skin helps remove any of those dead skin cells that cause the blackhead to develop in the first place. It’s also important to use a cleansing product for your skin that is for combating acne and/or oily skin. Wash your face only with lukewarm water and never hot water, as the hot water will cause our skin to produce more oil.
Is there any way to remove blackheads?
Some people try to prod and squeeze out a blackhead with their fingers, but this is never recommended. Doing this may only cause more bacteria to enter into the skin surrounding the blackhead, which will only further exacerbate the problem and cause redness and inflammation (not exactly two things you want for your skin when you are already trying to draw attention away from you blackheads!). Something that may be used to remove the blackhead instead is what is called a “comedone extractor”. These tools are usually used only by professional dermatologists or aestheticians, but people can also use them in their own home.
Step 1: Before using a comedone extractor, take a warm, wet washcloth and lay it on your face. Keep it there for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can take a shower and use the comedone extractor once you step out of the shower. You want to soften the skin and open up the pores, as this will make the removal of blackheads far easier.
Step 2: Take the comedone extraction tool and lay the side that is looped on top of the blackhead. The loop should be encircling the blackhead area with the entire loop.
Step 3: Now apply very slow and even pressure to the tool. If the blackhead is ready to be removed, the oil (sebum) that is trapped under the skin will be forced right out of the follicle, so you will notice the blackhead and the oil all ooze out of the pore.
TIP: It’s very important to not continue with the squeezing process if the blackhead is not popping easily. Leave it alone and try it again after steaming it more with a facial steamer, a warm wash cloth, or in the shower. It may be a day or so before the blackhead can be removed, but if you apply too much pressure then you risk scarring or infection.