Can You Permanently Get Rid Of Blackheads?

Here's a million-dollar skincare question: Can you get rid of blackheads for good? The textbook answer is no. But with an upgrade in your skincare routine, you might keep them at bay for long. Blackheads, per a study in the 2019 Second International Conference on Culinary, Fashion, Beauty, and Tourism, are a common form of acne in the shape of tiny black bumps that develop on your nose and chin after breakouts. These black spots are a result of clogged pores combined with dead skin cells and excess oil from sebaceous glands. So, the gist of your blackhead issue lies in the production of oil on your skin. Unless this problem is fixed, these dark spots will re-emerge every 20 to 40 days after removal. Generally speaking, there's no quick fix for this issue. 

Some people are genetically vulnerable to larger pores or excessive production of oil on their skin, which both trigger blackheads, explains Dr. Nancy Samolitis to Oprah Daily. Even when your skin's pH level is perfectly balanced, your pores will enlarge and grow blackheads as you age and your collagen depletes. While blackheads are not a cause for physical concern, they might take a toll on your confidence. In fact, it's hard to resist the temptation to squeeze those dark spots and pop them off your face. However, manually picking and popping without adequate skin care knowledge can leave scars and exacerbate your skin condition. The good news is that there are ways to get rid of blackheads as well as to prevent them from forming. While they are not the answer to a life free of blackheads, they are safe and easy to follow.

Remove blackheads manually

When it comes to treating blackheads in the long run, refrain from using nose strips. The glue in the strips to suck up the heads, as Dr. Shetty points out (via Vogue), can trigger allergic reactions, cause the pores to continue staying open, and cause more blackheads to form. To remove blackheads manually, buy a comedone blackhead extractor. For a start, rinse your face thoroughly and put a warm washcloth on the affected area to open up the pores to help dislodge the blackheads easily. A facial steamer also works wonders in loosening up your pores. As for extractors, small wire loops, advises dermatologist Marisa Garshick (via Shape), are a better option for removing blackheads because they don't inflict excessive force on the affected area. Bigger loops can be used for larger breakouts.

After disinfecting your extractor with alcohol and boiling it, place the wire loop around the blackhead and press gently to extract the dead skin and sebum that's clogging the pore. If blood comes out, stop the degunking process. When the blackhead is too close to another swollen pimple, don't pop it lest you exacerbate the surrounding infected area. If the blackhead doesn't ease up easily, use the sharp point on the other end of the extractor (with extra caution) to pierce through the pore and release the clogged content. The ultimate goal is to remove blackheads without damaging your skin, so know when to stop. If you're having a severe acne breakout and trying to remove lots of blackheads, you might want to check with your dermatologist for advice first or get help from skin care professionals.

Prevent blackheads from forming

Since blackheads will always return, you can try to prevent them from forming in the first place. For instance, use a face cleaning brush or a face scrub with exfoliating contents to get rid of the top layer of dead skin cells and prevent impurities from makeup and pollutants from being trapped inside your pores, Dr. Anjali Mahto tells Cosmopolitan. Routine exfoliation using chemical exfoliants AHAs and BHAs can liberate your pores from a large number of dead skin cells and excess oil. For example, you can get chemical peels, which typically consist of AHAs and BHAs, to have your dead skin cells buffed away, excess oil dried out, and pores shrunk. 

For facial cleansers and serums, acid-based products are ideal for cleaning your pores out. You can swap your regular face cleanser for one that contains salicylic acid, says Dr. Allison Britt Kimmins (via Healthline). Wired to fizzle out the materials that clog pores such as daily gunks and makeup residues, salicylic acid is an all-time favorite ingredient in treating blackheads.

While blackheads can be frustrating, they don't require advanced clinical interventions. They can be dealt with during facials with skin care specialists and through a consistent skincare regimen. If you're looking to treat blackheads at home, get expert advice first. Remember to wear SPF regularly, because damaging UV rays can stretch your pores and exacerbate your blackheads.