Getting rid of blackheads is a skincare challenge most of us tackle at some stage. Blackheads are fairly common, even if you don’t experience acne or regular breakouts. Our guide to getting rid of blackheads can help you make a few important changes to your skincare routine to treat existing blackheads and prevent them from forming.
What is a blackhead?
The scientific name for a blackhead is an ‘open comedone’. It’s essentially a pore clogged with dead skin, sebum and dirt that has opened a little and been exposed to air.
The air turns dirt, oil and dead skin trapped in the pore black; which is how a blackhead gets its name.
Blackheads are most common for oily and combination skin types - you might find dilated pores and blackheads are something you experience more with age.
The reason for this is as UV damage accumulates over the years, the skin structure around pore weakens causing it to open wider. This means it’s more likely for impurities to become trapped and blackheads to form.
Wearing heavy makeup has the potential to worsen the appearance of blackheads too, thanks to the pigments and the build-up in pores where it mixes with sebum and cells.
Use blackhead face masks containing bentonite clay
Bentonite clay is a hero ingredient in products to get rid of blackheads.
Bentonite soaks up extra oil from the skin, a little like a paper towel for sebum, and is known for its ability to draw out toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals from the skin too.
This is why bentonite is beneficial for skin types prone to blackheads as it keeps the skin clean and as oil-free as possible.
When choosing a mask with bentonite, pay attention to the other ingredients in the product. Bentonite can be quite drying, so you’ll want the formulation to be balanced with ingredients that retain moisture and repair the skin too.
We recommend: esmi Soft Skin Refining Charcoal Clay Booster Mask
Choose a blackhead cleanser that exfoliates gently
As with acne treatments, cleansers with salicylic acid are popular products to get rid of blackheads as salicylic acid breaks down buildup and promotes clearer pores. The problem is, salicylic acid can excessively irritate and dry the skin - potentially compromising your skin barrier.
Instead, choose gentler cleanser options with low doses of active exfoliating ingredients.
For example fruit, glycolic and lactic acids slough away the old cells on the skin's surface by dissolving the bonds that hold them together (unplugging the pore) while maintaining the oil-moisture balance of your skin.
Used daily, a cleanser with gentle exfoliating acids will prevent the blackheads before they form and help clear existing pores.
We recommend: esmi Uncomplicated Cleanser With Anti-Redness
Incorporate ingredients with activated charcoal
Like bentonite clay, charcoal is a wonderful skin detoxifier and is one of the best treatments for getting rid of blackheads.
Think of activated charcoal as a magnet to draw dirt out of pores; it’s great at adsorption. Adsorption (not absorption) occurs when molecules of one substance bind to the surface of another—in this case, activated charcoal.
When impurities come into contact with activated charcoal they stick to it and are then washed away when you rinse.
It can also bind the beneficial things like vitamins and minerals, too. Make sure your activated charcoal skincare also contains replenishing ingredients to purify and nourish.
The types of products to get rid of blackheads containing activated charcoal ranges from soaps to serums and masks.
We recommend: Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum
Choose mineral makeup
If you wear makeup, choosing non-comedogenic mineral cosmetics is one of the best ways to avoid blackheads.
Non-comedogenic is a term used to describe a product or ingredients that won’t block pores whereas comedogenic ingredients are scientifically proven to block pores and increase the chance acne cosmetica.
Here’s where mineral makeup comes in. It’s made up of tiny particles of naturally occurring minerals including iron oxide, zinc oxide, talc and titanium oxide. It’s free from ingredients that trigger blackheads like parabens, binders and fillers.
Mineral makeup is ideal for combination or oily skin as it helps absorb excess oil and cover breakouts without actually making them worse.
Avoid pore strips
How do you get rid of blackheads? Not with pore strips!
Pore strips might give you the satisfying feeling of seeing the grime from your clogged pores on the strip but they’re actually not one of the best ways to get rid of blackheads. The truth is, while many believe they are how to reduce blackheads, they can actually cause your pores to stretch even further, resulting in more blackheads.
One of the key ingredients in popular synthetic pore strips is Polyquaternium-37, this is what sticks to the skin to remove the build-up.
The problem is, this can be a harsh and abrasive way for unclogging pores and getting rid of blackheads. Pore strips have the potential to tear or injure your skin - particularly if you have thin or problematic skin, like acne, rosacea and psoriasis.
Also, the strips only remove the surface part of the blackhead. While the pore strip looks like it’s doing a lot of hard work, it won’t actually deep clean the pore or prevent blackheads from recurring.
Final tip to reduce blackheads - use sunscreen
If you have oily skin prone to blackheads and large pores it can be tempting to skip the daily application of sunscreen - but don’t!
Sunscreen is vital for healthy skin to protect against premature ageing and more importantly, reducing your risk of developing skin cancer.
Look for non comedogenic sunscreen to avoid clogging your pores further.
Get rid of blackheads for good with esmi Skin Minerals
Ready to beat blackheads for good? Take on our tips listed above and wave goodbye to blackheads. Kick-start your skincare for blackheads with our range of effective acne products and cleansers.
Learn more about skincare
Sometimes the best way to get rid of blackheads is to book a visit to a professional dermatologist for an extraction. Try making changes to your skincare routine first and hopefully you won’t need to go through a professional extraction.
Not sure where to start? Talk to our skin specialist team who will guide you through your FREE personal Skin Care Plan and help you get on top of your skin concerns today. The team at esmi are always here to support you on your skin journey.