Deep blackheads: Treatments and remedies
Some blackheads are deeper than others and may potentially be harder to remove. However, certain treatments can be effective in getting rid of deep blackheads.
Blackheads are dark lesions that appear at the surface of the skin. They occur when the pores of the skin become clogged with dead cells and oily secretions.
Read on for information on the causes, treatment, and prevention of deep blackheads.
Blackheads are a symptom of acne, a common condition that affects the pores of the skin. While some people may have additional signs of acne, such as inflamed pimples, others may just have blackheads.
understand that an important cause of acne is the overproduction of sebum. Sebum is an oily secretion that the skin produces.
When a person has acne, the pores of their skin may become clogged with a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells. Pores that contain these trapped plugs are known as comedones.
If a comedone is open at the surface of the skin, it appears as a black lesion because the trapped material becomes oxidized. As a result, people often refer to open comedones as blackheads. Some blackheads form particularly deep in the skin.
Certain individuals may be particularly prone to deep blackheads. Researchers have found evidence that a person is more likely to develop acne if they:
- are an adolescent
- have a family history of acne
- are menstruating
- are experiencing stress
Where do deep blackheads form?
As acne occurs due to an overproduction of sebum, deep blackheads often appear in areas that have a higher concentration of sebaceous glands.
Sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin that are responsible for the production of sebum.
The highest concentrations of sebaceous glands are in the scalp, forehead, and face, which explains why acne primarily affects this area of the body.
Deep blackheads most commonly occur on the face, but they can also appear on other parts of the body, such as the neck, back, chest, shoulders, and arms.
Different treatment options exist for deep blackheads, although not all of them have undergone extensive study. Some of the more common treatment options include:
A healthcare professional will often recommend topical treatments for acne, which can also treat deep blackheads.
People apply topical treatments directly to the affected area of the skin. They usually come in the form of a gel, cream, lotion, or wash.
Examples of topical treatments include:
- azelaic acid
- benzoyl peroxide
- chemical peels, using hydroxy acids
- hydrogen peroxide
Certain topical acne medications are especially effective in dealing with deep blackheads. For instance, research has shown that and many inhibit comedone development.
Topical medications are easy to use, and they are often available over the counter. However, have found that some topical acne medications can cause skin irritation. These include:
- azelaic acid
- benzoyl peroxide
Oral antibiotic treatment
Not everyone responds well to topical medication. These treatments may be ineffective or less suitable for people whose acne is more severe or on a part of the body that is harder to reach, such as the back.
In these cases, healthcare professionals orally administered antibiotics as an alternative.
Some dermatologists recommend the manual extraction of especially deep blackheads, which requires the use of specialized comedone extractor tools.
People should not attempt comedone extraction at home, as the risk of infection or scarring is high. A professional dermatologist can extract deep blackheads safely and offer advice on aftercare.
It is also important to avoid squeezing the skin to remove blackheads, as this can damage it and worsen its appearance.
suggests that certain home remedies are generally well-tolerated, although there is little scientific evidence that they are effective. Popular home remedies for acne include:
- tea tree oil
- jojoba oil
- aloe vera
- green tea
Find out more about home remedies for acne here.
Although more research is necessary, there is some evidence that certain strategies may help prevent blackheads.
Research suggests that dietary changes may help some people prevent or manage deep blackheads.
For example, there is evidence to suggest that diets with a high glycemic load might worsen acne.
Glycemic load is a measure that considers the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food and how quickly that food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with a high glycemic load include:
- certain types of bread, such as white bread and French baguette
- some processed breakfast cereals
- cakes and biscuits
- sugary beverages, such as soda and energy drinks
Read more about low glycemic load diets here.
Researchers have also shown that milk intake the formation of blackheads.
Together, these findings indicate that reducing dairy consumption and glycemic load could inhibit the development of deep blackheads.
Stress can worsen acne. Some individuals may find that using stress management techniques helps reduce skin complaints, such as acne or eczema.
Skin hygiene is also important. Regularly washing the face can reduce the buildup of sebum and dead skin cells in the pores.
Learn more about safe and effective face washing here.
When to see a dermatologist
Deeper blackheads can be hard to remove at home. If someone has tried to remove deep blackheads and been unsuccessful, they may wish to see a dermatologist.
Although blackheads do not necessarily require treatment, they can sometimes affect a person’s well-being. One notes that people with acne can experience anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. They may also become socially withdrawn.
If someone is concerned that their blackheads may be negatively affecting their mental health, they may find it helpful to discuss this with a counselor.
A doctor can prescribe medication to help treat persistent or severe acne.
Blackheads are a common feature of acne, and some can be deeper than others. They are most likely to occur on and around the face.
Many people who develop blackheads wish to remove them at home, but the deeper the blackhead, the harder it may be to remove safely.
A range of home remedies and medical treatments can help treat deep blackheads, while dietary and lifestyle changes may help prevent them from developing. A dermatologist or doctor can prescribe treatments for very deep blackheads or severe acne.
We officially made it to another Friday, folks. So, what better way to ring in the weekend than with another gag-inducing popping video courtesy of Dr. Pimple Popper? It's been a hot minute since she's posted a real doozy, but I knew it was just a matter of time before she laid one on us. And well, here we are: Back with yet another blackhead extraction that's bound to make even the least squeamish of souls feel faint. (FYI, speaking from experience over here.)
The video in question comes from Los Angeles-based dermatologist Sandra Lee's Instagram, where at first glance, the blackhead appears more like a splinter (IMO) than a blemish. (It looks deep under the skin, too, so you know it was a tough one for Lee to remove.) Nevertheless, she goes in with her trusty comedone tool to extract the sucker, which she is forced to do in layers, as the blackhead is so deeply rooted into the skin it's as if it were buried there. What's more, is that once she removes a portion of the growth, she then has to go in with her tweezers, too, to extract the remaining gunk.
In case you're wondering, yes, yes it does look like she's digging for gold, but once she finally gets a hold of the entire mass, it's beyond satisfying to watch her pull it all out. The end result is a totally clear, blemish-free hole where the blackhead once made its home. I know all you popping fiends are dying to watch it in all its gruesome glory, so without further ado, tune in to the full clip, below.
Check out some more major popping moments
Now, see clips from some of Dr. Pimple Popper's videos in one place:
20 Ways to Treat and Prevent Deep Blackheads
Things to consider
Blackheads are among the most common — and most stubborn — of skin conditions. This type of acne develops when oil (sebum) and dead skin cells combine, clogging your pores.
Sometimes, cleansing and exfoliating may be enough to loosen the plug and draw it out. But if the plug hardens, or it’s too deep to access, you may not be able to remove the blackhead on your own.
Read on to learn how to use over-the-counter (OTC) measures to your advantage, what to expect from professional removal, and more.
What professional extraction looks like
Picking and prodding at a plug that won’t come out can cause long-term damage to your skin. If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn blackhead, make an appointment with a dermatologist or skin care specialist.
Professional extraction — as shown in the video below — is one of several techniques available.
For home removal, start by cleansing
Your first step should always be to cleanse your face.
Cleansing is best done twice a day: Once in the morning and once again at the end of your day. If you work out in the middle of the day or get sweaty, you may want to wash your face again.
However, try to avoid over-cleansing. This can dry out your skin and cause more dead skin cells and sebum to accumulate in your pores.
The type of cleanser you use can also make a difference in blackhead removal and prevention.
Many people prefer gel-based cleansers, because they aren’t oily like their creamy counterparts. Gel-based cleansers are typically safe for oily and sensitive skin types.
You may also consider using a daily cleanser with micro-exfoliants to help remove dead skin cells.
Use a physical exfoliant
Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, sebum, and other debris from the surface of your skin.
Physical exfoliants are available in many forms, but you don’t want to choose anything too harsh that will irritate your pores. Stick to something simple, like a do-it-yourself (DIY) or over-the-counter (OTC) scrub.
Look for gentle, soothing ingredients like oatmeal. Ground-up nuts and other harsh beads may irritate active breakouts or sensitive skin.
Apply a thin layer of your chosen exfoliant and spread it evenly over your skin. Massage — don’t scrub — it into your skin.
Follow all product instructions. You might need to leave the exfoliant on your face for several minutes. Once the process is done, rinse off the product completely before moving on.
Open your pores with a steam session
Steam can help loosen the gunk that’s clogging your pores, setting you up for a more effective extraction process. You don’t need a spa steamer to get these benefits, though.
To open your pores with steam, try this technique at home:
- First, boil up to 6 cups of water in a pot or kettle.
- Let the water cool for a couple of minutes.
- Carefully pour the water into the sink or a bowl.
- Have a seat in front of the sink or bowl. Rest your face about 6 inches above the water.
- Drape a towel over your head and the water source to hold the steam in.
- Raise or lower your head for more or less heat. Lift a corner of the towel to cool off, if needed.
- Stay here for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Apply a clay or charcoal mask
Exfoliation and steam help get your pores ready for extraction, but your skin’s not quite ready yet. Applying a mask can help make extraction even more successful.
Use either a clay or charcoal-based mask. These ingredients are known to deeply cleanse the pores, removing excess dirt and oil.
You’ll want to get as much out of your pores as you can before you have to use the extractor tool.
Apply a thin, even layer of the clay or charcoal mask to your face and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly with warm water.
Use an extractor tool
After loosening your pores and applying a mask, you may try to remove deep black heads with an extractor tool.
First, make sure the extractor is sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Then, press the loop facedown on the edge of the blackhead you’re trying to remove.
You’ll want to avoid pressing directly down on the middle of the blackhead, as this can irritate your pore.
Once you’ve got the head of the tool in place, make a gentle sweeping motion to the other side of your pore.
You can repeat the process two more times if you don’t get the plug out the first time — any more than this can irritate or damage the surrounding skin.
Make sure you sterilize the tool between uses to prevent the transfer of dirt and bacteria between pores.
Apply a cooling gel mask or soothing serum
After extracting debris from your pores, it’s important to soothe your skin to prevent inflammation. This may be achieved via a cooling gel mask or serum.
Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea, vitamin E, and almond oil. Apply a small amount in an even layer.
If using a gel mask, rinse off after use and follow up with the rest of your skin care routine.
Whatever you do, don’t do this!
It’s tempting to squeeze out a blackhead, especially if you can’t safely extract it the first time around.
You’ve heard this advice before, but it’s worth repeating: You should never pinch, poke, or squeeze out a blackhead.
This can result in pore enlargement and skin irritation. Scarring is another risk.
Although pore strips are touted as a way to remove blackheads without picking, they often do more harm than good.
Pore strips only target surface debris, which may do little to resolve deep blackheads. These sticky strips can dry out and irritate your skin, too.
What about home remedies?
Although a quick internet search reveals dozens of “home remedies” for blackhead removal, none have been proven to work.
In fact, many of these purported remedies can actually make your acne worse.
If you do decide to try a home remedy, exercise extreme caution. Performing a patch test on your forearm may help you gauge how your skin will react.
Home remedies that can be harmful
Despite what some websites may say, certain everyday products used as blackhead “remedies” can do more harm than good.
It’s thought that these products may absorb oil and get rid of dead skin cells. The problem is, these products may be too drying. Using them may lead to irritation, swelling, and more breakouts.
Home remedies that aren’t harmful, but are ineffective
Some purported remedies aren’t necessarily harmful — they just don’t have an effect on acne.
- egg whites
- green tea
These products are often used in homemade masks because of their antioxidant and hydrating properties. Unfortunately, these properties won’t do anything for deep blackheads.
What are my options for professional removal?
Unless you’re experiencing severe pain or swelling, professional removal usually isn’t necessary.
If you’re not getting the results you want at home, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist or aesthetician to talk about your concerns. If you don’t already have a dermatologist, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.
They may recommend one of the following removal techniques.
Your dermatologist or aesthetician will make a small hole in the clogged pore. They will then remove the plug with a looped-end metal extractor tool.
Microdermabrasion offers deeper exfoliation than scrubs and other OTC options.
Your provider will likely use a crystal-emitting handpiece to gently spray fine crystals onto the skin. The device will rub and suction off the outer layers of dead skin.
They may also use a diamond-tip handpiece to exfoliate more sensitive areas, such as around the eyes.
This technique may also reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.
A professional chemical peel removes the entire top layer of skin, reducing blackheads and other debris.
Your skin may be more prone to sunburn during the recovery process, so you’ll want to use caution when you’re outdoors.
Laser therapy is sometimes used on breakouts that don’t respond to other treatments.
For deep blackheads, dermatologists use photopneumatic therapy. The process involves a combination of intense pulsed light lasers and a hand-held vacuum.
When used together, your dermatologist is able to get deep into your pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum.
For best results, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends one or two follow-up sessions per year.
Tips for prevention
Deep blackheads can take time to remove safely and effectively. Once you’ve got the gunk out, you’ll want to use some of the below suggestions to help prevent them from coming back.
Use noncomedogenic products. Noncomedogenic is code for “non-pore-clogging.” Also look for oil-free sunscreens and lotions to help prevent clogged pores.
Remove makeup before bed. Cleansing at night helps remove makeup, but sometimes residues are still left behind. Consider adding a pre-cleanser to remove all your makeup.
Wash your hair regularly. Not only will your locks stay healthy and soft, but you’ll also get rid of oils and dirt that can get on your face and clog your pores.
Be sure your hands and nails are clean. Keeping your nails clean can help minimize dirt and oil transfer.
Wash your pillow cases and bedding. This should be done once a week to get rid of any dirt and oil in your sheets.
Add salicylic acid to your skin care routine. Salicylic acid dries out dead skin cells that accumulate in your pores, thereby decreasing the chances of blackheads. Look for either a face wash, toner, or moisturizer that contains salicylic acid to get these benefits.
Consider glycolic acid. Regular use can help your skin shed dead skin cells, preventing clogged pores. Look for glycolic acid in moisturizers and OTC peels.
Ask a dermatologist about prescription retinoids. Retinoids are derivates of vitamin A. While primarily recommended for inflammatory acne, they may also help control excess oils that contribute to your blackheads.
Don’t overuse acne products. Over-using salicylic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide-containing acne products or combining too many acne products such as those discussed here can dry out your skin. Ironically, this can cause more blackheads because your pores go into panic mode, making more sebum to hydrate your skin.
Eat a healthy diet. While greasy, fatty foods aren’t direct causes of acne, eating a balanced diet is important for your overall skin health. Drinking plenty of water can also help balance out sebum and aid in skin cell turnover.
The bottom line
Deep blackheads can be difficult, but not impossible, to get rid of. You may be able to loosen and remove stubborn plugs with one or more of the home removal techniques mentioned here.
If you don’t see improvement within the next six weeks, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist or aesthetician. They can discuss your options for treatment.
While all pimples are no fun, blackheads can be some of the most annoying to deal with: They are abundant, hard to hide and just keep coming back. "Blackheads, which are medically known as open comedones, are pores filled with oil or sebum, debris, and dead skin cells," explains Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., a dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology in New York City. The oily mixture sits at the surface opening of the pore, where it gets oxidized by air and turns a black or gray color.
Blackheads and whiteheads are typically the earliest signs of acne, explains Ife Rodney, M.D., a dermatologist and founding director of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD. The main difference between them is that blackheads appear dark due to the pores being open, while "whiteheads are closed comedones, meaning that the surface of the plugged follicle is covered by a thin layer of skin, creating a lighter color."
But before you get your fingers in position to squeeze those blackheads (yes, it is okay; see below for the safest way!), Good Housekeeping editors interviewed top dermatologists about blackhead causes and how to get rid of even the deepest blackheads on the nose, cheeks, back and more:
First, what causes blackheads?
According to Dr. Gymrek, blackheads have many underlying causes. "They are most commonly seen during puberty, when hormones lead to the increased production of sebum or oil, and the pore gets clogged," she explains. "Hormones may also fluctuate and cause blackheads during monthly menstruation, pregnancy and in those with polycystic ovarian syndrome or other hormonal syndromes where there is an excess of androgens."
Other factors may include taking steroids, wearing tight clothing and hats or helmets when sweating (think athletes), and from using thick and occlusive creams or oil-based products that can clog pores. Genetics also play a role, says David Bank, M.D., founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. "Pore size is determined by genetics and those with larger pores are more prone to having blackheads."
What are the best treatments for blackheads?
There are many ways to treat and prevent blackheads, but generally speaking, you want to "consistently use medicated cleansers or treatment products that help break up the debris within your pores, regardless of whether the blackheads are on your cheeks or back," Dr. Rodney says. Here are the best blackhead treatment ingredients and formulas to look for:
1. Use a daily cleanser with salicylic acid
Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash
First, seek out active ingredients like salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that is ideal for removing blackheads. "Because it's oil soluble, it is able to deeply penetrate the pores and oil glands to break up the debris and sebum," Dr. Rodney explains. She recommends using it in a daily cleanser, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser.
2. Or try a face wash with benzoyl peroxide
Acne Foaming Cream Face Cleanser
Another effective and slightly more powerful option for blackheads is benzoyl peroxide, also popular in cleansers like CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser. It helps dissolve the dead skin cells above the top of the pimple, helping to open it up. Dr. Gmyrek warns not be overzealous and use more than is recommended on the product packaging instructions, as doing so can dry out and irritate skin.
3. Apply powerful retinoids for deep pore cleansing
Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
If all else fails, retinoids and retinol (a milder version), both vitamin A derivatives, can also be extremely effective in treating blackheads. "Retinoids change the way your skin cells develop from the inside out, to prevent the clogging of pores and acne formation," Dr. Rodney explains. Retinoids are available both in over-the-counter and prescription strength. (Bonus: They also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles). Both Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. Bank recommend using an adapalene 0.1 percent gel, like Differin.
4. Use steam for careful extractions
Start bysteaming your face to open up your pores, Dr. Bank suggests. "Then, use two cotton swabs or a comedone extractor to gently press on the sides of the blackhead," he continues. "Do not use your hands, as this can introduce bacteria and lead to infection."
5. Try a two-step approach to nix blackheads overnight
Proactiv Blackhead Dissolving Gel
To help blackheads disappear by morning, Dr. Bank recommends a two step process: Use a pore strip first and follow by applying a salicylic acid gel before bed.
If you have blackheads on your cheeks, be gentle. "Remember that this skin will be a bit drier and perhaps more sensitive to salicylic acid, retinoids or benzoyl peroxide than other spots," Dr. Gmyrek says. You can use these ingredients, but in smaller quantities so the skin doesn't dry out or get irritated.
6. Use pore strips to remove stubborn blackheads from your nose
Original Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
Try pore strips, like the gold standard Bioré Original Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. These mask-like patches adhere to the nose skin, and as they dry, the adhesive attaches to oil, sebum, and dead skin cells, which are removed when the strip is taken off, Dr. Gmyrek says. They can be irritating, though, so proceed with caution if you have sensitive skin or rosacea. If you're prone to blackheads on the nose, Dr. Bank also suggests regularly using a cleanser or serum with salicylic acid on this area and getting a professional facial with manual extractions.
What about removing blackheads on the back and body?
Lotion Applicator for Your Back
For blackheads on the back skin, "I recommend using a benzoyl peroxide face or body wash in the shower daily," Dr. Gymrek says. "Let it sit on the skin for a minute or two before washing off." She suggests trying a formula that contains 5% benzoyl peroxide to start, then moving to a higher percentage if your skin can tolerate it without irritation. If benzoyl peroxide is too drying, apply a salicylic acid wash instead, Dr. Gymrek suggests.
Another option: Before bed, spread a thin coat of a retinoid gel or cream on the area, starting with every other night to prevent irritation. (If you can’t reach your back, get someone to help you apply the cream or try a back lotion applicator.) For more stubborn blackheads, visit a dermatologist: Dr. Bank suggests a Jessner peel, which contains a mix of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to deeply exfoliate skin and treat acne.
What blackhead removal treatments should I avoid?
If a blackhead is large in size or resisting removal, don't try to DIY. "For those super deep blackheads, you should see a dermatologist or esthetician, as they have special tools that can safely extract the gunk trapped in your pores," Dr. Rodney explains. "Do not attempt to remove these yourself, as this can cause trauma and scarring of your skin."
DIY blackhead removal hacks are dicey in general. A PSA from our dermatologist pros: Though much talked-about on the internet, toothpaste is not an effective blackhead treatment— it's too harsh and drying on skin.
How can I prevent blackheads?
While you can't get rid of blackheads permanently (sorry!), you can maintain a consistent skincare routine incorporating the tips above to prevent future ones from popping up. Some more must-dos:
- Always remove your makeup at night.
- Wash your face twice daily.
- Make sure to address any underlying hormonal issues if possible.
- Eliminate any thick, occlusive creams, makeup or hair products if you think they may be an underlying cause.
Dori PriceFreelance Beauty EditorDori Price is a Boston-born, New York City-based freelance writer, editor and beauty, style, and wellness expert who was the Beauty & Fashion Director at Family Circle for 13 years before she joined Good Housekeeping, Prevention and Woman’s Day as a freelance beauty editor.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Deep blackheads extracting
A Celebrity Facialist Explains How to Get Rid of Blackheads Overnight
Manually Extract Blackheads
While your esthetician can extract blackheads with 10 points for style and swiftness, it's no secret that we often struggle for hours on end to achieve the same results. That said, Rouleau explains that if the affected skin is properly softened, it should be fairly easy to remove a blackhead. She adds that what could make quick, at-home blackhead removal difficult is unsoftened skin, small, super-tight pores, blackheads that are inset (versus protruding), and skin that’s dry and dehydrated.
While Rouleau tells us topical blackhead removal methods are largely ineffective, it is, indeed, possible to remove a blackhead overnight. However, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, as manual extraction is truly the only way to effectively get rid of blackheads overnight.
How to perform the extraction:
1. After showering, apply a thin layer of the heaviest moisturizer you have over the area you’ll be extracting from. “By using a rich moisturizer. It will create a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin, which for extractions purposes is necessary,” Rouleau says.
2. Next, cover the area with clingfilm and apply a hot, damp washcloth for five minutes. Do like Rouleau and make sure to use two washcloths layered on top of one another, as the one on top will help the one underneath retain its heat for longer.
3. Grab your tissues, wrap a couple over each forefinger, and gently squeeze the skin to remove blackheads or clogged pores. According to Rouleau,the goal with squeezing is to avoid positioning the fingers too close, as this won’t allow the blackhead to come out. "Widen them out a bit so that the blackhead will be extracted easier from the deeper level within the skin," she says.
To avoid leaving marks on the skin, go easy and be sure to relocate the position of your fingers. For example, position fingers at 3 and 9 o’clock, then 5 and 10, then 2 and 7.
Rouleau’s rule: Three strikes and you’re out. If the blackhead is especially stubborn and still won’t come out after three tries, don’t continue with your attempted extraction. At this point, you might do more harm than good. (i.e., damage the skin or break a capillary).
4. When finished, clean off the skin with an alcohol-free toner and then apply a cooling gel mask to reduce any redness.
“Overly dry skin can start to produce excess blackhead-causing oil,” says New York City celebrity aesthetician Christine Chin. “Make sure you maintain a normal flow of oil from your pores by keeping your skin’s moisture level balanced.” Try a moisturizer with squalane oil, which serves as an emollient but is noncomedogenic—it’s the best of both worlds.
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream with Ashwagandha + Reishi
8. Apply a topical retinoid.
Geraghty recommends using a topical retinoid, such as prescription tretinoin cream or over-the-counter Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment. Retinoids are unmatched in their ability to spur cell turnover, removing dead skin cells and lowering the chances of a clog forming. “A very thin layer applied at bedtime can help to exfoliate your skin, unclog pores, reduce oiliness, and remove and prevent small blackheads and whiteheads,” she says.
Differin Acne Treatment Gel
Retinoids are the best topical options for texture and pigment changes with acne, and perform double-duty as antiacne and antiaging. This is a great over-the-counter retinoid for reducing inflammation and clogging in active acne. —M.F.
9. Try some gadgets.
If your fingers aren’t enough to safely extract a blackhead, there are a few tools that should make it easier. Mona Gohara, M.D., a dermatologist in Connecticut, recommends a metal comedone extractor, as that’s what she uses in office. We’re also big fans of skin spatulas that vibrate to help excavate buildup in your pores.
Utopia Care Blackhead and Blemish Remover
Dermaflash Dermapore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor
There are also pore vacuums, which literally suck the debris out of your skin. But it’s worth doing some research before using one, since sometimes they can be too strong and do more harm than good. Gohara likes like Lonove vacuum since it has gentle suction and a blue light to calm inflammation.
However, if you have deep skin, it’s worth erring on the side of caution. “Those of us with brown skin have more of a tendency towards hyperpigmentation with procedures,” says Gohara. “I recommend staying away from suction and sticking with gentle methods such as steam extractions to avoid skin trauma.”
Lonove Blue Light Blackhead Vacuum Pore Cleaner
10. Use vitamin C.
Sure, ingredients like beta hydroxy acids and benzoyl peroxide work great on acne and clogged pores. But your favorite brightening ingredient, vitamin C, can actually be incredibly powerful for clearing blackheads. “A blackhead is simply oil that has come to the surface and oxidized because of contact with the open air,” says Rouleau. “This oxidation is what causes blackheads to turn black. To fight this process and keep the oil from oxidizing so quickly, use an antioxidant like vitamin C.”
She notes that it’s crucial to use a stable form of vitamin C, since unstable forms can oxidize quickly and cause even more blackheads. (Check out more of the best vitamin C serums to shop.)
Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment
11. Learn when to let go of a stubborn blackhead.
You should really only be targeting the darkest, more obvious blackheads from the start. But if one of those dark blackheads doesn’t pop, take a deep breath and let it be. “My general rule is three strikes and you’re out,” says Rouleau. “Meaning, if it doesn’t come out after three tries, don’t do it any longer or you’ll risk damaging your skin or potentially breaking a capillary.” If it’s not coming out, that means it’s not the time to remove it. You can just come back to it another day. It’s better than causing damage.
There’s also, of course, the chance that what you think is a blackhead might not actually be a blackhead at all. Geraghty points out that deep cysts or milia can masquerade as blackheads, and both necessitate a visit to the dermatologist since both require more than a simple extraction.
12. Try a HydraFacial.
If you struggle with constant blackheads, Gohara recommends trying a HydraFacial, which pairs gentle suction to remove trapped debris and then infuses skin with moisture—think of it as an amped-up facial. “This is a great way to keep pores clean without overly stripping your skin of moisture,” says Robinson.
13. See a pro.
Sometimes it’s best to let a pro handle it. “If it’s a struggle to get blackheads out and you’re not getting results, then definitely see a pro,” says Rouleau.
“It’s safest to see a well-trained aesthetician or dermatologist who can perform in-office extractions or microdermabrasion,” says Geraghty. “Microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliating treatment that often involves a little pen or wand that acts like a mini sandblaster and vacuum cleaner in one.”
Additional reporting by Emily Rekstis and Bella Cacciatore
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Everything went according to the planned scenario, correspondence, an offer to meet, sex. With some I corresponded for weeks before meeting with others for several days. Some had cool, crazy sex, others just poked me with their flaccid pods. Everything changed when Slava appeared, but first things first.