Does your skin care routine cause more blackheads than it fixes? Find out what we found out about blackheads and how to get rid of them effectively.
Acne and blackheads can kill an awesome selfie with you and your friends, and it seems like no matter how many times you scrub your face, they keep reappearing in more significant numbers. So what do you do to get rid of blackheads and how can you prevent them from becoming worse later on?
You may be surprised that your current routine might be making your blackhead problems worse and there are much better methods that you can incorporate in your routine that would reduce future popups and get rid of the ones you have now. Better yet, these are all dermatologist approved, so you know that it’s good for your skin.
What Are Blackheads?
Before you can defeat blackheads, you need to have a good idea about what they are and how they develop. As we are likely all aware, blackheads are those tiny dark brown to black bumps that frequently scatter around the nose, chin, and forehead. Blackheads can also appear on a person’s back, neck, chest, and arms, though these are less common.
These eyesores are a result of a clog occurring in your hair follicles from a mix of sebum and some form of debris like dead skin or dirt. Sebum is the natural oils that the body produces to keep your skin from drying out. An overabundance of sebum can cause this oil to collect dust, dead skin, and other problematic items which effectively closes off your pores.
What makes a blackhead dark on the top is all thanks to the oxygen that we are virtually surrounded by. Once this mixture settles and comes in contact with the air, the clog begins to oxidize and thus turn black on the top. While blackheads are a form of acne, thankfully they are the lesser of two evils and don’t cause discomfort when they develop.
What Causes Blackheads?
There are so many ways and reasons behind those blackheads that are plaguing your skin that it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly causes them. You may have one definitive reason behind your problem, or the reason they appear could be a combination of several different factors.
These are some of the core reasons that blackheads develop on your skin, some are easy to change, but others may require a medical intervention before the issue stops. It’s always best to go through a process of elimination to understand what you can change and what needs a professional.
From the cusp of puberty all the way into adulthood, hormonal changes have made our skin oily and plagued with acne issues. Some of us get lucky once we’re in adulthood and our acne issues mellow out, but for the ladies, that particular time once a month seems to wreak havoc on our faces with new acne breakouts.
Birth control is another way for our bodies to start overproducing sebum and cause more acne issues. While some women have reported that birth control helped their acne and blackhead issues, not all prescriptions work the same, and each person reacts differently to each one.
The following ingredients are in what is considered androgen-based progestin that causes issues like acne, unwanted body hair and even weight gain issues.
- Norethindrone acetate
For concerns like this, it would be a good idea to speak with your doctor about your options. They may be able to suggest an alternative to what you’re currently on to help meet your needs in your medication without overloading your body with harmful hormones.
Finally, the last hormonal change that women experience would be pregnancy. Many times, women will experience an outbreak of acne within their first six weeks of pregnancy which is typically when the most significant changes to their hormones happen. Your body will also retain more liquids at this point which leads to more pimples.
Heat And Sweat
Sweating alone doesn’t cause acne, but it may help in the production of a form of acne that creates smaller white bumps to appear, appearing on individuals who take on more extreme workouts or the people who have a physically demanding job especially. During your workout session, make sure your hair stays out of your face.
Greasy, sweaty hair can transfer bacteria to your face which will create a whole cluster of new acne to appear in as little as a day. When finished with an intense workout session, rinse your face, neck, and chest off with water until you can get home and take a shower.
Stress isn’t a healthy state of mine to deal with, and while there isn’t significant evidence to suggest that stress causes acne breakouts, there is a correlation that doctors have noted between a patient's stress levels and the amount of acne that they have.
The most significant contributor is the levels of androgen in a woman’s system. Typically the more stressed out they are, the worse their acne breakouts become.
How To Get Rid Of Blackheads
Now that we’ve gotten a clear idea of what causes blackheads in the first place, it’s time to take a look at methods that work - and some that don’t work.
Stop What You’re Doing
Before you try to get rid of another blackhead, it’s time to look at some critical problems with your current routine. If you’re doing any of the following, you could be severely damaging your skin. Things like:
- Pore strips
- Over scrubbing
- Manual extraction
Doing these things are all ways that you can cause lasting damage to your skin and make your acne worse. When it comes to pore strips, it may feel satisfying seeing all that nasty built up gunk stuck to the strip paper, but it only takes out some of the issues, leaving the rest to build back up and appear in less than a week’s time.
Over scrubbing irritates and inflames the skin. You should only be washing your face twice a day to remove a healthy amount of dead skin and grime. While sebum seems to be the reason we’re feeling oily and gross, it is the entire reason our faces look youthful and hydrated.
If you scrub too often, your body will feel the need to overcompensate which will give you even worse acne later. Instead, limit yourself to twice a day scrubbings. Treat your face with a little TLC.
Then there’s manual removal. Doing this holds a sort of satisfaction for some people, but honestly, the damage that you’re doing to your skin isn’t healthy. When you push your skin together to squeeze out the blackheads filling, you’re creating irritation where you’re forcing them together. This action can cause acne scars if the damage is severe enough.
Do These Things Instead
These are methods that are guaranteed to get rid of blackheads and allow you to prevent their resurgences. As of right now, there’s nothing that cures you forever of blackheads, but you’ll be able to minimize how often they appear and have a proper plan of action ready when your menstrual cycle hits.
One of the easiest ways to dissolve blackheads and prevent their return is to pick up a product that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps dissolve the blackheads cap and the bacteria inside your pores to clear them up.
The best way to use this product is by applying it on your skin, especially in areas where your blackheads are the worst and let it sit there. Over time the gel will disappear thanks to evaporation, but while it's sitting on your skin, the acids are dissolving the contents inside your pores. You'll be getting rid of current blackheads along with any that haven't risen yet.
Wait, didn't I say not to use manual removal methods to get rid of blackheads? I did, however, there are tools that you can use instead that work better on your skin than if you were using your nails.
The tool in question is known as a round loop extractor or comedo extractor. This device is used by dermatologists to push at the skin around your blackhead or a pimple until the pressure eventually forces it to pop. This tool also ensures that all of the contents in your pores are cleared away, unlike using your fingers which runs the risk of leaving buildup behind.
The best part about this method is that you won't have to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist every time a new blackhead appears. You can purchase a kit for your personal use with the same results on Amazon.
Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are another alternative solution to taking care of your blackheads. Mild chemical peel solutions will be made available over the counter, anything stronger will have to go through a dermatologist to have done.
What chemical peels do for your blackheads is take off the topmost layer of skin to reveal the softer regenerative skin cells underneath. This process also unclogs your pores which leaves them clear of debris. The problem with chemical peels is the potential to dry out your skin. This process is something that you should do only every so often.
Microdermabrasion is a much more gentle process as far as handling blackhead removal. Abrasive materials are used to work away at the top layer of the skin while a suction tool follows behind to clear out your pores. After your procedure finishes, your pores will have clarity from any debris, and your face will feel smooth.
You will likely only be able to get this done through a dermatologist, and they can recommend how often you'll need the procedure done based on your skin type.