Some of us have been fighting the up hill blackhead battle and acne since day one of puberty, while others may start getting blackheads as they age or hormone levels change. What is the difference between a blackhead and whitehead? A blackhead is an open comedone and occurs when a pore or hair follicle gets clogged with a piece of flaky skin, bacteria, or oil. A whitehead is essentially the same, but the whitehead is a closed comedone, which means that the pore is is completely clogged and no air can enter the pore. The skin debris, bacteria, and sebum remain trapped in a whitehead until the the blemish drains. Whiteheads tend to be larger and can cause swelling and tenderness. Blackheads can be an occasional occurrence or they can be a symptom of acne, and they will never go away without the right treatment. So, “What cause Blackheads, and how do you get rid of them for good?” “Why are they so hard to get rid of, and why is it NOT okay to pop them with your fingers?” These are all common questions that are frequently sought after by acne sufferers.
Extraction is one way to get rid of your blackheads, but it’s all about being sanitary to ensure that you are not spreading bacteria around and causing more acne. Dr.Oz recommends using three simple steps when extracting pimples and blackheads. You will need an extractor tool, which has a double side, one side for blackheads and the larger side for whiteheads. Use a facial steamer to open your pores, and wash with warm water combined with Epsom salt to loosen the blackheads. Push with your sanitized extractor with just enough pressure that it pops right out without much force. Do not push too excessively, or you can cause broken capillaries. If the blackhead won’t come out try more steam and repeat. Baking Soda acts as an exfoliater, and when used regularly can minimize blackhead breakouts. You can also replace the water in the mixture with apple cider vinegar, which has anti-bacterial properties and can clear out those clogged pores.
Another way to rid yourself of pesky blackheads is by using a Salicylic and Glycolic Acid, or AHA/BHA, based cleanser. These two work together by breaking down oil in your blackheads and pimples. These acids attach themselves to fat and oils at the surface of the pustule and dissolve the plug. Daily use of a cleanser that has a AHA/BHA formula will prevent blackheads and banish existing acne to reveal a flawless face. Glycolic Acid, which is made from sugar cane, will exfoliate flaky dead skin and debris on your face. Dermatologists recommend Retinoids, a vitamin A treatment, as the best way to clear existing blackheads and to prevent them from ever forming. Though prescription strength retinoids are the most effective and take less time see the results, there are are several over the counter retinol treatments to choose from. Retinoids increase cell turnover and rid your your face of dead skin cells, making it less likely for blackheads to appear. With regular use of a retinoid cream you will have increasing peeling and dryness to start, but within four to six weeks you should see the peeling decreasing and the skin appearing brighter, clearer, and more even toned.
Whatever you do, don’t squeeze your blackheads or pimples with your fingers. Keep your hands and hair away from your face. To prevent blackheads and use a non-comedogenic makeup, which means it won’t clog your pores. Don’t use any sharp objects to poke or drain you acne as well. This could lead to more acne, scarring, or damage to your skin. Patience is also key in the fight against blackheads. Sometimes your skin might purge itself when starting a new regiment and that is normal. Retinol creams tend to dry the skin and cause minor irritation before you start to see improvement. Don’t give up!