Dealing with pesky summer breakouts is one thing. But blackheads? That’s a whole other beast altogether.
So, how do you get rid of blackheads? Is it even possible? First, know thy enemy. Unlike pimples, which can be filled with pus and blood deep into (and under) the skin, blackheads are mostly dead skin cells and skin oil clogging pores on the surface. The longer they go unclogged, the more they oxidize and turn black. And the longer they sit, the more dead skin and oil can build up, making them larger and deeper.
But excessive or rough scrubbing (or squeezing) can make the problem worse. Here’s how to safely and effectively get rid of blackheads.
- Exfoliate: It’s a key skincare routine all year round and especially in the summer when oily skin abounds. If you’re out and about all slathered with sunscreen, too, that can make skin even more sensitive to blackheads. Using a fruit-acid-based skin exfoliant can be extremely helpful in preventing the dead skin cells from building up, making pores less likely to fill up. Exfoliate once or twice per week, or talk with your dermatologist.
- Salicylic acid: A popular topical acne medication, salicylic acid may also be helpful in treating and preventing blackheads. While this ingredient is common in many over-the-counter and conventional acne treatments, it’s generally safe for most skin types. Common side effects include redness and dryness. If you’re a regular natural skincare user, look for isolated salicylic acid as many of the products can contain some not so natural fillers and preservatives. Use as directed.
- Charcoal: Activated charcoal is gaining ground as a natural beauty superstar for its ability to help dry up and prevent breakouts. It may also help to pull impurities, like excess dead skin cells and oils, out of the skin, leading to fewer blackheads.
- Don’t overwash: Dead skin. Excess oil. Of course it’s natural to think that you should be washing the heck out of your face to get rid of those offenders. But don’t overdo it. Too much washing can make the skin work to replenish the oil and that can lead to, you guessed it, more blackheads. Wash only when necessary (at least morning and night, but after a workout, beach sesh, etc). Keep water temperature on the cool side and don’t scrub. Wash gently, but thoroughly.
- Sun protection: You might think a tan will help dry the blackheads out, but what really happens when you roast yourself is you create more dead skin, more quickly. That, of course, causes pores to clog and form blackheads. Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen (and one with all-natural ingredients) and your skin will thank you.
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