Blackheads are annoying, especially when you feel like no matter what you do they keep coming back. Although, I must say as an esthetican there is nothing more satisfying than a good extraction session with a client. Gross...yes but someone has to do it ;)
What are blackheads?
A blackhead is a mass of hardened sebum (excess oil) and skin cells trapped in a hair follicle. When the follicle becomes filled with an excess amount of oil a blackhead will form. It is dark because it is exposed to oxygen.
Common misconceptions about blackheads:
- Blackheads are caused by poor cleansing and dirty skin- NOT true. In fact it is quite the opposite in most cases. When your skin is overly dry (from too much cleansing and not enough moisture) blackheads will form underneath the skin because your skin is overcompensating to produce more oil.
- The reason they are black is because there is dirt trapped under the skin- NOT true. The oil that is trapped beneath the pore turns dark brown or black because it is exposed to air. Similar to how a banana turns brown once opened and left on the counter.
How to treat and reduce blackheads:
- Do not over wash your face. Washing your face twice a day is ideal. See common face wash mistakes here and you can check out the oil cleansing method here.
- Steam your face once a week to soften up the blackheads and open up the follicles. This makes it easier to remove them. Be careful when extracting yourself, you can easily spread bacteria if your hands are not clean.
- Exfoliate 2-3 times per week. You can find an all natural exfoliator here.
- Apply a clay mask 2 times per week. The clay will help draw out the excess oil which will make blackheads less frequent. A DIY clay mask can be found here.
- Wear a mineral based or a non-comedogenic makeup if possible. Heavy foundation can clog pores, which can result in blackheads.
- If you have tried all the above remedies and want to take a little more aggressive route, make an appointment with an esthetican to have a few microdermabrasion treatments. Microdermabrasion removes the outer dead layer of skin, which will drastically improve the frequency of blackheads.
If you have any skin care topics that you would be interested in learning more about I would love to hear. You can either e-mail me or leave your suggestion in the comment section below.