The most annoying thing about blackheads is how stubborn they are. Unlike zits, which have a tendency to come and go, if you have an area of your face that is congested with blackheads, it seems like they just never go away. So if you're over the long game of getting rid of blackheads, don't fret. There are actually a few faster ways to eliminate those pore-clogging monsters. And to find out what some of the fastest, most effective methods are, I emailed with a couple of experts.
Jordana Mattioli, NYC-based esthetician, and Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, both revealed some of their favorite, fast ways for dealing with stubborn blackheads at home. But before you get to extracting, it's important to also know how to prevent your blackheads from coming back, so you can finally exit that vicious circle.
According to Mattioli, you should incorporate products into your skincare routine that contain vitamin A (such as retinoids) and/or salicylic acid in a leave-on formula, as this acid can't properly penetrate the pores in a cleansing formula. Dr. Tanzi adds to make sure that your products aren't just "oil-free" but also "non-comedogenic" to ensure that they won't clog your pores. By using these types of products in addition to any of the following five methods for removing blackheads, you can look forward to clearer skin.
To gently remove blackheads at home, Mattioli says to follow this procedure: Start by washing and exfoliating, then hold a warm, damp washcloth on the affected area for a minute to help open your pores. Next, wrap your fingers in thin, moist cotton pads or tissues, and squeeze in an upwards motion to push each blackhead out. With this step though, Mattioli warns to only extract for one minute, and save whatever you can't get out easily for another day as "too much squeezing can cause broken capillaries and inflammation." After your minute is up, finish by washing your skin again with a gentle cleanser and apply a benzoyl peroxide product to kill bacteria.
Extraction tools are another way to gently express blackheads, says Dr. Tanzi. To use one, wash the affected area and sterilize the tool before aligning one of the loops around the area you wish to extract. Then, simply use gentle pressure to help push each blackhead out. Dr. Tanzi further explains, "The key is to not put too much pressure on the skin [or] drag the tool across the surface of the skin, which can cause tearing of the skin." If a blackhead seems to be stuck and doesn't easily expel from the skin, she advises to stop applying pressure and instead try a product containing retinol to help loosen the blackhead before trying again in a few days.
3. Pore Strips
Although Mattioli explains that pore strips don't always remove entire blackheads, they will at least help extract the tops of blackheads, will take care of your whole nose or other section of your face at once, and are safe to use once a week.
4. Clay Masks
Another treatment to try once per week is a clay mask, which Mattioli says can also "absorb excess oil from the surface of a blackhead," and generally only takes about 10 or 20 minutes to use.
If you're wary of performing your own extractions, or your skin needs a little extra help, Dr. Tanzi also recommends using a glycolic acid cleanser to help loosen blackheads.
Because even though they can be stubborn, there are still quick ways to eliminate your blackheads.
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