Ways To Clear Your Pores Once And For All

Portrait of young woman on sunny day with shade on her face brunette real person
Stephanie Verhart/E+/Getty Images

While blackheads can be just as aggravating as pimples, they're an entirely different beast. Because blackheads dwell beneath the surface of the skin, sometimes it requires more complex hacks to clear the pores. The same cleansers, exfoliators, and topical treatments that you might use to target acne don't always cut it when it comes to decongesting the skin. This is because, even though there is a safe way to pop a pimple, with proper hygiene, the odd zit or two will generally clear up on its own. Blackheads, on the other hand, tend to enjoy maintaining their residence. And beyond that, even after a pore is cleared, it still requires proper and regular treatment to help ensure that the blackhead continues to diminish in size, and eventually does not return.

But what types of treatments are best to remove stubborn blackheads? If you're really struggling or are unsure about at-home methods, be sure to talk to your dermatologist first to develop an action plan. But whether you prefer store-bought options or are more of a DIY-er, there are actually a comforting number of ways to help eradicate blackheads. Here are five ways to help clear your pores and decongest your skin.

1. Steam

Lush Tea Tree Toner Tab, $2, Lushusa

Whether you need a mild treatment or solid preparation for another treatment, steam is the way to go. Pour hot water into a bowl, and lower your face over it so that the steam can help open your pores. To reap the most benefits, try adding a couple of drops of tea tree oil or a tab made specifically for steam treatments to the water, and throw a towel over your head and the bowl to really keep the steam concentrated on your face.

2. Extractor

Equinox Blackhead & Blemish Remover Kit, $9, A mazon

If you can't resist squeezing out blackheads, don't use your fingers. Squeezing with your nails and fingertips can destroy skin cells and cause scarring. So if you feel comfortable wielding an extractor, after a hot shower or steam facial, use gentle pressure to help ease blackheads out of your pores. If you'd rather not press your own pores though (which I don't really recommend), try a professional extraction facial instead.

3. Pore Strip

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $9, Amazon

Pore strips are a classic for removing blackheads from key areas like the nose or chin. But if you'd rather make your own, try this favorite method of mine: Stretch out a cotton ball, then soak it in egg whites. Spread the egg-soaked cotton over the area you want to treat, and wait for it to dry before peeling it off.

4. Peel-Off Mask

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, $45, Amazon

Similar to a pore strip, but easier to use over various parts of the face, a peel-off mask often contains extra antioxidant ingredients that benefit your skin. If you want to DIY it: Mix equal parts honey and raw milk in a bowl and microwave it for 10 to 15 seconds. Once the mixture has cooled, brush it onto the areas you want to treat. You'll have to wait about 30 minutes, but then the mask should peel right off. Plus, honey has some amazing skin benefits.

5. Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly (2 pack), $14, Amazon

For a slightly more intensive treatment that you can do with things you probably already have around the house, grab some petroleum jelly, cling wrap, a washcloth, and tissues. Start by taking a hot shower or giving yourself a steam facial to open your pores. Then apply a layer of petroleum jelly over the area that needs to be treated (this helps lock in the heat). Cover the area with cling wrap, and then hold a warm washcloth over the area to further prep for blackhead removal. After about five minutes, wipe off any excess petroleum jelly, wrap tissues around your fingers, and gently squeeze around your blackheads to unclog your pores.

Remember to treat blackheads every one or two weeks (at most) to help keep your skin looking clear and decongested.

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Images: Stephanie Verhart/E+/Getty Images