How to Get Rid of Blackheads the Right Way

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An oldie but a goodie, these help get rid of blackheads in the most basic way: by plucking it out. "It's essentially putting a band-aid on your nose," says Robinson. "So if your skin has been adequately prepped with warm water and the pore is open, the suction from removing the strip will lift the trapped debris to the surface. " That said, they're not really treating the blackheads; they're just removing the uppermost (and visible) portion.

Retinoids are unmatched in their ability to spur cell turnover, removing dead skin cells and lowering the chances of a clog forming. "A very thin layer applied at bedtime can help to exfoliate your skin, unclog pores, reduce oiliness, and remove and prevent small blackheads and whiteheads," she says.

First, it helps to know what causes blackheads. (As Sun Tzu says, know thy enemy. ) "Blackheads form when the opening of a pore on your skin becomes clogged with sebum," says Deanne Mraz Robinson, M. D. , a dermatologist in Westport, CT. "Dead skin cells and oils collect in the pore.

Another popular option is the HydraFacial, which pairs gentle suction to remove trapped debris and then infused skin with moisture—think of it as an amped-up facial. "This is a great way to keep pores clean without overly stripping your skin of moisture," says Robinson.

While some heavy oils, such as avocado oil, can clog pores, a lack of it causes skin to produce more—which leads to, you guessed it, more breakouts. “Overly dry skin can start to produce excess blackhead-causing oil,” says New York City celebrity aesthetician Christine Chin. “Make sure you maintain a normal flow of oil from your pores by keeping your skin's moisture level balanced. ” Try one with squalane oil, which serves as an emollient but is noncomedogenic—it's the best of both worlds.

In fact, your best bet is to use a mild cleanser. "It will not overly strip your skin of moisture, which actually can trigger the overproduction of sebum and further exacerbate the problem," says Robinson.

Try SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser Gel, which, she says, "marries glycolic acid and salicylic acid with glycerin and sorbitol, which act as humectants and help your skin retain moisture. " Win-win.

If you're DIY-ing the extraction, "the key is to be gentle," says Geraghty. "Every day, I see patients who pick, scratch and extract spots on their skin, and this puts them at risk of permanent scarring.

Learning how to get rid of blackheads can be a game-changer, since they can stick around when left unchecked. "Some blackheads can persist for days, weeks, or even months if not extracted, while your body usually clears small whiteheads within a week to 10 days," says dermatologist Laurel Geraghty.

For exfoliation, opt for acids. "I much prefer a chemical exfoliant to a physical one, which means turning to chemical peels and alpha-hydroxy acids versus a scrub," says Robinson. "They can cause microtears in your skin.

But if one of those dark blackheads doesn’t pop, take a deep breath and let it be. “My general rule is three strikes and you’re out,” says Rouleau. “Meaning, if it doesn’t come out after three tries, don’t do it any longer or you’ll risk damaging your skin or potentially breaking a capillary. ” If it’s not coming out, that means it's not the time to remove it.

Speaking of derms, they can also help. "It’s safest to see a well-trained aesthetician or dermatologist who can perform in-office extractions or microdermabrasion," says Geraghty. "Microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliating treatment that often involves a little pen or wand that acts like a mini-sandblaster and vacuum cleaner in one.

Specifically, she likes salicylic acid, which can dive deep into your pore and the dissolve the sebum that's causing the clog. "It essentially keeps pores open and clean," she says.

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