How to Get Rid of Blackheads
Most people look for ways to get rid of blackheads quickly by trying to pick, squeeze, and pop them. Unfortunately, such actions can make the situation much worse. Blackheads are a type of acne that appear when your pores are clogged.
The top of the blackhead, which is visible on the surface of the skin, usually has a dark color and can stand out on an otherwise smooth complexion. Knowing how your blackheads appeared is crucial for deciding how to treat them.
We asked Dr. Jeremy Fenton, a New York City dermatologist in Schweiger Dermatology Group’s Midtown East location, exactly what causes blackheads and how to get rid of them.
How do blackheads form?
Even though it may seem like blackheads magically appear without reason, it is rarely the case.
“Blackheads are caused by the pores getting clogged up by oils, dirt, and dead skin cells, which then come into contact with oxygen (oxidize) and turn that dark color,” explains Dr. Fenton.
Now that you know how they got there, let’s talk about how to remove blackheads from your skin.
How do you get rid of blackheads?
The most important thing you can do to get rid of and prevent blackheads is to follow a good exfoliating routine.
“Exfoliation will remove the blockage and loosen the debris,” says Dr. Fenton. “A salicylic acid (or glycolic acid) facial wash is an easy thing to start with and should be used regularly to prevent further buildup.”
Salicylic acid is easy to find in topical creams (in varying percentage strengths) at the drugstore. Some salicylic acid treatments can even be used as leave-on treatments.
Another way to exfoliate is with a mechanical brush, such as a Clarisonic.
Regular chemical peels, either by a dermatologist or an at-home peel system, can also help maintain a clean complexion.
Over-the-counter (OTC) retinols or prescription-strength retinoids (such as Retin-A) are considered the best topical medication for blackheads.
“These will normalize the flow of skin cells and exfoliate the top layer to help free up blackheads,” says Dr. Fenton. “They have the added benefit of also reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines.”
Is there a way to remove blackheads quickly?
If you’re pressed for time and cannot wait for the exfoliation process to work, you can use those OTC pore cleaning strips or visit an aesthetician for blackhead extraction.
However, the key to blackhead-busting success is combining quick fixes with an exfoliating routine to prevent them from returning.
“If you’re going for extractions, make sure you get your dermatologist’s recommendation because overly aggressive treatments can do more harm than good,” advises Dr. Fenton.
How do you keep blackheads away?
Since many blackhead treatments can strip essential oils from the skin and cause dryness, using a daily moisturizer should become a necessary part of your skincare routine. Be sure to choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer that won’t clog the pores (and lead to acne or more blackheads).
Lastly, don’t forget to remove your makeup every night. Leaving makeup on your skin presents more “stuff” to potentially block your pores and trap in the oil and debris.
Are you looking for a solution to your blackheads problem?
We can help! Blackheads need not cause you any more sleepless nights. Dr. Jeremy Fenton treats patients at Schweiger Dermatology Group’s Midtown Manhattan dermatology office. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Fenton or any of our on-staff dermatology providers for help with your concerns.