It is not always possible to prevent blackheads, but good cleansing habits, lifestyle tips, and a range of natural and other remedies may help remove them.
Blackheads are pinhead-like lesions that affect the face and body. They represent oil plugs that contain dead skin cells, bacteria, and other materials.
Blackheads formTrusted Source when dead skin cells and oil inside the pore rise and push through the skin’s surface. When these materials interact with the air, they oxidize and turn black, forming a plug.
Doctors also call blackheads open comedones. To treat these, a person needs to use products that break up the oil plug that formed inside the pore. Once they break up the oil plug, preventive methods can help keep blackheads at bay.
Blackhead removal for the face
Removing blackheads from the face requires a consistent skincare routine using products that can break up the skin-clogging oil inside.
1. Cleanse daily
Daily cleansing is vital to reduce excess oil, dirt, and other materials that can build up, clog pores, and potentially cause blackheads.
One approach that appears to help Trusted Source is double-cleansing.
First, the person cleanses with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and pollutants from the skin.
They follow this with a gentle, water-based cleanser. This removes dirt and oils and prepares the skin for other treatments, such as applying a topical treatment.
2. Apply blackhead-clearing topicals
Topical applications can help break up the oil plug that leads to blackheads. These do take time to work, and a person may have to apply them daily for several weeks before the plug breaks up, reducing the blackhead’s appearance.
Topical applications include:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): These are fruit acids that can encourage trusted Source exfoliation. Examples include glycolic, mandolin, and lactic acids. These topical applications promote skin peeling and reduce blackheads.
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid comes from the willow tree. It is also a natural peeling agent that can help to peel away pore plugs.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In one small studyTrusted Source, 14 people with mild to moderate acne used a gel containing tea tree oil for 12 weeks. The results suggested that products containing tea tree oil can help manage symptoms without severe adverse effects.
Another option is benzoyl peroxide, a topical application that can reduce bacteria and promote peeling.
3. Try a natural blackhead removal mask
Exfoliating scrubs or masks can help remove dead skin cells that may otherwise clog pores and lead to more blackheads.
According to one article from 2016, colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory, exfoliating, and skin-soothing properties that may help people with eczema. The researchers suggested it could help reduce irritation and manage various skin conditions due to its beneficial effects on the skin barrier. It may help with acne, but there is no specific evidence to confirm this.
4. Facial scrubs
Some people use scrubs to exfoliate the skin in the hope that it will look smoother. For acne, the idea is that the scrub will open up closed comedones and stop them from progressing. However, their abrasive effect may lead to irritation.
Ingredients used in scrubs include:
- ground fruit pits
- aluminum oxide
- sodium tetraborate decahydrate granules
- polyethylene beads
People should check the ingredients of a scrub before purchasing. ExpertsTrusted Source note that sodium tetraborate decahydrate granules dissolve during washing, making them less abrasive and more suitable than other options for sensitive skin.