I was doing my weekly intensive skincare treatment this past weekend which usually consists of a nice and steamy shower, followed by a general sheet mask, a AHA/BHA mask (glycolic acid), a thorough shave (or those without such insane hair issues as me, you can do a microblading sesh, but be careful if your skin is sensitive, I wouldn’t do a shave and AHA/BHA treatment), a longer jade rolling session and once that’s all said and done, I wash my face with the Clarisonic and begin to tackle my now ‘opened’ blackheads. I really enjoy this routine and it certainly helps my skin get an overall freshness that I can sometimes neglect during the week. Though I’ve gotten the habit pretty much down pat.
What are blackheads? ‘Blackheads are a type of comedo. Comedones occur when the pores in the skin become plugged with dead skin cells and an oily, protective substance known as sebum. The top of the blackhead, which is visible on the surface of the skin, has a dark color. Normally, hair grows from hair follicles in the pores, and the sebum-producing sebaceous glands lie underneath. When these pores are plugged, the dead skin cells in the open pore react with oxygen in the air and turn black, forming a blackhead.‘ – Medical News
Besides the masks being one of my favorite parts of the process, I get GREAT satisfaction from the blackhead popping experience and do my absolute best to never go too far. Because I can certainly go too far as some of the acne marks on my skin can show. 😉 But if you’re like me who gets the occasional blackhead or if you’re constantly dealing with blackhead issues, there are some very good techniques that you can consider to help you better tackle those suckers.
Who gets blackheads? The appearance of blackheads varies based on many things including age, skin care regimen, hormone status, makeup use, activity level, shaving frequency, living in a high humidity environment, medications, cortisteroids and heredity (plus more).
My favorite all-time favorite tip for blackheads is to utilize retinoids in your nightly skincare routine. Retinoids work on receptors in the skin to improve the way skin grows and sheds so that it is less likely to form acne & blackheads.
If you are new to retinoids, you may experience some irritations and peeling at the beginning of use, but with regular use after 4 or 6 weeks, you’ll see great improvements in your blackheads.
Schedule quarterly chemical peels. A chemical peel is basically just a technique used to improve the appearance and overall condition of the skin – mainly for the face, neck or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate & eventually peel off during the ‘healing phase’. This will allow for the new, regenerated skin to shine – typically looking smoother, clearer and less wrinkled than the older skin that just fell off!
Visit your skincare provider for more regular facials! This is such a great way to keep your skin ‘clear’. Or you can just do a yearly professional cleaning/facial and do a more consistent facial at home.
I was actually even more encouraged to get my esthetician ‘degree’ recently because of the idea that I could start doing facials for people once I get my certification. (I’ve got my mom coming to visit in a month or so and I really wish I had a whole setup in the house to give her a ‘proper’ facial, but that time will come) I really enjoy this simple routine that can REALLY help the skin and get your skin back into wonderful shape.
And Terri T. if you’re reading this, I sure hope your husband is especially down for your more regular facials now that you’re having a baby 😉
Consider an alpha or beta hydroxy acid.
There are actually several different kinds of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid being one of my most favorites! Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane or made synthetically in a lab and is actually the most common type of AHA.
AHA’s & specifically glycolic acid works by simply exfoliating. Yup, that’s it! Once applied, glycolic acid penetrates the top layer of the skin, weakening the goodies that hold the layers of skin down, allowing them to slough off smoothly and easily. And you know what that results in right!? Yup, smoother more evenly pigmented skin. In addition to removing dead skin cells, glycolic acid helps to bind water to the skin to increase skin hydration leading to a healthy glow.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are another class of goodies commonly used in skin care products. The best-known BHA, but not as popular as glycolic acid, is salicylic acid. More often than not, BHAs are used for people with acne-prone or oily skin types because of how well BHAs get deep into the pores to help remove blackheads, acne gunk & oil on the surface. So basically if you suffer from acne, BHAs should be your go-to!
(Activated) Charcoal masks can be a great weekly treatment to consider for blackheads. Activated charcoal ‘binds’ to and pulls the dirt out of your pores, making them less visible (remember, it’s the oil and dirt that makes them appear bigger).
We highly recommend Origin’s Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores for a weekly treatment.
Use a cleansing brush! Use a cleansing brush like a Clarisonic, once or twice a week to help rid the dead layers of skin allowing for clear & beautiful skin to show from underneath. I use a cleansing brush every night but you don’t have to if your skin is extra sensitive.
We had one Cheeky who was dealing with some hormonal acne and we got her on a cleansing brush and she adores it! And so does her husband.
Moisturize the heck out of your skin. Remember that skincare is all about the perfect balance. So if you’re going to be exfoliating more, your skin will want more moisture. If you don’t add enough moisture, your skin will overcompensate with oils, etc. and you’ll find that you have (more) acne and larger appearing blackheads.
We LOVE how Hydrafacials help to clear up your pores. The multi–step Vortex-Fusion® serum delivery system is what makes the HydraFacial MD® so unique when compared to other facials and procedures. The system evenly exfoliates, extracts, removes impurities, gets rid of dead skin cells all while replenishing your face and neck with vital nutrients such as anti-oxidants, peptides & HA (hyaluronic acid).
You must keep up with your successful skincare regime to avoid blackheads in the future & not be lax. Sure, there are quick fixes, but to really improve the appearance of blackheads, you must consider following the tips above & do so regularly!
…. what doesn’t work….
- Pore strips – I really wouldn’t recommend them
- Blackhead vacuums – I’ve watched like 3 videos just now that show people getting bruises from these things
- Too many abrasive products at once
- Scrubbing or picking at your blackheads
- Skincare products that contain alcohols