How to Get Rid of Blackheads In 1 week
While all pimples are no fun, blackheads can be some of the most annoying to deal with: How to Get Rid of Blackheads In 1 week, They are abundant, hard to hide, and just keep coming back. “Blackheads, which are medically known as open comedones, are pores filled with oil or sebum, debris, and dead skin cells,” explains Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., a dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology in New York City. The oily mixture sits at the surface opening of the pore, where it gets oxidized by air and turns a black or gray color.
Blackheads and whiteheads are typically the earliest signs of acne
The main difference between them is that blackheads appear dark due to the pores being open, while “whiteheads are closed comedones, meaning that the surface of the plugged follicle is covered by a thin layer of skin, creating a lighter color.”
But before you get your fingers in position to squeeze those blackheads (yes, it is okay; see below for the safest way!), Good Housekeeping editors interviewed top dermatologists about blackhead causes and how to get rid of even the deepest blackheads on the nose, cheeks, back and more:
First, what causes blackheads?
According to Dr. Gymrek, blackheads have many underlying causes. “They are most commonly seen during puberty when hormones lead to the increased production of sebum or oil, and the pore gets clogged,” she explains. “Hormones may also fluctuate and cause blackheads during monthly menstruation and in those with polycystic ovarian syndrome or other hormonal syndromes where there is an excess of androgens.”
What are the best treatments for blackheads?
There are many ways to treat and prevent blackheads, but generally speaking, you want to “consistently use medicated cleansers or treatment products that help break up the debris within your pores, regardless of whether the blackheads are on your cheeks or back,” Dr. Rodney says. Here are the best blackhead treatment ingredients and formulas to look for:
1. Use a daily cleanser with salicylic acid
First, seek out active ingredients like salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that is ideal for removing blackheads. “Because it’s oil-soluble, it is able to deeply penetrate the pores and oil glands to break up the debris and sebum,” Dr. Rodney explains. She recommends using it in a daily cleanser.
2. Or try a face wash with benzoyl peroxide
Another effective and slightly more powerful option for blackheads is benzoyl peroxide, also popular in cleansers. It helps dissolve the dead skin cells above the top of the pimple, helping to open it up. Dr. Gmyrek warns not to be overzealous and use more than is recommended on the product packaging instructions, as doing so can dry out and irritate the skin.
How to Get Rid of Blackheads In 1 week
3. Apply powerful retinoids for deep pore cleansing
If all else fails, retinoids and retinol (a milder version), both vitamin A derivatives, can also be extremely effective in treating blackheads. “Retinoids change the way your skin cells develop from the inside out, to prevent the clogging of pores and acne formation,” Dr. Rodney explains. Retinoids are available both in over-the-counter and prescription strength. (Bonus: They also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles). Both Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. Bank recommend using an adapalene 0.1 percent gel.
4. Use steam for careful extractions
Start by steaming your face to open up your pores, Dr. Bank suggests. “Then, use two cotton swabs or a comedone extractor to gently press on the sides of the blackhead,” he continues. “Do not use your hands, as this can introduce bacteria and lead to infection.”
5. Try a two-step approach to nix blackheads overnight
To help blackheads disappear by morning, Dr. Bank recommends a two-step process: Use a pore strip first and follow by applying a salicylic acid gel before bed.
If you have blackheads on your cheeks, be gentle. “Remember that this skin will be a bit drier and perhaps more sensitive to salicylic acid, retinoids or benzoyl peroxide than other spots,” Dr. Gmyrek says. You can use these ingredients, but in smaller quantities so the skin doesn’t dry out or get irritated.
What about removing blackheads on the back and body?
For blackheads on the back skin, “I recommend using a benzoyl peroxide face or body wash in the shower daily,” Dr. Gymrek says. “Let it sit on the skin for a minute or two before washing off.” She suggests trying a formula that contains 5% benzoyl peroxide to start, then moving to a higher percentage if your skin can tolerate it without irritation. If benzoyl peroxide is too drying, apply a salicylic acid wash instead, Dr. Gymrek suggests.
Another option: Before bed, spread a thin coat of a retinoid gel or cream on the area, starting with every other night to prevent irritation. (If you can’t reach your back, get someone to help you apply the cream. For more stubborn blackheads, visit a dermatologist. which contains a mix of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to deeply exfoliate skin and treat acne.
What blackhead removal treatments should I avoid?
If a blackhead is large in size or resisting removal, don’t try to DIY. “For those super deep blackheads, you should see a dermatologist or esthetician, as they have special tools that can safely extract the gunk trapped in your pores,” Dr. Rodney explains. “Do not attempt to remove these yourself, as this can cause trauma and scarring of your skin.”
DIY blackhead removal hacks are dicey in general. A PSA from our dermatologist pros: Though much talked about on the internet, toothpaste is not an effective blackhead treatment— it’s too harsh and drying on the Skin.
How can I prevent blackheads?
While you can’t get rid of blackheads permanently (sorry!), you can maintain a consistent skincare routine incorporating the tips above to prevent future ones from popping up. Some more must-dos: