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Little Black Dots: Getting Rid of Blackheads

Dr. Amna Rasul

2 min read

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A member of the acne family, blackheads are a result of oil, dirt and dead skin cells clogging skin pores and giving a characteristic unsightly black appearance when exposed to and oxidized by air. Instead of risking skin damage and scarring by popping them, here are a few ways to remove blackheads:

1- Bentonite Clay Masks:

The benefits of this natural ingredient are threefold: it acts as a mild exfoliant by clearing away dead skin cells, extracts oils and other impurities clogging skin pores, and helps improve overall health and skin tone by improving blood circulation. Simply mix the clay in adequate amounts of apple cider vinegar (or in water for sensitive or dry skin), apply the mixture, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. You can do this one or twice a week.

2- Salicylic Acid:

Instead of the commonly recommended benzoyl peroxide, which only reduces bacterial inflammations in cystic or pustular acne, opt for skin-clearing products containing salicylic acid. It helps resolve blackheads by breaking down the pore clogging oils and dead skin cells. Be sure to purchase a product that can be left on your skin for prolonged periods since salicylic acid works best when allowed to stay longer on the skin. Use it once every few days.

3- Baking Soda and Water:

Yet another exfoliant, this common ingredient gently and effectively extracts dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from clogged pores, while also balancing skin pH. To use, simply massage a paste of equal parts baking soda and water onto your skin, rinse with lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer, as its salty nature can cause skin dehydration.

4- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and Mint:

This toner breaks down pore clogging contents and has a cooling, tightening effect on skin, while also reducing inflammation around pores that have been manipulated by self-extraction attempts. Let a combination of 3 tablespoons ACV and some mint leaves sit in a cool dark place for 1 week, strain them , mix them in 1 cup of water and store them in the refrigerator for 6 days. Apply the toner evenly over affected areas every night after a thorough face rinse. Keep it overnight, rinsing it off in the morning, and applying moisturizer to combat the ingredients’ drying effect.

5- Tea Tree Oil:

While blackheads are not usually caused by bacterial or fungal infections, this staple treatment for cystic acne as well as other inflammatory forms of acne is also highly effective for long-term blackhead removal. Simply mix a few drops of tea tree oil, ACV and water in a spritz bottle and spray it onto your face, or apply it using a cotton pad daily, followed by a non-comedogenic moisturizer.

6- Oatmeal:

In addition to ACV and tea tree oil toners, adding a natural oatmeal scrub to your daily skin routine is an effective long-term solution for blackhead banishment. Simply apply a paste of 2 tablespoons oatmeal, 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, and the juice of half a lemon over the affected area(s). Leave it on for 7-10 minutes, then rinse it gently with warm water.

7- Consider a chemical peel

Generally, for anti-aging benefits, such as reduced age spots and fine lines, chemical peels are used. These peels perform by removing the top layer of the skin, as they usually have AHAs.

In theory, a smoother and refreshed-looking skin should be revealed after the completion of this process. Although, chemical peels can most likely remove dead skin cells and shrink enlarged pores, they are not considered a primary treatment for blackheads. For someone especially looking for antiaging benefits, this treatment would be helpful.

8- Use a clay mask

One of the ways to remove blackheads are clay masks. They basically retrieve dirt, oil, and other elements deep from the pores. Clay masks can even remove and loosen clogged pores.

Another ingredient found in clay masks is sulfur, which helps in the breakdown of dead skin cells that make up blackheads.

All masks can be used once a week along with once- or twice-weekly exfoliating treatment.

9- Pick up a skin brush

A device to get similar exfoliating benefits as AHAs and BHAs, by cutting out excess dead skin cells, is a skin brush. The trick is to use it once a week to avoid any irritation and use it on alternate days from AHA or BHA exfoliators.

It depends on an individual’s budget and needs on what brush to choose as there is a whole collection of them.

As with all new ways to remove blackheads, results can take between 6-12 weeks to appear, making patience a key ingredient in blackhead removal. Nevertheless, professional extraction by your dermatologist may be due if blackheads persist or increase beyond this time period. You can book an appointment with a top dermatologists in Multan, Karachi, and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT doctor for your skin concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Amna Rasul - Author Dr. Amna Rasul is a Dermatologist practicing in Lahore. Dr. Amna Rasul has the following degrees: M.B.B.S., F.C.P.S. and has 9 years of experience.
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