Blackheads are different from a typical red bump. It develops when pores are clogged. Take note that each skin pore has a hair follicle and sebaceous gland (oil). This sebaceous gland is responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance to keep the skin hydrated and smooth. Excess of sebum production can cause a clog at the top of the skin pore. When the clog is developed, sebum will accumulate. It will catch and gather dead skin cells and bacteria on its way. This can cause a comedo to develop. Comedo is a single acne lesion, which can be opened or closed.
Blackheads are just one of the two types of comedoes. Blackheads are an open comedo. It is characterized by a plug of clogged pore which is open to the air on its skin surface. Unlike pimples, blackheads are not painful since there is less inflammation with this kind of comedo blockage.
Blackheads are black
Blackheads got their name due to the dark color at the top of the comedo. But the name can be misleading because they can develop in different hues like yellow, black, gray, and brown. Many mistakenly credit the colors to the dirt present in the pores, but they are a result of oxidation.
When melanin pigment which is located in the sebum produced by the oil glands are exposed to the air at the top of the comedo, it is oxidized. It becomes blackhead dark. But when it is not oxidized, blackhead will become more yellow.
Types of Blackheads
Giant Comedo is a large blackhead which is very visible. The Primary Care Dermatology Society explains that the size of giant comedo can come from increased production of corneocytes that line the sebaceous duct. It is linked with the decreased rate where ductal corneocytes separate. However, there is no actual research and data that confirm these theories. These giant comedones are located on different parts of the body, but they are common on the face, back, and chest. They are found in these parts where they have apocrine glands including groin and scrotum. Blackheads are generally occurring in middle-aged and older populations.
Nevus Comedonicus also called super blackheads and spreading blackheads, is an uncommon skin condition. This condition was first noticed in 1895 which manifested in groups of dilated follicular openings characterized by dark keratin plugs. They look like a massive comedo or blackheads. Most of the cases are isolated but they usually linked to central nervous system abnormalities, cutaneous flaws, and ocular anomalies. Some research, like what is published at Medscape, explains that the skin condition may be a sign that there is a presence of follicular formations that are unable to create sebaceous glands and terminal hair, leaving them only to produce smooth keratin.
This soft keratin accumulates in the skin pores that can cause dark, comedo-looking lesions. Although there are not enough studies to confirm the rarity of the skin condition, it seems that it affects men and women equally, but in most cases occur during the early stages of life. Some rare cases show that older adults may be affected by this condition.
Acne is categorized in terms of severity that can range from mild to moderate to severe. Blackheads are categorized as the mildest type but may be present in moderate and severe cases of acne.
Blackheads usually grow on the face because the skin contains a higher level of oil glands. Most blackheads are developed in the T-Zone – the forehead, nose, and chin. However, these open comedones may also grow on different parts of the body like chest, neck, back, buttocks, and other body parts where there are excess pilosebaceous units.
Blackheads vs. Whiteheads
A comedo can be open or closed on the surface of the skin. Blackheads are skin pores that are open to the air with an expanded opening area. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are covered by a thin layer of the skin. Although clogged pores characterize both conditions with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, whiteheads’ tip of the plug are unexposed, and substances may not be hardened, unlike blackheads. Both blackheads and whiteheads are considered non-inflammatory types of acne.
Useful Tips in Managing Blackheads
Keeping hair out of your face
Blackheads developed inside the hair follicles; thus, more hair follicles will result in more blackheads and other types of acne. It is essential to keep your hair off your face and back as much as possible. Greasy hair that touches the skin can spread the acne-causing bacteria conditions.
Avoid excessive sweating
The sweat does not cause the acne-causing bacteria, but it can lead to a subtype of acne, resulting in severe skin irritation. The condition is called Pityrosporum Folliculitis, which is caused by the production of yeast that occurs when the person is sweating. This acne can grow across the back and chest with pinhead-sized acne lesions and small, white bumps that may be itchy. This skin condition usually develops in individuals who do extreme workouts or those who do hard manual labor.
There are not enough studies that confirm whether stress can cause acne, but dermatologists see a link between high stress and the frequency of acne breakouts in different patients and studies. Stress is not the cause, but it can trigger its prevalence. When there is excessive cortisol and androgens released during stress periods, the body reacts by increasing its oil production. It is observed that women produce a higher percentage of androgens than men.
Choose a healthy diet
We hear our doctors and dermatologists to avoid those fast foods and potato chips. Studies are still on progress to support claims what types of foods actually can trigger acne. But there are cases that some individuals still develop blackheads even if they are eating “healthy.” Most experts still have some choices of food for healthy, clear skin.
Some researchers noted a link between smoking and Acne Inversa, another type of acne. This acne occurs differently from Acne Vulgaris where pores are blocked from the top down, caused by excess production of the skin at the top of a skin follicle. Acne Inversa may result in a higher number of comedones and indicates some connection between smoking and the presence of blackheads.
Do cleansing with special scrubs that are formulated to exfoliate the face gently
Get those without fragrance. Avoid any product that can make the skin overly dry. Although we want to somehow “dry up” the skin by reducing the production of excess oils, overly drying it can make the condition worst.
Choose non-comedogenic makeup and cosmetic products that do not clog your pores
This will keep your pores open, clear, and decrease the accumulation of dead skin cells.
Get prescription treatments
There are prescription and over-the-counter products available for non-inflammatory acne. They are topical treatments that can be applied directly to the skin. Prescription treatments with vitamin A like tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene, may be prescribed to keep plugs from building up in the hair follicles and promote turnover of skin cells.
When in doubt, always consult a dermatologist before buying anything to fight blackheads and other types of acne.
Cleansers and Face Masks for Blackheads
If the right cleansers and face masks for blackheads are correctly applied can work wonders. The cleanser serves as an emulsifier that helps remove dead skin cells, excess sebum, and makeup traces from the skin.
The face mask helps refine the skin pores from metabolic impurities, boosts skin hydration, disappears fine lines, giving you an even skin tone. It also helps clear blackheads and prevent future blackheads trigger.
1. Pure Body Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask
The Pure Body Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask is formulated for facial treatment. It helps reduce pores, decrease wrinkles, relieve from acne, blackheads, acne scars, and pimples. Using on the face and body is safe.
- Helps tighten skin pores and remove impurities from the skin.
- Has skin nourishment oils like jojoba seed oil, shea butter extract, sunflower seed oil, and calendula flower oil.
- Also contains allantoin that helps in removing dead skin cells, and relieving dryness.
- Contains antioxidants like vitamin E, aloe vera extract, and beeswax.
- Contains alcohol that may cause skin sensitivity.
- If you have an oily skin type, this product might cause you breakouts because it has plenty of essential oils.
2. Murad Blackhead and Pore Clearing Duo Treatment
The Murad Blackhead and Pore Clearing Duo Treatment is a two-step blackhead and pore clearing system which features Oxidation Reversal Complex formulated to help minimize the recurrence of blackheads and seal pored that helps shield from pore-clogging impurities. Best suit those with oily skin type.
- Contains bentonite clay that helps remove blackheads from the skin because of its potent detoxification power.
- Several herbal extracts help remove blackheads without being harsh to the skin.
- Benzoic acid contained in the blackhead remover helps shield from bacteria that minimize risks of any breakouts.
- The Pore Refining Sealer contains salicylic acid that helps in cell turnover and removes excess oils and dirt from the pores.
- The refining sealer contains amino acids that help promote the production of collagen and elastin giving you a younger and glowing skin.
- Take note that the blackhead remover has plenty of preservatives that may irritate sensitive skin.
- Blackhead remover contains Parfum and may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin type.
3. Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser
This Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser is a soothing, self-heating anti-blackhead formula that clears pore-clogging oils and dirt. It helps control blackheads and prevent acne. The cleanser from Biore removes stubborn oils, dirt, and makeup with a potent formula as it contains salicylic acid and pore-opening warming clay.
This anti-blackhead cleanser is for external use only. Using other topical acne treatments spontaneously or right after applying this product may increase skin irritation or dryness. When this happens, choose and use only one treatment or product unless recommended by your doctor or dermatologist.
Avoid contact with the eyes when using this cleanser. If contact occurs, rinse off thoroughly with water. If accidentally swallowed, get immediate medical help or contact a Poison Control Center.
This anti-blackhead cleanser is formulated for all types of skin.
- Treats blackheads and blemishes as it contains salicylic acid to open pores and deep clear skin.
- Removes more than 90% of oils and dirt from the surface of the skin.
- Minimizes flakiness of the skin with a single use.
- Contains cellulose which helps keep hydration of your skin and balances the moisture level of the skin.
- Contains zeolite that helps absorbs, stores, and balances impurities in the skin.
- Contains alcohol which may be abrasive for the skin.
- Has a fragrance that may not be suitable for the skin of those with allergies to Parfum.
Scrubs for Blackheads
Scrubs for blackheads helps gently exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation is a process of removing the dry and dull skin that accumulated due to dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Exfoliating the skin means unclogging pores and reduce the appearance of pores for radiant, healthy skin.
How to apply scrub properly:
- Dampen the skin with warm water to soften the skin, preparing it for exfoliation.
- Put a small amount of scrub on your fingers and massage in circular movements creating a fine lather.
- Gently rinse off with cold water and follow with a moisturizer after drying.
Precaution: Avoid scrubbing with harsh strokes because it may irritate the skin and cause allergic effects.
4. Exposed Skin Care Microderm Scrub
The Exposed Skin Care Microderm Scrub is a gentle exfoliating scrub is formulated to resurface rough, dull-looking skin. It comes with small corundum crystals that remove dead skin cells, and natural botanicals that repair skin damage. This scrub helps improve overall skin texture for a softer and more radiant complexion. Aside from corundum crystals, it also contains chamomile extract that helps soothes skin, and grape seed oil that helps repair damaged skin. This product is suitable for combination and oily skin.
- The scrub also contains aluminum oxide as its active component that helps unclog pores for exfoliation and resurfacing the skin, thus removing blackheads.
- Aloe vera extract is added that serves as anti-inflammatory properties and smoothens the skin by neutralizing the effects of other potentially harsh ingredients.
- It is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, and mango seed butter.
- Alcohol-free and does not contain any synthetic fragrance.
- Expensive (but the price is worth it).
5. Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub
Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub combines powerful blackhead-fighting treatment and gentle exfoliators that help clear blackheads and prevent new ones from building up for smoother and clearer skin. It helps clean deep into the pores and keep them free of blackheads. It contains salicylic acid that allows absorbing deep into pores to remove stubborn excess oils and dirt, preventing drying the skin. Suitable for all types of skin except sensitive skin type.
- Blackhead eliminating daily scrub contains salicylic acid that helps remove dead skin cells.
- It has cellulose that keeps the right skin moisture level and repairs skin tissues.
- Glycerin helps control and regulate oiliness and removes whiteheads and other blemishes.
- Safe to use every day.
- It also contains sodium hydroxide and iron oxides that can cause skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin.
- Contains alcohol and fragrance that may be harsh to the skin.
- If you have dry skin type, this product may further dry your skin.
6. Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub
The Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub is specially formulated for oily skin type who has specific cleansing needs. It helps unclog pores and clears skin. This product is for external use only. When using this blackhead eliminating scrub with another topical acne treatment, dryness and skin irritation may occur. If irritation is experienced, use only one topical product at a time.
Wet hands and face. Squeeze scrub into your hands and rub together. Apply to face and massage gently. Avoid contact with your eyes. Rinse face thoroughly.
- Contains charcoal that helps remove blackheads for refreshing skin.
- Also contains salicylic acid that helps unclog pores and promote cell turnover to remove dead skin cells.
- Contains citric acid that helps produce collagen elastin to regenerate skin giving it a smoother texture.
- This scrub helps treat acne and prevent future blackheads and breakouts.
- Paraben-free, alcohol-free
- Has a fragrance that may be abrasive for those allergic to Parfum
- If dryness and peeling occur, minimize the frequency of use.
7. Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Face Scrub
The Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Face Scrub promises to reduce blackheads within two days. It has unique exfoliating multi-action beads that work gently to remove the clogged pores with dirt, oils, and dead skin cells leading to breakouts. It comes with three sizes of these multi-action beads for exfoliating the skin surface and a deep-down clean.
Contains salicylic acid that helps clear blackheads and prevent new ones from developing. It suits those with combination skin.
- Contains 2% salicylic acid that helps remove blackheads and relief from acne.
- Also contains microcrystalline wax beads that gently exfoliate the skin and remove dirt and sebum trapped in the pores.
- Has jojoba esters that serve as an emollient and hydrates the skin.
- Non-comedogenic product and does not make your skin feel greasy.
- The recommended massaging time for the scrub is 20 to 30 seconds, which means that it has a lesser usage time compared to other scrub products.
- Contains alcohol that may irritate the skin, and dry the skin if you have sensitive skin.
- Contains fragrance that may cause skin sensitivity.
8. St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub
St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub has salicylic acid that helps minimize breakouts and prevent acne. It also contains crushed walnut shell powder making the pores clean and fresh and the skin radiant.
Squeeze a dime amount of this Acne Apricot Face Scrub on your fingertips and massage on your damp skin. Spread in small circular movements while applying gentle pressure. Work all over right up to the hairline and the sides of your nose. Then, rinse and pat dry with a clean towel. Use this face scrub three to four times a week, depending on your skin.
- Contains 2% salicylic acid that deeply cleans pores and helps prevent new blackheads and blemishes from growing.
- Has 100% natural exfoliants
- Uses apricots grown in different places including California
- Every dollop of this exfoliating face scrub gives a high exfoliation factor for cleaning pores deeply.
- Dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic
- Contains alcohol that may irritate if you have sensitive skin.
- Has fragrance that may dry the skin.
Blackhead strips may effectively remove blackheads from your skin, but it does not guarantee from occurring again.
Although it’s true that blackhead strips effectively remove blackheads from your skin they do not prevent them from happening again. The blackhead strips and pads help remove blackheads instantly. The proper way of doing it is:
- Wash and clean the skin area of application.
- Do 2 to 3 minutes steam to open up the pores.
- Wet your skin the prepare the grip of the pore strip and press the strip on the skin. Pull the strip immediately.
However, make sure that you set a perfect crease while pressing the blackhead strip, or it not be effective but will just irritate the skin.
In choosing the blackhead strips, get those with salicylic acid, or any alpha-hydroxy, or beta-hydroxy acids to helps you prevent blackheads while not irritating your skin.
9. Noxzema Ult-Clear Anti-Blemish Pads
The Noxzema Ult-Clear Anti-Blemish Pads is a dermatologist-tested pad to treat acne. Helps clear pores, relieves existing pimple breakouts, prevents future ones leaving your skin smooth and refreshed.
Contains salicylic acid that helps combat blemishes. It has eucalyptus oil and menthol giving that Noxzema tingle. It helps remove excess oils and other impurities from the skin.
Clean your skin thoroughly before applying. Cover the affected area with a thin layer one to three times every day. Begin with one application every day as it may cause excessive dryness. Then, gradually increase to 2 to 3 times a day, if needed, or as directed by a dermatologist. If dryness or peeling occurs, minimize the application to once daily, or every other day. Avoid contact with eyes, but if contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
- Contains 2% salicylic acid to prevent new occurrences of blackheads and blemishes.
- Dermatologist-tested, noncomedogenic, oil-free
- For combination and oily skin types
- Has a strong scent from cinnamon, Geraniol, Linalool, and other synthetic scents
- Pads are a little rough and may sting, especially if your skin is sensitive.
- Contains alcohol that may harm those with sensitive skin.
- Contains limonene and when your skin is exposed to the sun, tends to irritate the skin.
10. Biore Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips (18 count)
Biore Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips contains natural charcoal that treats skin blemishes deep down your skin to remove dirt and oils and blackheads — specially made for normal and oily skin types.
- Contains charcoal powder that helps open clogged pores and blackheads.
- Has silica which is a skin conditioning agent that helps keep the skin’s moisture level even after blackheads are removed.
- Has glycerin which serves as a humectant for a soothing effect
- Menthol also gives refreshing and cooling results.
- Alcohol-free, fragrance-free
- If you remove the strips forcefully, it tends to irritate the skin.
- If used excessively on those with very dry skin type, it can cause extreme irritation.
11. Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads are innovative exfoliating facial pads that target to improve your skin and texture restoring your smooth and refined complexion. This is good for those with combination and oily skin types.
These cleansing pads are formulated with resurfacing glycolic acid, soothing witch hazel, and ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid that helps remove dead skin and other impurities while moisturizing and softening your skin.
Just wipe pad across your face, neck, and neckline. Apply this to your skin once or twice daily. Avoid too much exposure to the sun and contact with the eye areas. If eye contact occurs, just rinse well with lukewarm water. We recommended using SPF protection after use.
- Glycolic acid helps remove dead skin cells and minimizes risks for blackheads for healthy, radiant skin.
- Hyaluronic acid helps keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness.
- Witch hazel extract helps keep your skin perfectly toned.
- Glycerin helps treat skin conditions caused by oiliness to prevent blackheads and whiteheads.
- The soothing blue daisy essence that is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and helps relieve skin irritation and tightness.
- Contains alcohol that may cause skin redness and irritation.
- Has strong scent that may be harsh to your skin.
12. Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips blend tea tree oil, witch hazel, and menthol to remove more pore-clogging dirt, oils, and blackheads. It helps to pull out twice more deep-down dirt for a deepest clean skin. This is good for those with combination and oily skin types.
- Longer size strips to give you twice the cleansing your skin need
- Hazel witch extract serves as an astringent that helps tighten your pores and remove blackheads easier.
- Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that remove blackheads from its roots and prevent future breakouts and blackheads.
- Glycerin helps control oiliness of your skin and sebum buildup inside that makes your skin dry.
- Menthol gives you a refreshing effect, purify, and tightens the pores to minimize future blackheads and breakouts; relieves itchiness and redness that may occur due to forceful removal of the strips.
- Strips may be abrasive to those who are sensitive to bandages or peel-off masks.
- Using these pore strips more than once within three days may irritate.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hoped you enjoyed my 12 Top Blackhead Products that Work.
Now I want to hear from you:
Which of these skincare products for blackheads in this post are you most excited to try?
Are you going to use any of them? Or do you have a suggestion for something that has worked for you?