The Epic Battle of the Blackhead

You have blackheads. What are they, and what can you do about them?

People who come in for facials generally have a myriad of concerns about their skin, but one of the concerns I hear the most regularly is blackheads.  People want to know why they get themWoman insepcting her blackheads and pores in the mirror. and what they can do about them. Blackheads are made of sebum and dead skin cells. The oil and skin cells lodge inside the pore and harden, clogging the pore. As the clog sits in the skin, it oxidizes, which causes the darkened color that appears black in the skin. It’s a totally natural process, and just about everyone gets blackheads somewhere at some point. They generally occur most frequently in the T-zone, although they can show up anywhere. People often assume that because they have blackheads that they must have oily skin. But this is a common misconception that often leads to treating blackheads in a way that can actually make them worse. Often, dry skin gets an especially stubborn kind of blackhead that is even more difficult to remove. If you think back to how the blackhead is formed, it starts to make sense. In oily skin, the oil is thinner and more liquid, and even when it clogs, the clog can still be pliable, and the skin surrounding the blackhead is often more forgiving.  A clog that is in dry skin, where the oil starts out being very thick and solid, is not as easy to manipulate, and the surrounding skin is more solid and less forgiving. Determined to live a life without blackheads? There are several ways to address them.

  • A professional facial is the best place to start. Manual extractions are the only way to truly remove clogs. [Tweet this!] Everything else controls them (meaning you’ll get fewer blackheads or the ones you have may be less noticeable).
  • Use a serum with salicylic acid. This is a great method of control and maintenance. It also makes my job easier when you come for a facial, because the clogs are primed and ready to go.
  • Keep your skin hydrated and supple. Proper moisture levels keep the clogs and the surrounding skin soft, meaning that when I start to work, I can get a better, more thorough, less uncomfortable extraction.

Skin clear of blackheads is something that must be constantly maintained. You cannot have blackheads extracted one time and expect to never get them again. Forming blackheads is one of the skin’s natural processes, and some people are more prone to this process than others. Regular facials with manual extractions are necessary to maintain a skin free of clogs, though what is “regular” may vary from person to person.

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