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Blackheads 101: Extraction, Prevention, and More

Let’s face it, friends. It’s never fun to stare at your face in the mirror and see hundreds of tiny black dots gawking back at you. But trust us when we say that you’re not the only one! Clogged pores are a common skin concern for many and that’s why we’ve decided to create this helpful guide where we cover blackhead extraction, prevention, and everything in between. Keep reading for more!

What are Blackheads?

Blackheads, also known as open comedones, are a type of non-inflammatory acne. Unlike whiteheads, which have closed heads, the heads of this type of acne are open. And when the trapped dirt and debris in your pores is exposed to air and oxidizes, it causes the surface of these open heads to turn black, hence the name.

How To Extract Blackheads

There are two ways to tackle the not-so-pleasant removal of these little guys. When it comes to blackhead extraction, you can do so either in the comfort of your own home or through the skilled pore-popping hands of a licensed professional.

              At-Home Treatment

Looking to rid yourself of those pesky black dots after a hot bath instead of in a clinic?

We’re here to tell you that it can be done and safely, too! Below is a step-by-step guide for extracting blackheads at home.

  1. First, wash your hands. Never, ever, under any circumstances, touch your face with uncleansed fingers. It’s a major skincare no-no!
  2. Next, take a tissue and wrap each index finger. This will create a barrier between your fingers and your skin.
  3. Start to gently rock your fingers back and forth. This wiggling motion will help to lift the blockage from your pore. If nothing has risen to the surface, apply a bit more pressure. If you’re still unlucky, leave that blackhead alone. You don’t want to risk damaging your skin!
  4. If you’ve successfully removed your party of blackheads, follow up with a mild astringent toner to cleanse and disinfect the area. This will kill any harmful bacteria that may be lingering on the skin!

More of a visual learner? Check out this blackhead extraction video guided by Dr. Sandra Lee, the infamous popper queen.

              Professional-Level Treatment

Sometimes blackheads can appear so frequently to the point where it becomes discouraging and even tiring, especially when they continuously put up a fight when you try to extract them yourself. This is where professional-level treatment comes into play. For a couple of the most common in-clinic pore-cleansing procedures available, keep scrolling!

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels range from light to medium to deep and involve the application of a chemical solution to the surface of skin to remove the top layers of dead skin (which sounds terrifying but isn’t). The result? Skin that grows back smoother and more even toned, making it especially effective for those who not only experience routine blackheads but breakouts, too. It’s also important to keep in mind that depending on the type of peel you choose; multiple treatments may be needed!

Microdermabrasion

Like chemical peels, microdermabrasion involves the removal of surface-level skin. It uses fine crystals or diamond-stubbed tips to scrape the skin, suctioning out any dirt and debris. It’s basically like vacuuming your skin! It’s also a treatment that’s less invasive than chemical peels and is more cost-efficient.

How To Prevent Blackheads

Now that we’ve covered blackhead extraction, let’s chat about prevention. Yes, you read that correctly. You can, in fact, minimize how frequently these dark dots appear.

But before we jump into preventative measures, do keep in mind that not every skin type experiences blackheads on a routine basis. Most of the time, it’s those with oily, combination, or acne-prone skin that’re heavily plagued by clogged pores. If you have normal or dry skin, chances are you don’t consistently develop blackheads. For those that do, here are a few ways to reduce the amount of time you spend pushing out unwanted debris:

  1. Cleanse your skin morning and night. If you’re a frequent makeup wearer, ensure that all products are properly removed from your face, especially before heading to bed.
  2. Ensure that you’re getting in the required amount of H20. Insufficient water intake also affects your skin’s natural ability to perform simple functions, one of which is to effectively turn over cells. If your skin is unable to shed layers of skin and make way for new cells to form, an accumulation of dead cells will linger on the surface.
  3. Exfoliation is key. Regardless of your skin type, removing built-up dead skin cells helps lift dirt and debris from pores and can limit frequent acne attacks.
  4. When purchasing skincare products, look for pore-cleansing and acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide in their labels. Also ensure that any products you’re picking up are non-comedogenic (AKA products that won’t clog your pores).

MOZ Pore Cleansing Product Picks

In need of a few pore cleansing products to keep blackheads at bay? Look no further!  

Our Pure Acne Treating Serum is formulated with salicylic acid and combined with other cleansing ingredients such as tea tree oil and manuka oil to help hydrate, balance, and clarify skin. If you’re struggling with troublesome spots, apply this serum as a daily remedy in your natural skincare routine to help avoid unwanted acne.

Our organic Rose Water Toner is made from natural Moroccan rose petals, which contain multiple soothing, cooling, and hydrating properties to help maintain and promote healthy, glowing skin. Our toner can improve the look of skin irritation, provide hydration, remove oil and dirt from pores, and serve as an effective base for other skincare products and/or cosmetics. A couple of sprays a day will help keep skin clean, tight, plump, and bright.

Our Dead Sea Mud Mask is formulated with Manuka honey and shea butter. This natural mask absorbs excess oil, helps remove dead skin, dirt, and other impurities, and improves the appearance of breakouts and acne scars. Once applied, it works to refine the skin’s texture and clarity, leaving behind a fresher, smoother, and more hydrated complexion.

The Bottom Line

Just like pimples happen, blackheads happen. The important thing to remember is that you’re perfect, large, clogged pores and all. With that said, we hope you found this guide to blackhead extraction and prevention helpful! Follow us on socials and let us know which MOZ product has helped tame those pesky pores of yours and if you’d like to see any other blackhead-specific products from us in the future. Bye for now!