Blackheads are one of the most common types of acne. While they are generally harmless, that doesn’t make it any less annoying when you look in the mirror and see your nose or chin covered in tiny dark spots.
The good news is that there are lots of effective ways to treat blackheads and stop them from coming back.
In this guide, we’ll reveal what blackheads are, why they form, and how to get rid of them. Keep reading to find out how you can get brighter and clearer skin.
How Do Blackheads Form?
Blackheads are hair follicles and open pores, also known as comedones, that become clogged. When a pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil, and other impurities, it forms a bump on the skin’s surface. When the impurities in the clogged pores react with oxygen in the air, it turns black. That’s why this type of acne is known as blackheads.
The Causes of Blackheads
The build-up of excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria can cause pores to clog and blackheads to form. Blackheads can make the skin appear bumpy and rough to touch.
While people with oily skin are most likely to experience blackheads, they can happen to everyone. The nose and chin are the areas on the face where the skin has the highest concentration of oil-producing sebaceous glands and are usually where blackheads appear.
What Is the Difference Between Blackheads and Whiteheads?
Many people experience both of these conditions at the same time as the causes of acne for both whiteheads and blackheads are similar.
Blackheads are open pores that have become clogged. The oil and impurities blocking the pore turn black when they become oxidised by the air.
Whiteheads are closed pores. A thin layer of skin covers the pore, trapping the oil and bacteria. The closed pore appears as a bump in the skin with a thin layer of white skin – a whitehead.
The Best Blackhead Treatments
There are two main treatment options for blackheads. For mild acne, you can use over-the-counter skincare products and cleansers. However, professional in-clinic treatments are the best way to get clean and clear skin for more severe acne or blackheads that refuse to go away.
Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to treat blackheads.
Try Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is the go-to active skincare ingredient for blackheads and whiteheads. The beta-hydroxy acid is super-effective at exfoliating the skin, cleaning the pores, and removing excess oil.
You can bring salicylic acid into your regular skincare routine with a cleanser like Clarity 30ml. The powerful cleanser can be used twice per day to keep pores clear and the skin smooth and soft. The combination of retinol and salicylic acid exfoliates and cleanses the skin to stop blackheads from forming.
If you want to learn more about this active ingredient and how it works, check out our benzoyl peroxide vs salicylic acid guide.
Revlite Laser Toning
A Revlite laser toning is a non-invasive laser treatment that’s great for acne, blackheads, and dull skin.
The laser energy is attracted to the carbon in the pores, breaking up the particles and impurities on the skin’s surface.
Your skin will appear smoother and clearer after a single treatment. Depending on the severity of your acne, your clinician may recommend a course of several treatments to maximise the results.
Medical-Grade Chemical Peels are one of the most effective treatments for blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of acne. A chemical solution is applied to the skin, penetrating deep into the pores to dissolve the build-up of oil and impurities that causes blackheads to form.
The type and strength of chemical exfoliation peel can be tailored to your skin type and severity of acne. Superficial peels are excellent for treating mild to moderate skin concerns, while stronger concentrations can provide a powerful collagen boosting effect that rejuvenates the skin.
In a 2018 clinical review, researchers found chemical peels to be a “safe and low-cost procedure that should be considered for every acne patient”.
Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Laser Skin Rejuvenation treatments can help control and prevent breakouts by reducing oil production and killing acne-causing bacteria. Depending on the severity of the acne, you may only need a single session to get clearer skin.
Laser treatments also stimulate collagen production for a long-lasting improvement in skin texture and tone.
One of the most-used types of laser therapy for acne is intense pulsed light (IPL) skin rejuvenation. The IPL Skin Rejuvenation treatment uses intense bursts of light energy to target problem areas of the skin. IPL is much gentler than most laser treatments and causes minimal damage to the surrounding tissue while targeting the acne-prone skin.
In a 2010 clinical study, IPL was shown to reduce the appearance of acne by an average of 49.19% after four treatment sessions.
Microdermabrasion is a treatment that gently removes the top layer of skin to reveal smooth and even-toned new skin underneath.
It’s a two-step treatment process that starts with an exfoliation using a diamond tip handpiece. Your clinician will use the handpiece to buff away dead skin and impurities and encourage cell turnover.
Once the initial abrasive process is complete, a serum infusion or clarifying mask is applied to treat the acne-prone skin. The treatment lasts around 30 minutes and has an immediate impact on your complexion.
Depending on the acne severity, you may require a series of treatments to achieve optimal results.
How To Prevent Blackheads
There are lots of ways to treat blackheads. But they will always come back if you don’t take preventative steps to keep your skin clear.
So what can you do to stop blackheads from forming?
Here’s a rundown of the best ways to control and prevent breakouts.
Wash Your Face Twice Daily
A good skincare routine is essential for keeping blackheads at bay. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser every morning and in the evening before going to bed helps to remove the build-up of excess oil and impurities that cause blackheads.
It’s also important to wash your hair regularly, especially if you have oily hair. The oils in hair can block the pores on the scalp, causing blackheads and acne to form.
Avoid Oil-Based Products
Excess oil is one of the leading causes of blackheads. So if you have naturally oily skin, it’s important to avoid oil-based skincare products that could make blackheads more likely to form.
Try to use non-comedogenic lotions, moisturisers, and sunblock specially formulated not to block pores. It’s also a good idea to switch any oil-based makeup for mineral-based alternatives.
Use Clarifying Masks
A clarifying mask can be an easy way to clear the pores and prevent blackheads. The active ingredients in face masks dissolve impurities in the pores, preventing them from becoming clogged and blackheads forming. Some masks also contain ingredients like charcoal that absorb dirt and oil to leave you with a brighter and more radiant complexion.
If you’re looking for a gentle mask that is great for oily skin, the Clear Clarifying Mask could be the perfect addition to your skincare regime. It contains a blend of sulphur, salicylic acid, vitamin B, and other active ingredients that clean and soothes the skin.
Don’t Squeeze Blackheads
Even though it can be tempting to squeeze and pinch your skin to remove blackheads, this can actually make things worse. You can damage the skin and spread the acne-causing bacteria to other areas of your face. The same goes for excessive scrubbing and exfoliation.
Acne Treatments at b clinic
A good skincare regime should be your go-to for preventing blackheads. Using salicylic acid and face masks, you can treat problem areas and promote clearer blemish-free skin.
If you’re currently experiencing a breakout or blackheads keep coming back, a professional treatment like a chemical peel or IPL skin rejuvenation is the best way to get your skin back under control.
Book a free consultation with our skin experts here at b clinic, and we’ll be able to advise you on the best treatment for your skin concerns.