Much like weeds, blackheads tend to pop up by the dozen and can be notoriously difficult to get rid of; however, with the right skincare products, you can easily keep those bad boys in check. It all comes down to proper prevention—and, of course, knowing how to banish blackheads safely if and when they do inundate your pores. Because let’s be real, folks: as meticulous as we may be with our skincare, there’s always going to come a time when we slip up and those suckers come out to play.
First things first, though, what even are blackheads?
“Blackheads, or open comedones, are an oxidized combination of oil and dead skin cells that form most commonly due to low-level inflammation around the oil gland,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Friedman. “This causes more oil to be produced and skin cells to turn over too quickly—in turn, the mixture gets sticky and trapped in the open pore; then it becomes black when exposed to oxygen.” (If you’re grossed out, you’re not alone.)
Dealing with maskne? Click here to learn how to get rid of it.
So how do we keep them away?
The key to keeping blackheads at bay is to control skin cell turnover and prevent inflammation, says Dr. Friedman, who recommends topical retinoids for this, as well as acid-based toners that gently exfoliate the skin and clear pores of buildup and debris. In regards to the latter suggestion, YTTP’s Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner is a solid option for combating blackheads because it contains a blend of lactic and glycolic acids, which clear excess dead skin so that oil and dead skin cells are less likely to get trapped.
Another simple yet highly effective way to keep blackheads from getting out of control (or forming at all) is to cleanse with a face wash that contains ingredients designed to soothe and clean pores. The Superfood Cleanser is prime for this as it’s packed with kale, which, in addition to reducing inflammation, also helps to keep pores fresh and free of excess sebum and dead skin buildup, thus resulting in fewer blackheads.
And what about treatment options?
When it comes to getting rid of existing blackheads, Dr. Friedman recommends softening the skin with warm water or steam and then using a comedone extractor to gently push the blackened buildup out of the pores. “It’s a great method for immediate gratification,” he says. “Just be careful to be very gentle as you don’t want to pick or dig at the skin, as this will result in more inflammation and potentially more blackheads,” he adds.
Additionally, a solid exfoliating treatment—such as YTTP’s Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial—can help do the trick in some cases, too. This one in particular contains a blend of soothing and exfoliating ingredients that smooth and soften the skin, which allows blackheads to come out more seamlessly. It also contains aloe to calm the skin and curb inflammation. For best results, use it once or twice a week to keep blackheads at bay.
Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People