What Exactly Is A Blackhead And How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
The Debrief: They're like an ex that just never goes away. This is how to actually be pore-less and get rid of your blackheads for good
Acne is the worst. No matter how even your cat-eye is, that fiery, red mound planted on your chin will somehow manage to detract all the attention from your meticulous liner-work. Blackheads, though not as showy as their spotty cystic cousins, are still a bummer. They’re kinda like that one ex-boyfriend you have that just never goes away. Sure, no one else notices them apart from you, but isn’t that enough to want them gone forever?
What exactly is a blackhead?
Unless you’re one of those poreless wonders (go away), you’ll know that blackheads are the small, unassuming black dots on the skin that seem to collect in your oiliest areas - usually the nose and/or T-zone. When extracted, a blackhead produces something that appears similar to white pus, which is very attractive and not at all disgusting.
Why do they exist?
It’s easy to think blackheads are an accumulation of dirt and makeup you were too lazy to wash off, even though all you did all evening was watch Netflix. In reality, hormones can cause pores to produce excess oil, causing all kinds of fun problems. The pore, not equipped to handle the overload, backs up the extra oil, which then mixes with dead skin cells. When exposed to air, the combination of oil and skin cells oxidize, turning black.
How do you avoid them?
Unfortunately, you can never avoid blackheads completely — especially if your skin is on the oilier side. There are, however, products you can use to minimize, reduce and absorb excess oil production in the skin. Holika Holika’s Green Tea Egg Soap not only cleanses skin, but does so without irritation, leaving pores thoroughly cleansed without over-stripping. When skin is over-stripped of oil, sometimes pores will overcompensate and respond by producing too much of it, causing even more blackheads. Gentle cleansing, tailored to your skin type, is best. Regular exfoliation (think 2-3 times a week) will also help remove dead skin cells.
How to get rid of blackheads
Nothing is quite as satisfying as squeezing a pimple and a gross blackhead is no exception. But there is a “right” way to do things, and trust me, they are all as satisfying as using your grubby fingers in front of a magnifying mirror, with less chance for error and regret.
The 'pull out' method
AKA: pore strips
I am not talking about the worst method of birth control. This approach to blackhead removal involves adhering product to the skin, coupled with a swift yank — think waxing for pores. If done correctly, you will see the fruits of your labour attached to the product in what appears to look like tiny hairs. However, these ‘hairs’ are actually the blackheads that have been pulled out of the skin.
Pore strips are a favourite when it comes to this option of blackhead removal, and leave it to South Korea to come up with the coolest kind. Holika Holika’s Pig Nose Clear Blackhead 3-Step Kit contains three pore strips, each with a different function to keep your nose gunk-free. The first strip is used to soften the skin, making blackhead removal easier, while the second strip does the actual dirty work. The third strip is used to calm the pores and ease them back into the real world in case they’ve been traumatized from losing all the residents of blackhead city.
Sometimes a good peel-off mask is preferable to pore strips, especially if your blackheads aren’t just on your nose. Pikaturu Hada Face Pack is an affordable and effective way to get rid of all-over-the face blackheads. Simply apply a thin layer to the problem area, wait for it to dry and peel swiftly. Revel in the tiny white blackheads you’ve just removed from your face. Results are simultaneously disgusting and visually satisfying. If you can’t get your hands on this Japanese favourite, Boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask, though pricier, is similar.
Soften the skin with warm water and your favourite cleanser. Using clean cotton swabs, apply pressure on both sides of the blackhead to extract. Even better, use The Body Shop’s Double Ended Blackhead Remover over the blackheads and watch them satisfyingly squeeze out through the holes of the metal. Finish with your favourite toner.
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