We have all been there, standing in front of the mirror and squinting on the little black dots on our cheek or nose: blackheads. What are they? Can you get rid of blackheads? We have all heard various myths and tricks…but today we are going to end all that, clarify the countless legends, and provide some simple tips on how to minimize your blackheads and minimize the appearance of your pores.
What are they?
Blackheads are pores that are filled with facial oil, also known as sebum. Pores, for future reference, are hair follicles. When that sebum is exposed to the air, it oxidizes and turns a darker shade (the very same thing that happens with apples and avocados!). Therefore, the ‘black’ in the term blackheads is created.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are caused by a variety of influences. I hate to break it to you, but one of the largest causes of blackheads are genetics. Either your skin is likely prone to blackheads or you may be one of those lucky few who don’t have to deal with this common problem. Additionally, what you eat and how you feel can effect your blackhead production. Caffeine, alcohol, dairy products and carbs have all been connected with increased blackhead production. Similarly, mood and anxiety levels are influential, as stress causes an increase in oil production.
How do you properly treat blackheads?
- Properly cleanse your skin on a regular basis. Having clean, balanced skin (rather than dehydrated skin) produces less oil than skin that’s stripped of its hydration barrier, which results in less sebum caught in pores. Set up a cleansing routine that you stick to both morning and night. If you are prone to blackheads we suggest double cleansing. This is because your first cleanse can remove buildup of dirt and dead skin from the surface of your skin, while the second cleanse can remove excess face oil, clearing the content of your blackheads. Learn how to double cleanse here.
- Masks are a great way to control blackheads, because they are able to fully resurface and decongest the surface of the skin, clearing out the oxidized oil within pores. Masks are most effective right after a shower because the steam from your shower will help to soften the skin, thereby “opening” your pores (though it’s important to note that pores are not connected to muscles and therefore don’t fully open and close.) Our Resurfacing Mask is a powerful blackhead treatment as it completely clears away dead skin and excess oil. When you rinse it off, pores seem to disappear because they are empty of oxidized oil!
- Avoid myths and gimmicks! Those drug store ‘pore cleansing’ strips… don’t use them! This gimmick will simply dry out your skin and pull out more of your hair follicles than any oil from your blackheads.
- Book A Facial – picking at your own blackheads and trying to squeeze out the contents can be damaging to the surface of your skin, both injuring it and driving bacteria deeper into your pores for – you guessed it – a full blown pimple. Trained estheticians and facialists can work wonders however, with special extraction tools and a sterile environment. You’ll find that they usually soften the skin with a good amount of steam and products prior to actually digging in there.
We love helping to debunk myths and help aid any pesky skin problems you might face. Leave a comment below or always feel free to reach out to us if you have any skincare questions or concerns that you would like help with! Here’s to clear, happy skin!
image via Garance Doré