Get Rid of Blackheads, Naturally! April 20 2014, 0 Comments

First off, while I was doing my weekly skin care reading/reader questions update on Saturday, I got a few questions from y'all about blackheads. This is a topic we've discussed in the past, but removing facial blackheads appears to be a top concern for a lot of the ladies who write to me. So, let's talk about it again! I wanted to give some interesting facts as well as a few easy prevention methods.

What is a Blackhead?

Get rid of black headsBlackheads are a type of acne and are often thought of as the the first stage of acne development. These debris deposits can best be thought of as a type of "open pimples," that occur when wide open pores fill up with dead skin cells and skin's natural oil, called sebum. Blackheads form when oil and dead skin cells trapped in the pore lining make their way to the pore opening. When this oil pocket reaches the skin's surface and is exposed to air the debris turns black (or sometimes yellow depending on the type of debris).

Blackheads often form before bacteria invade the pores and are most prevalent just after puberty. During this special (pronounced: awkward and trying) time in your life, there can be an overproduction of sebum draining through the pores. When sebum is blocked during the drainage it mixes with other skin debris and old skin cells and a blackhead forms if the pore is open. Blackheads are not necessarily dirty although they are generally more common with oily skin.

Poor hygiene is usually not the cause of blackheads. Even skin that is cleaned regularly can be subject to breakouts especially during menstruation and other times of high hormonal fluctuation. Washing your face, no matter how frequently, once blackheads have already developed will make no difference because the cause is hormonal. Scrubbing your face can actually irritate your skin causing it to break out even worse. Overuse of lotions, sunscreens, and even makeup can irritate the skin as well. it is best to keep pores tight and closed to prevent blackheads from having places to develop, rather than treating them after they form.

Prevention is better than treatment

Food does not cause or irritate any type of acne... period. Stress does not affect blackheads and acne directly, but stress induced habits can. Rubbing, touching, and picking at skin are common practices when one is under a lot of stress. These and similar habits can cause the spread of blackheads. Unless your stress is causing a hormonal change, it will not increase acne on its own. 

Hair touching your face can also spread all types of acne including blackheads. If your hair is oily and/or well-conditioned, the oil will encourage acne such as pimples and blackheads to spread.


 Some ways to fight the development and spread of blackheads and all other types of acne:

  1. Exfoliation. The occasional use of exfoliating scrubs can be helpful on areas that are prone to blackheads, but only before they develop. The scrubbing will remove dirt and grime that is buried in your pores clearing them out if they are clogged. Sugar scrubs and warm water are a good combination for this.
  2. Cleanse with a non-drying foam cleanser. Use a cleanser or face wash like Sydelle’s Vibrant Visage Natural Foaming Facewash which is rich in vitamin A. This will help prevent oil buildup that causes blackheads and remove dead skin cells.
  3. Use a pore-refining night cream. If you have smaller pores, you are giving blackheads less room to grow and bacteria fewer openings in your skin. 
  4. Once you have a blackhead, don’t pick at it. Using your fingers to remove blackheads will add dirt and bacteria to your pores possibly worsening your breakouts. Avoid picking your skin at all costs. Do not use tools either. They also contain bacteria and can leave scars behind.
  5. Don’t touch your skin. Even if you are not picking, avoid touching your face whenever you have a breakout because you are likely just moving dirt around. Your hands also contain a great deal of dirt and bacteria that can be transferred.
  6. Wash your pillow cases regularly. Your pillow touches your face every night and retains oils from your face. Washing it and your pillowcases will help you avoid the addition of oil and dirt through the night that will encourage blackheads.