Everybody wants to have clear skin and a radiant complexion. Having flawless skin can give you extra confidence to face and interact with people in your daily life. You might also feel younger and more attractive when you have smooth skin.
Most people turn to over-the-counter skin care products to address their skin problems or maintain their youthful glow. You might have also tried seeking professional help and getting treatments done to address issues that cannot be solved using OTC medicines.
However, even with the availability of high-quality skin care products and procedures in the market, blemishes can still be hard to prevent. One common skin problem that most people encounter is blackheads.
What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads, also known as comedones, are a mild type of acne that can trigger an inflammatory response if not cared for properly. It is a common skin problem that most people encounter in their lives.
This type of blemish is often characterized as being slightly raised spots or bumps on a person’s face. These bumps look dark or black, giving it its name.
Blackheads usually form in places that produce excess oil, particularly the face. However, they can also appear on the back, chest, neck, arms, and shoulders.
What Causes Blackheads?
Blackheads form when the opening of the hair follicles on your skin becomes clogged by the buildup of sebum, oil, and excess dead skin cells. When the substances that form the plug on your pores get exposed to the oxygen in the air, they turn black. This gives the plug a “black head.”
Aside from having sebum, oil, and dead skin cells clog your pores, there are other factors that can cause your blackheads. You might experience other internal conditions that make you more susceptible to blackheads.
If you are prone to developing acne, then you are more likely to develop blackheads compared to other people. You might also be predisposed to having blackheads if you:
- Produce too much body oil
- Have a buildup of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria on your skin
- Do not shed dead skin cells on a regular basis
- Are undergoing hormonal changes that increase your oil production (puberty, menstruation, taking birth control pills)
- Are taking medications such as corticosteroids, lithium, and androgens
Getting Rid of Blackheads
The formation of blackheads seems like a very common thing that normally happens to people’s skin. Because of this, you might be worrying that it would be too hard to prevent them from appearing and ruining your complexion. Luckily, with the guidance of skin care experts, more and more easy-to-follow skin care regimens on how to remove and prevent blackheads are emerging.
Here are some of the tried and tested ways of getting rid of blackheads. Some of these involve using OTC medication while others include professional products and procedures.
Salicylic acid is an ingredient commonly found in cleansers and other skin care products. This is a popular component for skin care products because this acid helps in breaking down the materials clogging your pores, such as dead skin cells and extra oil.
When using a product containing salicylic acid, make sure to use it sparingly in the first few weeks. Try using it every other day or once a day at most to see how your skin reacts with the ingredient.
This is important because salicylic acid might be too harsh on your skin. If not used properly, you can experience some irritation and make your skin problems worse.
Using products with salicylic acid might also make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. To prevent sun damage, make sure to protect your skin with a product like Gluta-C Facial Day Cream with SPF 25.
Aside from protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, this facial day cream will help whiten and nourish your skin with the help of Glutathione and vitamins A, C, and E. It will also keep your skin moisturized and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinoid Creams and Lotions
Retinoid is a skin care ingredient that is derived from vitamin A. It is typically used to encourage the body’s production of collagen to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This component has also been proven effective in unclogging pores and promoting the production of new skin cells. This means that using retinoid creams and lotions on your skin will not only help you get rid of blackheads but also leave you with a younger-looking complexion.
However, retinoid is not advisable for dry skin. This ingredient acts as a strong exfoliant, which may be too harsh for people with dry skin and even cause adverse effects.
Getting your hands on retinoid creams and lotions might be challenging as well. although you can buy some OTC, you might need a prescription for most of them. So, it is best to consult a dermatologist before buying one to determine if this product really is for your skin type.
AHAs and BHAs
Regular exfoliation is essential in getting rid of dead skin cells that can clog your pores and form blackheads. Exfoliating your skin regularly can also help you remove blackheads that have already appeared on your skin.
Instead of using harsh scrubs on your skin, try using alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). A common type of AHA is glycolic acid, while salicylic acid is a BHA.
These acids work by removing the top layer of your skin. In doing so, they also clean your pores and remove any impurities that may have gotten stuck in them.
Upon regular usage, you may notice that your skin will look clearer and appear softer. You might also see an improvement in the appearance of any wrinkles or dark spots that you have.
If you are still hesitant about using acids to exfoliate your skin, you can try clay and charcoal masks instead. These exfoliating treatments are helpful in drawing oils and toxins from your skin and unclogging your pores.
Some clay masks also contain sulfur. This ingredient can help further break down any impurities and dead skin cells that are blocking your pores and causing your blackheads.
Another exfoliation method that you can try instead of using AHAs and BHAs is skin brushing. Using the right brush made especially for your face can be effective in removing excess dead skin cells and built-up debris.
Remember that you should be careful when using a skin brush. Even if it is made to be used on your face, it does not mean that you should use it every day.
Experts say that you should use your skin brush occasionally with a gentle cleanser. Then, make sure to rehydrate your skin with a moisturizer after exfoliation.
However, you should avoid brushing your skin if you have sensitive skin. The repetitive scrubbing motion may be too harsh for your skin and cause irritation.
You might have tried using blackhead remover creams and other treatments to try and extract the plug from your pores. Although these OTC products may have been a little bit successful in removing some of the gunk from your pores, they still do not compare to the extractions done by professionals.
You should seek help from dermatologists and other specially trained skin care professionals if you want to have your blackheads extracted properly. These experts use special tools, such as round loop extractors, to remove the clog causing your blackheads.
They are also trained in applying techniques that make the extraction process safer. Skin care professionals make sure to extract debris through a small opening on the plug. They also apply enough pressure to remove it without causing you too much pain.
Although you can purchase some of the extraction tools used by professionals online, you should never try doing an extraction at home. Improper extraction can cause scarring and do your skin more harm than good. You might also run the risk of getting an infection, especially if your hands and tools are not sanitized properly.
Another professional treatment you can get to remove blackheads is chemical peels. This procedure involves using a strong chemical solution to exfoliate your skin. The chemical solution commonly contains salicylic, glycolic, and retinoic acids.
A few days or weeks after getting the treatment, your skin will begin to peel off. This will help reveal the younger and smoother skin hiding behind the top layer of your skin.
Chemical peels are beneficial in removing the dead skin cells that block the opening of your hair follicles and shrinking your pores so they do not get clogged as often. The peeling stage also helps in reducing the appearance of age spots and fine lines.
Laser and Light Therapy
This is another kind of professional treatment that you can get at your dermatologist’s office. Laser and light therapy, as its name suggests, uses tiny beams of intense light to reach below your skin’s surface.
The treatment is done to decrease your skin’s rate of oil production. This procedure also helps in killing any acne-causing bacteria that may be on your skin.
Maintain Your Clear Skin
After addressing your problem, you should strive to prevent your blackheads from coming back. Some of the things you should do to ensure this are:
- Wash your face with a natural, exfoliating soap
- Use non-comedogenic or oil-free products
- Exfoliate regularly
- Use alcohol-free products
- Avoid touching your face
Following these tips can help you achieve the radiant and youthful glow that you have always wanted. Now, you can have the confidence to face people and flaunt your clear skin!