A persistent blackhead can be as bothersome as an unwelcome house guest. These pesky black dots form when oil, dead skin cells and bacteria block the pores, and then stay open and get exposed to air. While blackheads are usually easier to treat than acne, there are sometimes lingering marks that manage to put a dark cloud over your complexion. You can get rid your face of blackheads that keep coming back by using the proper extraction tool and following up with acne-fighting skincare products and medications.
Cleanse the Right Way
Keep blackheads at bay by following a strict cleansing routine twice daily. Make sure you use an acne-fighting cleanser featuring benzoyl peroxide -- anything from 2 to 10 percent is available over the counter. The key is to start at the lowest percentage and see what your skin can tolerate without appearing red and dry. Cleanse your face (or the area blackheads appear most) using small, upward circles to massage the product into the skin. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Pony Up With Products
Use products proven to dislodge blackheads. Gentle scrubs featuring salicylic acid help get rid of blackheads by exfoliating dead cells on the skin's surface that typically clog pores. Or try a powder or kaolin-clay facial mask to help control oil production and gently exfoliate the skin. In addition, a sulfur facial mask works to suppress the bacteria responsible for blackheads that keep popping up. It's also a good idea to use products with retinol, which not only works to help unclog pores, but can brighten skin and make it appear more radiant despite the black dots.
Follow Extraction Procedures
Blackheads that keep coming back are probably not completely extracted the first time. If any leftover sebum or bacteria is left in the pore, the unwelcome dark dot is bound to bust back onto the scene. Because of this, it's crucial you use a stainless-steel blackhead extractor on each spot; make sure to disinfect it before every use. Place the extractor over the blackhead, and then push down firmly yet gently until the blackhead comes out completely. It's crucial to follow up extraction with an astringent featuring benzoyl peroixde or salicylic acid. This keeps the area clean so that dirt, oil and sebum don't have the chance to meet in the open pore.
If the blackheads are embedded too deeply or routinely come back in the same spots, visit a board-certified dermatologist who can remove them using specialized instruments and other techniques. According to Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Alicia Zalka, you can get rid of blackheads by having a dermatologist perform microdermabrasion on the infected areas. This in-office procedure sloughs off the top layer of your skin and stimulates new skin cell growth. This not only helps improve your skin's texture and appearance, but it also gets rid of the dead skin cells that clog your pores and create blackheads.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Different Kinds of Pimples
- American Academy of Dermatology: Dermatologists Advise Patients That Over-the-Counter Acne Products Can Have Benefits and a Place on Their Medicine Shelf
- Huffington Post: Blackheads Be Gone: Six Ways to Get Rid of and Prevent Them From Coming Back
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: What Happens During Microdermabrasion?