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How to Soften a Hard Blackhead

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How to Soften a Hard Blackhead
Soften a blackhead before you attempt to remove it. Photo Credit: Chepko Danil/iStock/Getty Images

Blackheads occur when pores are visibly clogged with dirt and oil. Before you start squeezing your face to try and remove an annoying blackhead, take a few moments to soften the area to make the removal easier. Softening a hard blackhead before you attempt to remove it makes the process easier and minimizes damage to the surrounding skin.

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Step 1

Fill a pot with water and set it on the stove over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat when the water begins to simmer.

Step 2

Place the pot on a hot pad on a flat, stable surface. Lean over the pot and drape a towel over your head and the pot to create a steam tent. If you are uncomfortable using boiling water, fill a sink with hot water instead and drape a towel over your head as you lean over the sink.

Step 3

Stay inside the steam tent for five minutes. The heat and moisture from the steam will soften hardened blockages in your pores and open the pores for easier extraction of blackheads.

Step 4

Remove the towel. Press on the area of skin next to the blackhead with clean fingers. If the blackhead still feels hard, wet a washcloth with the warmest water your skin can stand and hold the washcloth over the blackhead for three minutes. This should soften it sufficiently so you can remove it by pressing on the skin with your fingers or with a blackhead extractor.

Step 5

Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if softening the blackhead doesn't make it easy to remove. Some blackheads require professional extraction in an office setting. Forcing hardened blackheads out could lead to scarring. A dermatologist can remove the blackhead quickly and safely, while offering ideas for preventing blackheads in the future.

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