How to eliminate blackheads?!
I don’t know about you, but blackheads are the scourge of my existence. (At least when it comes to making people believe I have perfect skin). From the biggest to the smallest, and everyone in between, they are overly stubborn, and even though there are tons of products on the market that claim to make the boring blackheads disappear, I have never had much luck. (And if you’ve had any, tell me).
That said, the only thing that contributed to the appearance and appearance of my blackheads was facials by extracting my favorite celebrity, beautician Renée Rouleau. Based in Austin, Texas, Renée Rouleau comes to L.A. from time to time to look after her celebrity clientele and the beauty industry and she has treated my acne-prone skin to become clear, glowing and blackhead-free more often than I can count. So, who better to ask all my burning questions about blackheads?
As Mr. Rouleau explained to me, blackheads are a fact of life and almost everyone will experience them at some point. They are essentially inevitable, but there is certainly a strategy (and hope!) to manage and deal with them. And yes, the only real way to get rid of them is to physically extract them.
Masks for blackheads
“Whether you remove them yourself or have a facial professional, blackheads must be extracted manually,” explains Rouleau. “There is no magic mask or pore strip that will easily remove them, and while some products may help pores not to clog again, they will not actively remove an already clogged pore.”
According to Rouleau, the best way to manage blackheads is through routine facials and extractions, which helps keep pores clean and clean. That said, if you don’t have the time or funds for this kind of professional interview, don’t worry! I asked Rouleau everything you ever wanted to know about blackheads – what they are, what causes them and, yes, even how to remove them at home. Keep scrolling!
What is blackheads?
According to Rouleau, blackheads are large open pores containing oil that has oxidized in the air, making it black. Contrary to what most people believe, blackheads are not imprisoned “dirty”; it is simply oxidized oil that is trapped in your pore. You can remove the black dot by extracting it, but once the oil fills up again in the pore, the air will blacken the oil once again.” Unfortunately, blackheads can become a kind of vicious circle, which means that extractions and maintenance are essential.
How to remove blackheads at home
“During a professional facial, a beautician increases the temperature of the skin by applying hot steam to the skin and performing a facial to melt the hardened oil in the pores to facilitate extractions,” Mr. Rouleau tells me. If the skin is well prepared, the extractions should not leave significant red marks on the skin. A refreshing mask, after extraction, will help calm the skin and reduce any visible redness.”
The good news? You can actually create a similar experience at home. (Although if your blackheads really bother you, have a lot of them or are just intimidated, it may not be a bad idea to see a pro, even if it’s only the first few times). Follow the steps below for Rouleau’s home extraction plan: you’ll need plastic wrap, two toilet gloves, a tissue, a thick moisturizer and a blackhead extractor (or your fingers). Oh, and be sure to remove your blackheads immediately after showering, as the skin temperature has been increased, which softens the hardened oil in the pore, thus facilitating extractions.
Step 1: Apply a thick, creamy moisturizer
“After the shower, apply a thin layer of the heaviest moisturizer you have on the area you want to extract,” says Rouleau. “Using a rich moisturizer, you will create a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin, which is necessary for extractions.”
Step 2: Apply a hot compress
Then cover the area with cellophane or plastic wrap, and apply the first warm, moist washcloth. Then take the second warm washcloth and apply it to the other. The top glove will help the bottom glove (which touches the skin) to retain its heat for longer. Then remove the plastic and keep the skin moist by applying a little more moisturizer, as it is most likely that it will have wiped on the toilet glove.”
Step 3: If you use your fingers…
If you use your fingers (rather than a blackhead extraction tool), wrap a tissue around each index and gently press to remove blackheads or clogged pores. The purpose of the pressure is to avoid placing the fingers too close, as this would not allow the black dot to come out. Expand them a little so that the black dot is more easily extracted from the deep level of the skin.
To avoid creating pinch marks, go easy and make sure you reposition your fingers. For example, position your fingers at 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., then at 5 a.m., then at 10 a.m., 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. My general rule is… three shots and you’re eliminated. This means that if it doesn’t come out after three tries, don’t do it any longer, or you risk damaging the skin or breaking a capillary.”
Step 3: If you use an extraction tool…
If you use a tool instead of your fingers, Step 3 will be as follows. Hold the tweezers in one hand and place the open ends on both sides of the black dot you want to extract. Because the body of the clamp is perpendicular to the area to be extracted (the curved part of the tips in contact with the skin) and the round, curved ends, gently press each side of the black dot until it begins to detach. Apply slow, steady pressure, and once you can, pinch the clamp slightly and remove the black spot from the skin to extract it. If the black dot does not clear easily, do not continue to attempt extraction. We’re going to do what I like to call a “responsible pressing.”
Strategic products to use (and what not to use)
As Mr. Rouleau tells me, even after the blackheads have been extracted, it is easy for them to reassemble – and it can happen quickly. Thus, keeping them under control is a matter of vigilance and regular maintenance of the skin; Note that some types of products and ingredients will be much more useful to you than others.
For example, Rouleau does not recommend pore strips (as satisfying and tempting as they may seem) because when there is a black dot – aka a hardened oil blockage – you really have to extract it gently by hand, and a band just won’t be as effective as the industry would have us believe. Below are the strategic products and ingredients that will help slow or reduce the appearance of blackheads.
“Once the pores are cleaned, it is important to incorporate acid-using products, such as AHA and BHA, into your routine to absorb directly into pores and keep them clean, as well as to prevent oil from filling up so quickly,” Rouleau tells me.
Everything from acid-containing cleansers to serums and home peels is normal, but just follow Mr. Rouleau’s advice and make sure the products you choose are mild and do not contain SD 40 alcohol or denatured alcohol. Another important piece of advice? Avoid acid-based products for at least 24 hours after a professional or DIY manual extraction.
But after this 24-hour period, choose from my three favorite formulas below! (I’ve been addicted to the Roll line for almost a year now and I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the frequency and intensity of my blackheads).
Vitamin C Products – E – aka Antioxidants
Preventing the oxidation process from the outset is a key element in reducing the appearance of blackheads. “Antioxidants used in skin care products have many benefits, such as encouraging collagen production, thinning discoloration and slowing down the production of free radicals harmful to the skin, but a surprising advantage is their ability to prevent oil oxidation, hence the name antioxidants, which means “anti-oxidation”” “I can’t speak for all antioxidant products, but I can tell you with certainty that our Vitamin C Treatment uses three forms of stable and no-bite vitamin C, so this product is suitable not only to prevent blackheads, but also an excellent option for sensitive skin.”
The 3-step plan to reduce blackheads
“Most people have blackheads at some point in their lives, and there are tons of products that claim to eliminate them but unfortunately never do,” says Rouleau, “so I created a three-step plan to reduce blackheads.”
Step 1: Manually eliminate blackheads. Whether by a professional or by yourself at home, they must be removed manually. No magic mask can take them off!
Step 2: Once you’ve managed to clean the pore and remove the black spot, the challenge is to keep it clean. Add a mild product with AHA and BHA to your routine to prevent the oil from coming back so quickly.
Step 3: Keep the oil from oxidizing. A black dot is an oil that has oxidized and turned black, so try to prevent the oil from oxidizing. Use a skincare product impregnated with antioxidants, as they will stimulate collagen production, improve hyperpigmentation or discoloration problems, and slow down the production of free radicals.