4 easy & effective ways to banish blackheads
Beauty editor Nokubonga Thusi shares skincare tips that'll help you win the battle against blackheads every time
On the quest to flawless skin, there’s no speed bump more annoying than blackheads — they always seem to appear at the wrong time and figuring out how to get rid of them can be tricky.
The first line of defence is knowing your enemy. So, what exactly are blackheads?Blackheads are caused by blockages in the pores of your skin. This happens when there's an over-production of sebum, an oily substance that's naturally secreted to help to protect and moisturise your skin. The build-up of oil, bacteria and dirt causes the pore to become enlarged, increasing the blackhead’s size.
So what causes the discolouration? When the opening of the pore is exposed to the outer surface and to oxygen (unlike the opening of a whitehead, which is closed), oxidation takes place on the clogged-up sebum, turning it black. Think of a peeled apple left out in the open for too long.
When treating or getting rid of blackheads, there are a few approaches to take. There is also an array products tailored to do this but the main thing to remember is to use those that draw excess oil out of the skin to prevent pores clogging.
1. USE PRODUCTS WITH CLAY OR CHARCOAL
Clay is a powerful ingredient for combating excess oil. Apply a clay mask or paste on the oily areas of your face and those most susceptible to blackheads. You might notice droplets or small dots forming on the surface of the mask. This is the mask actively drawing out the excess oil and helping to dry out your pores.
2. CREATE DIY PORE STRIPS
If you’re the type of person who likes to see your blackheads physically eradicated, try creating your own pore strips with basic household ingredients.
One handy DIY guide recommends using egg white and toilet paper to make a quick sheet-like mask. This not only removes blackheads by unclogging the pores but also helps to reduce pore size to prevent future outbreaks.
Using a brush, apply a thin layer of egg white to the area of skin where you want to remove the blackheads, then press a sheet of toilet paper over it while it’s still wet. Apply another layer of egg white over the paper and repeat for three or four layers. Allow the egg to dry completely, then gently peel off the strips.
3. GO FOR A PRO EXTRACTION
When a blackhead rears its ugly head, most people’s instinct is to get rid of it immediately by squeezing. Although your blackhead will be gone in a few seconds, your skin won’t feel too good. Squeezing applies pressure which injures the skin’s surface. It reacts to the inflammation by producing melanin – especially darker skins – which means you’re dealing with a dark spot on top of it all.
Rather book an appointment for a deep-cleansing facial and have experts extract your blackheads and other skin congestions without injury.
4. USE AN ENZYMATIC EXFOLIATOR
This is not going to see your blackheads gone in seconds but adding exfoliation to your skincare routine will go a long way to decreasing the appearance of blackheads.
Since blackheads are the result of pores being clogged by oil and dead cells, it’s important to keep your skin’s surface clear. Use enzymatic exfoliators, containing ingredients such as papaya, pineapple, salicylic acid or glycolic acid, two to three times a week, to gently loosen the intercellular layer (the glue that holds skin cells together) so the dead skin can be removed easily.