Even if you regularly take all possible preventative measures against the formation of blackheads in your skin, you might still be getting them in certain places and certain cases. And before most people even know what preventative measures to take, they probably need to figure out how to extract blackheads that have already formed.
Well, if you're here, the means you are ready to do something about it, which is a big first step. So, congratulate yourself and don't feel bad; blackheads are a very common form of acne that is in no way indicative of dirty skin. Instead, they are the result of a natural buildup of oil and dead skin cells that clog hair follicles and turn dark as they are exposed to the air.
All the same, knowing they're there probably doesn't make you feel your best. Extraction can be tricky, depending on how deep your blackheads are, and no one wants to be left with scars if they can be avoided, so here are some of the best extraction methods available to you for safe blackhead removal.
1. Pore strips
Pore strips may not be the most effective tip on our list, but they are one of the simplest. These cool tools are available at pharmacies or online and are relatively easy to use. They temporarily remove a layer of skin from applied areas and often do a reasonable job at pulling out blackheads along with it.
However, pore strips may also remove natural oils that are healthy for your skin, making them ideal for those whose acne is caused by excessively oily skin. They could also have a negative impact if you have particularly sensitive skin, so pay attention to how your skin reacts after using them a few times. In any case, steam or wet your skin with warm water before using them to help loosen up the pores and follicles where your blackheads are trapped.
2. Chemical exfoliation
If you're actively trying to extract existing blackheads regular exfoliation with a rough scrub won't get you very far. In fact, this could help drive your blackheads deeper in your skin and exacerbate the problem. While normal exfoliation is a good preventative measure, there are certain chemical exfoliants that can help you get deep down and push out blackheads.
Look for products that contain alpha hydroxy acids, like Glycolic and lactic acids, and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid. These acids are gentle and help remove dead skin cells from problem areas, even penetrating some depth into your pores where blackheads have formed. Again, those with particularly sensitive skin should tread carefully applying any acidic treatments as these generally remove a thin layer of skin.
3. Clay and charcoal masks
Regular application of masks is a healthy activity for your skin in general, but if your goal is to extract blackheads, clay and charcoal is the way to go. These are particularly effective at soaking up excess oil vs. other treatments that focus on removing dead skin cells.
Masks are also a gentler alternative to pore strips as they don't remove skin. Some clay masks do contain sulfur, however, which has been known to help break down the dead skin cells in blackheads. If you're looking for a good mask to attack your blackheads from both angles, clay masks with sulfur is a good option, just make sure first that you aren't allergic to sulfur.
4. At-home ultrasonic treatment
One of the most effective and safe ways to get rid of blackheads on your own is by using devices like the Ultrasonic Skin Scrubber. These utilize gentle ultrasonic sound waves to loosen up pores and follicles where blackheads may be trapped. Then, by applying gentle pressure with the metal spatula, trapped oil and dead skin cells can be safely pushed to the surface.
Ultrasonic treatment is also one of the best options for sensitive skin and doesn't cause any irritation. Regular use is recommended and is therefore a great preventative measure against blackheads as well, besides helping remove other impurities and increasing the penetration level of masks and moisturizers.
5. Professional treatment
Though often expensive, you may find that you don't have any other choice than to seek professional help from a dermatologist or aesthetician. These experts are training in the safe and careful removal of impurities like blackheads with an extraction tool.
Unfortunately, even these treatments cannot prevent the return of blackheads themselves , and without taking additional measures, you may find yourself making another appointment soon. However, as professionals, they can make recommendations to personalize your skin care regimen and reduce the likelihood of experiencing additional breakouts.