Blackheads are formed when dead skin cells and oils collect and get stuck in your pores. If the skin stays covering the pore, the bump is called a whitehead. But when the skin pulls back and the mixture is exposed to air, the oxidization causes it to darken – thus, blackheads.
There are some factors that increase your likelihood of dealing with blackheads, such as having oily skin or undergoing hormonal changes like menstruation or birth control pills.
Luckily, there are many effective methods of treatment available today. Here are three ways to prevent blackheads from forming and clear them up when they appear.
Skin care professionals have a special tool called a round loop extractor that enables them to safely and sterilely remove blackheads. Typically a small opening is made in the blackhead, and then pressure is applied with the tool to remove the plug.
Microdermabrasion is another technique used by skin care professionals, in which they “sand” the top layers of your skin with a special instrument. This “sanding” clears off the clogs that cause blackheads.
You can also do something similar at home with an electronic cleansing brush. You’ll want to be careful though, because overdoing it with a brush can irritate your skin and cause other acne to flare up. Aim for once or twice a week.
A deep cleansing facial mask such as this one from Nu Skin can do wonders for reducing shine and blackheads. The minerals in the clay, such as kaolin and bentonite, pull impurities from the skin’s pores to its surface while the mask hardens and tightens. Try steaming your face beforehand to open your pores and enhance the mask’s ability to draw out oils and impurities. The mask works best for normal to oily skin, as it absorbs excess oil. For best results, let the mask dry completely before washing it off.
There are many effective over-the-counter treatments. They come in cream, gel, or pad forms and are typically applied directly to your skin. The usual active ingredient is either salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or resorcinol, and they work by drying up excess oil, killing bacteria, and promotes the shedding of dead skin cells.
If OTC medications don’t help, there are a number of prescription treatments available. Many have vitamin A, which prevents clogs from forming in the pores by stimulating your skin to shed its dead cells quickly. These medications can include tazarotene, tretinoin, or adapalene.
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