Are you bothered by persistent blackheads on your nose that seem to reappear no matter how many times you tackle them? Those stubborn black or yellow plugs can be challenging to eliminate, affecting the overall appearance of your skin. Fret not; we’ve covered you with simple, effective home remedies to remove blackheads. These methods address the current issue and help prevent their recurrence. Let’s explore these natural solutions to achieve more precise and smoother skin. Stay tuned for a blemish-free complexion!
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads, those small dark bumps resulting from clogged hair follicles, are a prevalent and often bothersome form of mild acne. Unlike other types of acne, blackheads may emerge without accompanying signs, making them a unique challenge for skin care. Although they frequently appear on the nose and chin, these stubborn blemishes can surface on various body parts, including the neck, shoulders, chest, back, and arms. (1)
Contrary to a common misconception, blackheads are not solely linked to poor skin hygiene. Even individuals with dry, combination, or normal skin may deal with these tiny nuisances. The root cause lies in the accumulation of excess oils in the sebaceous glands, making it more of a skin type concern than a cleanliness issue. It’s crucial to dispel the myth that blackheads result from trapped dirt.
The appearance of blackheads can vary significantly based on heredity, age, hormonal status, lifestyle, and skincare practices. While oily skin types are more susceptible, anyone can be affected. To effectively address and prevent blackheads, a comprehensive skincare routine and targeted home remedies can play a vital role in achieving clear and healthy skin.
Acne or acne vulgaris is a skin infection that is considered as the most common skin issue in the United States (U.S.). According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it affects as many as 50 million of Americans every year (2).
Causes of Blackheads
Our skin has millions of pores containing hair follicles with hair fibers and sebaceous glands underneath them. When these glands become overactive, the excess sebum (yellowish, oily protective substance) they release accumulates in the hair follicles. This, along with the dead cells collected in the openings to hair follicles, clogs the skin pores and forms tiny bumps or ‘comedones.’ If the skin over these comedones remains open, everything inside them gets oxidized due to the exposure to air. This turns the top visible surface of the bumps dark or yellowish, thus forming ‘blackheads.’ Certain factors may increase the chances of developing blackheads, which include the following (3):
- Oversecretion of sebaceous glands
- Higher rate of turnover of skin cells by the body
- Too much sweating
- Lack of regular skin exfoliation
- Extremely humid environment
- Blocking of skin pores by makeup products
- Opening of hair follicles by shaving and other similar activities
- Buildups of bacteria (P. acnes) on the skin
- There are hormonal fluctuations due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, birth control pills, etc.
- Certain medical conditions like stress, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), etc. (4)
- Intake of steroid-based drugs like corticosteroids, lithium, androgens, etc.
Blackheads may lead to more severe acne if you do not address its underlying causes. However, too much exfoliation or frequent attempts to remove them may turn the condition even worse.
Symptoms of Blackheads
Blackheads manifest as small, dark, and slightly raised lesions on the skin, making them easily identifiable. Unlike inflammatory acne, such as pimples and blemishes, blackheads are non-inflammatory and typically don’t cause pain or discomfort. Despite their painless nature, the visible presence of these bumps can lead to feelings of embarrassment in some individuals, potentially giving rise to social or psychological challenges. Addressing blackheads goes beyond their physical manifestation, recognizing their impact on one’s emotional well-being. (5)
Sometimes blackhead-like smaller and flatter bumps appear on the nose in groups. These are called ‘sebaceous filaments’, which are pretty different from acne or blackheads. They are basically certain glands that channelize sebum through the skin pores.
Treatments for Blackheads
There are multiple treatments for managing blackheads effectively. Based on the unique requirements of the skin, the following options can be considered:
- OTC Treatments: Over-the-counter acne treatments available in cream, gel, or pad forms are known to be effective for blackheads. Common ingredients used in these products are salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and resorcinol, which help soak up excess sebum, slough off dead cells, and kill bacteria.
- Prescription Treatments: When OTC medications do not work, consult your doctor for more potent prescription drugs. They usually contain tretinoin, tazarotene, or adapalene and are used topically to prevent the formation of plugs in the hair follicles and boost the turnover of skin cells. (6)
- Manual Extraction: In this treatment procedure, trained professionals or dermatologists use a round loop extractor tool to make a small opening in the blackhead. Then, gentle pressure is applied to the instrument to eliminate the plug.
- Microdermabrasion: This is another method practiced only under the guidance of a skilled and experienced professional. In this, the topmost layer of the skin is sanded with a particular instrument having a rough surface to eliminate blackhead-causing clogs.
- Chemical Peels: When a robust chemical solution is applied to the skin directly, the top layers peel off gradually over time. This also removes clogs and dead skills, thus revealing the smoother skin underneath. Though mild OTC peels can be tried at home, stronger ones should only be performed by skincare experts.
- Laser and Light Therapies: These therapies use tiny beams of intense light that penetrate the skin’s surface to reduce sebum production and kill bacteria simultaneously. Thus, the blackheads are treated without causing any damage to the outermost layer of the skin.
Read Also – How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Nose Fast?
10 Home Remedies to Remove Blackheads Naturally
Natural remedies are inexpensive and do not have side effects like many prescription treatments. So, here are the ten most popular remedies that are used to remove blackheads naturally:
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a remarkable natural exfoliator, and professional dermatologists acknowledge its exfoliating properties and occasionally incorporate it into microdermabrasion treatments for skin renewal. To harness its benefits, create a smooth paste by blending baking soda with water. Gently scrub the targeted area of your skin with this paste for a few minutes, incorporating this routine into your skincare regimen twice a week for optimal results. This simple yet effective method can help remove skin cells and promote a revitalized complexion.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) boasts remarkable astringent and antibacterial properties, making it a powerful solution for clearing blocked pores on the skin. These properties contribute to reducing blackheads, leading to a clearer complexion. Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your regular face packs and masks and substituting it for plain water enhances its effectiveness. The natural acids in ACV dissolve impurities, unclog pores, and balance the skin’s pH levels, promoting a healthier and more radiant appearance. This simple addition to your skincare routine can be a game-changer in your battle against blackheads.
3. Egg White
An egg white mask is appreciated for shrinking the pores and tightening the skin, making it an effective remedy for blackheads. You can apply the white part of an egg directly to the troubled sections of your skin. Otherwise, blend it with a teaspoon of honey and spread the mixture evenly all over your face, focusing on the areas with dense blackheads. Let it dry for 20-30 minutes, and wash the face afterward with warm water. This practice will also enhance the texture of your skin.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its soothing and moisturizing qualities (7). It also contains zinc and saponin that help keep blackheads at bay by tightening pores and cleansing the skin. Moreover, it has excellent antibacterial effects that prevent blackheads from getting infected (8). Break open a fresh aloe vera leaf and rub the gel scooped out from it onto the blackhead-prone areas of the skin. It accelerates the healing of the uppermost layer of skin and can make blackheads disappear or reduce significantly. Leave it overnight and repeat daily for better results.
Table salt is also used to remove blackheads effectively. Washing your face once daily with warm salted water may reduce excess oil from the skin responsible for developing blackheads. The abrasive qualities of salt may remove prominent blackheads, too.
6. Ice Cubes
Rubbing ice cubes on the blackhead-affected areas of the skin for about 10 minutes has been found to shrink the pores to a great extent. This helps in keeping the growth and expansion of blackheads in check.
Being rich in vitamin C, lemon increases collagen production in the skin while tightening the pores with its astringent properties. This, along with its moisturizing properties, helps prevent pore-clogging, thereby eliminating blackheads successfully (9). Mix the juice of a lemon with some almond oil and glycerine and apply it to the affected areas thrice every week. This remedy is effective in the reduction of acne scars, too.
Honey is one of the most tried and tested remedies for blackheads. It keeps the skin hydrated and supple by acting as a natural moisturizer, ensuring the pores are not clogged by dry and dead cells (10). This eventually keeps blackheads away from the face. Apply warm honey to the face, cover the blackheads, and wash it off with plain water after 10 minutes.
Steaming is often used in beauty treatments, and it helps in softening stubborn blackheads. For this, put a hot towel over your face for 10 minutes. Then, wash it off with a mild face scrub or face wash. This will make the blackheads surface and eventually clear them away.
10. Clay Mask
Clay masks work beautifully when it comes to treating oily skin. Their ability to absorb excess sebum and deep cleanse the pores makes them ideal for blackhead removal. Apply the mask regularly to eradicate blackheads and make your skin ultra-smooth.
How to Prevent Blackheads?
Finally, here are some must-follow tips that will help you avert the appearance of blackheads on your skin so frequently:
- First, make sure that you wash your face with a mild cleanser twice every day.
- Use a gentle, non-abrasive scrub to exfoliate your skin twice every week.
- Always use oil-free and non-comedogenic products for skincare and makeup.
- Do not squeeze blackheads, as they may worsen the issue by irritating.
- Avoid factors like humid environments, alcohol-rich skincare products, tight outfits, too much stress, etc., that may trigger blackheads.
Blackheads are tiny, dark bumps or lesions formed on the surface of the skin due to clogged hair follicles. They are the most common form of mild acne, which are found on the nose, chin, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and arms. Rather than trapped dirt, blackheads are caused by the accumulation of excess sebum in the skin pores along with dead cells. Certain triggers of them are hormonal fluctuations, excessive sweating, lack of exfoliation, humid environment, clogging of skin pores with cosmetics, a higher rate of cell turnover, etc. The open-top surface of blackheads turns dark due to oxidization but the comedones do not cause pain or discomfort. Some common treatments of blackheads include OTC medications, prescription drugs, manual extraction, microdermabrasion, light and laser therapies, and chemical peels. But trying natural remedies is always better for removing blackheads in an inexpensive and non-adverse way. You may try baking soda, apple cider vinegar, egg white, aloe vera, table salt, ice cube, lemon, honey, clay masks, steaming for this purpose. Besides, certain preventive tips also help in keeping blackheads at bay.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Get Rid of Blackheads Instantly?
Using baking soda paste to exfoliate the skin’s blackhead-prone area will help you eliminate them instantly.
How Does Vaseline Help Get Rid of Blackheads Overnight?
Apply a generous amount of Vaseline to the affected skin area, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave it overnight. Peel it off the following day to get rid of blackheads.
What Happens If You Don’t Remove Blackheads?
If you do not remove blackheads, they may collect more impurities and bacteria to form cysts or nodules and inflame them.
What is the Stuff That Comes Out of Blackheads?
It is ‘pus, which is nothing but inflamed debris of dead white blood cells.
- “How to Treat Different Types of Acne,” AAD.org
- “Skin Conditions by the Numbers,” AAD.org
- “Blackheads“, Healthline.com
- “Acne (Pimples) Center,” MedicineNet.com
- “Everything You Need to Know About Blackheads,” MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Prescription Medications“, Acne.org
- “Aloe Vera: A Short Review,” NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “New Perspectives on Antiacne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics,” NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey – A Review,” NCBI.nlm.nih.gov