Blackheads are one type of non-inflammatory acne. They are clogged pores that form as a result of the buildup of keratin (dead skin cells), sebum, and dirt that have oxidized. This causes the dark heads to appear. It can be tempting to pinch the black plug out, but this can cause scarring and skin damage! Here are Dr. Zenovia’s top skin care recommendations for tackling pesky blackheads from the comfort of your home.
Get Rid of Your Blackheads
Blackheads can be treated with regular usage of effective acne-fighting topicals including glycolic acid and retinol. At-home pore vacuums and in-office HydraFacial's can also help clear your pores.
A skincare routine that consists of a chemical exfoliant is key to blackhead prevention and treatment! Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) help fight comedonal acne including blackheads by reducing follicular plugging. Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Glycolic Acne Control Peel Pads are a convenient way to incorporate AHAs into your routine. Specially formulated to promote the skin’s cellular renewal process, unclog pores, and accelerate the removal of dead skin cells, these acne-clearing pads are enhanced with Dr. Zenovia’s proprietary REG-ulate360 Complex™ to balance hormonal acne and regulate sebum production for healthy, clear skin. Start by incorporating these pads into your regimen by using them 2-3 times a week in the evening.
Retinols are extremely effective at assisting with cellular turnover to prevent clogged pores- both blackheads and whiteheads. Retinols are also the best pore reducers because they build collagen and balance oil. Using a pea-sized amount of Dr. Zenovia’s Advanced Retinol Night Repair Treatment a few times a week at night can help prevent the formation of clogged pores.
Note from Dr. Zenovia: It’s important to gradually introduce these ingredients into your skincare routine. Using glycolic acid and retinol in the same routine is not recommended for sensitive skin types. If excessive dryness or irritation occurs, reduce application.
At-Home Pore Vacuums
Pore vacuums and other at-home skin devices may seem like an affordable alternative to in-office skin treatments for blackhead removal. Most pore vacuums on the market have mild suction capabilities and can be effective in clearing mild pore blockages on the surface. However, for large, or deep-rooted blackheads, pore vacuums may not be effective at removing all your keratin/sebum plugs.
It’s also very important to be gentle to the skin. A risk involved in using a powerful pore vacuum is trauma, such as bruising if you push too hard, broken blood vessels, or dilated blood vessels known as telangiectasias. These broken blood vessels can make your complexion look worse and worsen inflammation. Additionally, Dr. Zenovia does not recommend the usage of such devices if your skin is sensitive, rosacea-prone, or if you have severely inflamed acne.
If you decide to give an at-home pore vacuum a try, first cleanse the skin to loosen any debris and pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Use the vacuum at the lowest setting to try it out on your skin first. Follow up with a hydrating, non-oily moisturizer to protect and repair the skin barrier. The benefits of using a pore vacuum can last up until the next keratin plug forms. After cleaning your pores with a vacuum, it is critical to keep your skin clean and optimally treated with acne-fighting ingredients (salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, retinol, and sulfur-based products.) Acne is a multi-factorial issue; blackheads and pimples need topical treatment for elimination and prevention. “There is no "one-hit-wonder" that solves acne,” Dr. Zenovia stresses. “You need a combination approach. There is no single device that solves the whole issue of acne or blackheads.”
In-Office Professional Treatments for Blackhead Removal
If you can afford professional skin treatments and want to see results faster, Dr. Zenovia recommends getting a HydraFacial. This in-office treatment uses a medical-grade hydra dermabrasion device to remove dead skin cells. However, even with professional treatments, you will only see skin improvements by having a consistent anti-acne skincare regimen.