Blackheads are so small yet so annoying! But what exactly are they? Can they be prevented? Can you get rid of them?
Blackheads and other comedones
A comedo (plural “comedones”) is the medical term for blackheads and whiteheads. Comedones develop when the sebaceous glands produce excessive sebum, which combines with dead skin cells and dirt to form a plug that clogs the pores. When this plug comes into contact with air, it oxidizes and turns black – hence the name “blackhead,” or “open comedones.” There are also whiteheads (closed comedones) and microcomedones.
Overactive sebaceous glands and obstructed pores create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and the formation of acne.
How to prevent blackheads
When it comes to preventing blackheads, your best bet is a good skin care routine. Here are the steps involved.
Makeup removal. Removing your makeup is an essential step in the battle against blackheads, since it eliminates makeup residue that could otherwise clog your pores.
Cleansing. Cleansing your face morning and night is the golden rule of good hygiene. Finish with a splash of cold water to tighten pores.
Exfoliation. Exfoliating your skin once or twice a week removes dead skin cells and rids skin of impurities.
Toning lotion. Applying toning lotion after washing your face will soften your skin and leave it completely free of all traces of makeup remover and cleanser.
Use only non-comedogenic cosmetics and makeup, choose the right skin care products for your skin type and stop touching your face.
How to eliminate blackheads
If you have quite a few blackheads, you probably want to consult an esthetician; trying to remove them yourself could damage your skin and lead to permanent scarring. Seeing a professional with every change of season is recommended. If, however, you only have a few blackheads, you can try to remove them yourself. The rule of thumb: be extremely gentle!
With your fingers. Start by thoroughly washing your face and hands. Soften your skin with facial steaming or a warm shower. Wrap facial tissue around your index fingers and place each finger on one side of the blackhead. Apply light pressure down, then up until the blackhead is completely extracted. Finish the process by washing your face and applying a toning lotion to close your pores.
With a blackhead extractor. A blackhead extractor is a slender, stainless steel instrument with a long handle and spoon-like ends that have tiny holes for removing blackheads. Once again, start with softened, properly cleansed skin. Rest the extractor against your skin, centering the blackhead in the small hole. Press down until the blackhead is removed. Some experts recommend rotating the instrument as you press.
Specially designed pore strips are another option for cleansing pores and removing blackheads. Talk to one of our beauty consultants to learn more.
If this do-it-yourself advice is not your cup of tea, you can always learn to hide your skin flaws using a few makeup techniques and the right products.
Looking for products that suit your skin type? Want to learn more about getting rid of blackheads? Drop in for a visit with a Uniprix beauty consultant. She’ll be more than happy to help!