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Blackheads. Everyone deals with them for time to time. Even if you’re blessed with great genes or an impeccable skincare routine, you’re sure to still get the occasional spot from time to time.
They’re a nuisance, and they’re a surefire way to ruin an otherwise perfect selfie or night on the town.
Here’s how to keep them at bay for good.
First thing’s first: what are blackheads and what causes them to begin with?
Well, contrary to popular belief - and their black appearance - blackheads are notpores filled with dirt and grime(thank goodness). Instead, they’re pores that are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. The black color comes from the oil becoming oxidized and trapped.
What traps the oil? Well, it depends really.
Sometimes, blackhead breakouts are weather-related. In warmer months, humidity and sweat can increase oil production in the face. This build-up can lead to clogged hair follicles - which, in turn, can result in blackheads.
On the flip side, winter months can cause the skin to lose its natural moisture and protective barrier. It then overproducesoil to compensate. This, again, leads to congestion and breakouts.
Alternatively, blackheads can happen due to simple build-up of dead skin cells, which become trapped in hair follicles. We lose skin cells every day, and these can get trapped on our face due to improper cleansing, dry skin, or other factors.
This problem can be exacerbated by insufficient exfoliation and by comedogenic products like foundations, concealers, or ultra-rich face creams.
There are a lot of factors at play here, including skin type,skin care regimen, consistency, and environment.
So why do you see them more frequently in certain parts of the face? Well, areas like the nose and chin have more hair follicles, produce more oil, and have more crevices than other parts of the face. That’s why you’ll see blackheads more frequently in these particular zones.
That said, no matter what game pieces you’re initially operating with, these tips are sure to help you beat those pesky blackheads at their own game.
Do you ever towel-dry your face after you wash it and notice dirt or makeup residue coming off on the towel? That’s a sure sign that your cleanser isn’t effective or that you’re simply not washing thoroughly enough. Think about it: if you’re not even getting all your makeup off, you’re definitelynot cleansing and clarifying deep within your pores - and you’re sure to deal with blackheads or other forms of congestion down the line.
That’s where a double-cleanse can help.
It may sound excessive, to be sure, and it brings up a major concern about over-cleansing and over-stripping the skin (also a major problem that can cause breakouts). The trick, though, is two use two typesof cleansers: start with an oil-based cleanser that can remove makeup and attract dirt away from the skin, then follow up with a more clarifying cleanser that will treat any underlying skin concerns - while still finishing up your cleanse, of course.
The two most effective ingredients against blackheads? Charcoal and clay. Both essentially act like glue to blackheads, drawing out impurities and leaving skin looking smooth, poreless, and clean.
When it comes to frequency, it’s best to aim for use at least once a week. Look for a mask with a blackhead-busting combination of ingredients like kaolin clay - which draws out impurities and excess oil - MSM, which promotes cell permeability, and antioxidants, which protect against free radicals and environmental damage.
Developing a consistent exfoliation routine is another crucial part of beating those blackheads, as it helps deal with those clogged pores or built-up dead skin cells by removing the upper layer of dead cells.
You can exfoliate twice a week if you have more sensitive skin or three times a week if you tend to be oily. Remember, though, that you should never over-exfoliateor use harsh and stripping products. This can not only cause micro-tears in the skin but also strip it of its natural barrier (which can lead to further breakouts and skin concerns).
Instead, we recommend an exfoliant like Zen out of Ten. It has gentle bamboo fiber along with nourishing oils and antioxidants, all of which ensure thorough exfoliation without any skin damage.
Alternatively, you can opt for a chemical exfoliant like Soulmate. This gentle moisturizer contains glycolic acid, a gentle AHA that expedites the cell shedding process, removes old cells and helps reveal healthy and luminous skin.
You can also strengthen the clarifying power of your products by adding a drop or two of tea tree oil (or looking for a product that has tea tree directly in the formula). It’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial, which means it can prove beneficial at helping prevent blackheads from forming and taking hold.
It’s also more gentle than alternative treatments like harsher acids or chemicals.
We already mentioned the importance of maintaining the skin’s natural barrier - but this is super important. If your skin is stripped of its natural oils, you’ll be more exposed to wrinkles, free radical damage, acne, infection, and more.
Prevent this from happening by adequately moisturizing your skin, even if it’s naturally oily. This will help regulate sebum production and prevent excess oil from clogging your hair follicles.
Finally, you can’t neglect the rest of your health and expect to get real results.
Make sure that you eat foods that control your blood sugar and insulin levels - and avoid sugars, starches, and other ingredients that can trigger skin problems. Great choices include:
And remember - consistency is key. Whatever treatments you do, blackheads will always naturally reform every 20 to 40 days." It means consistency is key to keeping on top of the problem and no single treatment can see them off forever.