Blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne that occur as tiny bumps when the pores are clogged with oil, dead skin or dirt. These are also called open comedones as they aren’t covered by a layer of skin unlike their counterparts called whiteheads. As they are open, interaction with air causes blackheads on nose to appear dark in colour.
- Excessive sebum production can be a major cause for blackheads on face. The oil may clog the pores, creating plugs which result in the formation of blackheads and whiteheads on the face.
- Hormonal imbalance may be a contributing factor for blackheads as it leads to a surge in sebum production.
- An increase in the number of acne causing bacteria (P. acnes) on the skin also may lead to blackheads on the face.
- Taking birth control pills and certain types of medications also have a direct effect on sebum production, which may cause blackheads to appear.
- One of the most important ways to prevent blackheads is by exfoliating regularly.
- Keep your face clean and oil free.
- Use non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products.
- Avoid touching your face, as it may lead to transfer of dirt and bacteria from your hand to your face.
- Use ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, and retinol in your skincare routine.
- Make sure to remove your makeup and cleanse your face properly before going to bed.
- Extraction- Extraction is a process, ideally done by a dermatologist where the blackhead is manually removed from the skin using a tool.
- Microdermabrasion- Microdermabrasion is effective against blackheads as it involves the removal of dead skin cells. It is done by scraping off the topmost layer of the skin using a tool, hence it prevents clogging of pores.
- Laser treatment- Laser treatment works by reducing the production of oil and killing acne causing bacteria on the skin using small but powerful beams of laser.
- Peels- Chemical peels work similarly to microdermabrasion. While microdermabrasion is a form of physically exfoliating the skin to get rid of dead skin cells, chemical peels do so by dissolving the bonds between skin cells and gently sloughing away dead skin.
- OTC treatments- While the rest of the treatments require professional guidance, OTC treatments include ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs and Benzoyl Peroxide which have a gentler mode of action against blackheads. Most of these ingredients also work by exfoliating the skin to free trapped sebum or by killing the bacteria responsible for acne. Another way to get rid of blackheads is by using pore clearing strips which work by pulling out the plugs from the pores which are responsible for blackheads.
- Do exfoliate regularly- Exfoliating regularly ensures removal of dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria which are prime culprits for blackheads.
- Don’t use comedogenic skincare and makeup- Certain skincare and makeup products contain ingredients which may clog the pores, these are called comedogenic ingredients. Avoid using comedogenic products to prevent clogged pores which may lead to blackheads on the face.
- Do use masks with sulphur and clay- Sulphur and clay work against blackheads by absorbing excess oil from the skin. Sulphur also acts as an anti-microbial and is effective against acne causing bacteria Using sulphur and clay masks allows you to effectively treat blackheads. You can even spot treat by applying the masks only on affected areas to treat blackheads on the nose.
- Don’t squeeze the blackheads- Squeezing the blackheads may result in scarring or skin damage which is far worse to treat than blackheads. Avoid squeezing them on your own and opt for professional treatments such as extraction by a dermatologist.
- Do use skin resurfacing ingredients- Skin resurfacing ingredients are basically exfoliating ingredients. As the name suggests, these work by exfoliating dead skin cells and surfacing newer cells.
- Don’t over exfoliate- In a bid to get rid of blackheads, it’s possible to over-exfoliate the skin. Over-exfoliation of the skin can damage the epidermal barrier and irritate the skin, inviting a whole new bunch of skin problems. Know your limits while exfoliating and avoid using too many exfoliating ingredients in your skincare routine.
- AHAs- AHAs like Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Tartaric Acid are water-soluble chemical exfoliants which dissolve the bonds between skin cells and exfoliate the top layer of the skin consisting of dead skin cells.
- BHAs- BHAs are oil-soluble acids which work by penetrating deep into the pores and clearing out any dirt, sebum or bacteria which may be clogging them. Salicylic Acid, one of the most popular acne treatments is a BHA.
- Benzoyl Peroxide- Benzoyl Peroxide is useful against blackheads due to its exfoliating and bactericidal properties. While it may not be the most effective treatment for non-inflammatory acne such as blackheads and whiteheads on its own, a combination of Benzoyl Peroxide and other anti-acne ingredients like Salicylic Acid may provide enhanced results.
- Retinol- Retinol is effective against blackheads due to its exfoliating properties and ability to increase the cell turnover rate.
- Tea tree oil- A natural alternative to treating blackheads, Tea tree oil is effective because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- Sulphur- Sulphur works by getting rid of acne causing bacteria and helps the skin to exfoliate due to its keratolytic properties. Keratolytic ingredients work by softening the keratin in the skin which allows easier exfoliation.
- Clay- Clay may help reduce and prevent blackheads by absorbing excess oil and deeply cleansing the pores.
- Adapalene- It is a form of retinoid that’s effective in treating blackheads as it works by unclogging the pores and effectively exfoliating to prevent formation of plugs leading to acne.
Blackheads are formed when sebum, dirt and bacteria clog the pores. Exfoliation ensures the removal of all the oil, dead skin cells and bacteria which may be clogging the pores. The process of exfoliation involves removal of dead skin which allows any trapped sebum or bacteria to be free. Chemical exfoliation using BHAs is especially useful against blackheads as BHAs are oil soluble and go deep into the pores, effectively clearing the skin.
- Deconstruct Pore Control Serum with 2% Salicylic Acid + 3% Niacinamide
With 2% Salicylic Acid, this serum is the perfect choice for acne prone skin. Combined with Niacinamide, this serum moisturises the skin as it exfoliates. Gentle yet effective, if you’re a beginner this serum is the perfect choice for you.
- Deconstruct Exfoliating Serum with 18% AHA + 2% BHA (Salicylic Acid)
This unique serum with a combination of AHA and BHA is the one stop solution for exfoliation. The AHA and BHA work together to effectively get rid of blackheads.
- Deconstruct Beginner’s exfoliating serum with 5% Lactic Acid + 0.5% Probiotics
This product could be effective as an AHA serum for blackhead removal. The lactic acid is an excellent option for those with dry and sensitive skin looking to treat blackheads.
- Deconstruct Retinol and Peptide serum with 0.2% Retinol + 1% Peptide
This retinol serum gently exfoliates the skin, getting rid of blackheads and preventing any future ones from popping up. This serum also increases the rate of cell turnover and collagen production.
Blackheads are a type of non-inflammatory acne which usually isn’t a cause for worry. Although you may be bothered by their appearance on the skin, with a little care and the right treatment these can easily be gotten rid of. Keep in mind that there’s no magical solution for blackheads and they cannot be permanently treated. Various causes may cause blackheads to reappear on the skin, what’s important is that you stick to the treatment and have a good skincare routine to keep blackheads at bay.
- How to remove blackheads and whiteheads at home?
Blackheads and whiteheads can be removed at home by using OTC treatments and ingredients like AHAs, BHAs and Retinol in your skincare routine. Proper exfoliation is also key to prevent and treat blackheads and whiteheads.
- Is using salicylic acid for blackheads on nose effective?
Yes, salicylic acid is effective against blackheads. Salicylic Acid is a BHA which clears dirt, sebum and acne causing bacteria from the pores, which is why it makes the perfect treatment for blackheads on nose.
- What causes blackheads on face?
Blackheads arise when pores are clogged with sebum, skin cells or dirt. They can be caused due to a variety of reasons such as excess oil production, not cleansing the skin thoroughly, under-exfoliation amongst many others.