How are blackheads formed?
They may not be as obvious on your face as a pus-filled pimple, but that doesn’t make blackheads any less annoying. The dark, slightly raised spots often appear in the oiliest spot on your face, your T-zone (made up of your forehead, nose and chin), but they can pop up on other places like your back, chest, neck, arms and shoulders. Blackheads are the result of clogged hair follicles. Each follicle contains hair and a sebaceous gland that produces sebum (oil) to help keep skin soft. Dead skin cells and sebum collect and form a “plug”; this plug is oxidized when it comes into contact with air, which is what gives it a dark, almost black colour.
Use salicylic acid
The most popular method of blackhead removal is the use of salicylic acid. The beta hydroxy acid (BHA) works by penetrating the skin and dissolving the dead skin cells that clog pores and is a proven way to treat and prevent mild forms of acne, like blackheads. Incorporating products that are formulated with salicylic acid into your skincare routine, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Global Acne Treatment, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum and Effaclar Foaming Cream, is an effective way to keep pores unclogged and treat existing blackheads as well as prevent new ones from forming.
Exfoliate face and body
Because blackheads can pop up anywhere, it’s important to exfoliate face and body using a salicylic acid product that is suitable for both. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro-Peeling Purifying Gel is made with 2% salicylic acid and is safe to use all over, both morning and evening. The soap-free, alcohol-free cleanser helps remove excess sebum, eliminate impurities and deeply unclog pores. Thanks to its use of effective but gentle salicylic acid, it accelerates the elimination of dead cells without irritation.
Don’t use pore strips
While it may be tempting to turn to pore strips to attempt to clear blackheads from your nose, forehead and chin, we suggest you steer clear of them. While we understand that there’s something gratifying about peeling one off and seeing dozens of extracted blackheads, the reality of pore strips is that not only do they pick up more than just blackheads (anything on the surface of your skin, including dirt, makeup, debris and hair), they also cause redness and irritation. It’s especially important for those with sensitive skin to check the ingredients in pore strips as they may contain irritating chemicals.
Opt for an oil-free sunscreen
Since blackheads are caused by pores and hair follicles that are clogged with excess sebum, your best bet on the SPF front is to incorporate a light, oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen, like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Fluid SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen, into your skincare routine to prevent further clogging and the development of future blackheads.
Don’t attempt to extract them yourself
Our final tip for preventing blackheads is perhaps the most difficult of them all: Don’t try to extract them yourself! While keeping your fingers away from blackheads may require a lot of self-control and discipline, it’s worth it. At-home blackhead extraction is likely to lead to irritation and even scarring, so it’s best not to attempt it at all. Instead, keep blackheads at bay by washing your face twice a day, employing a skincare routine that’s specifically designed to treat blackheads (such as incorporating products formulated with salicylic acid) and, if necessary, turning to professionals like an aesthetician or a dermatologist for help.