Blackheads are skin imperfections that can appear anywhere on the body, although they often occur on the face. These are imperfections that sometimes cause pain and are formed by excess sebum, dead cells, clogged pores and bacteria; although they can be treated easily, the best way to avoid complicated procedures is to prevent them from forming.
Part 1 of 2: Keeping Skin Clean
Step 1. Cleanse your skin regularly
It is important to wash it regularly to remove dirt and excess sebum; in this way, you avoid the formation of blackheads and clogging of the pores.
- Use a mild cleanser with a neutral pH. You can also opt for a product that contains salicylic acid, which is very helpful in keeping pores clean and avoiding acne breakouts.
- You can find soaps that do not irritate the skin in pharmacies and most supermarkets.
- If you have very oily skin, consider using an oil-free product; Conversely, if your skin tends to be dry, try a glycerin cleanser or moisturizer.
- Do not use soap bars, as they contain comedogenic substances (which block pores).
- Use lukewarm water; if it is too hot, it eliminates all the protective sebum layer, irritating the skin.
Step 2. Don't over-wash your face
Although hygiene is important, it is essential not to overdo it in the opposite direction; too frequent or too vigorous cleaning irritates the epidermis, eliminates sebum and causes the formation of pimples.
It is sufficient to wash the acne-prone skin twice a day to keep it clean and avoid the development of blackheads
Step 3. Remove your makeup before bed
Going to bed with make-up or cosmetics on the skin causes clogging of the pores; remove your make-up completely with a mild cleanser or a specific product before bed.
- You can use a specific makeup remover, especially if you have applied water-resistant cosmetics, or a mild cleanser. Most face soaps are effective for getting rid of make-up.
- You should consider washing your makeup sponges and applicators once a month using soapy water; in this way, you eliminate the bacteria responsible for blackheads.
Step 4. Shower after doing strenuous activities
If you are a person who does a lot of movement, always take a shower after training; sweat promotes the accumulation of sebum and bacteria, which in turn can clog skin pores.
Don't wash areas susceptible to blackheads with harsh soap; a delicate product with a neutral pH is more than enough
Part 2 of 2: Take other preventive measures
Step 1. Apply a moisturizer every day
Use a specific cream for your skin type, to spread after washing your face; a well hydrated epidermis helps prevent blackheads.
- Moisturizer is also needed if you have oily skin; in this case, choose an oil-free and non-comedogenic product.
- Ask your dermatologist or a qualified beautician for advice to understand what your skin type is; you can buy products formulated specifically for your needs in supermarkets and pharmacies.
Step 2. Exfoliate your skin regularly
Dead skin cells can clog pores and cause blackheads. A gentle exfoliation process, performed regularly, frees the epidermis from bacteria and dead skin layers responsible for blemishes.
- Be aware that an exfoliating product only removes the surface layer and is unable to act deeply to scrub away blackheads.
- Choose a mild product that contains natural or synthetic microgranules, but with regular shapes. Aggressive scrubs cause irritation and make the situation worse; a soft towel is perfect for this.
Step 3. Absorb excess oil
If you have oily skin, use a topical product to get rid of the oiliness. This type of preparation not only eliminates the sebum, but also the bacteria and dead cells that contribute to the formation of skin imperfections.
- You can opt for an over-the-counter treatment with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, or in severe cases, ask your doctor to prescribe a stronger product.
- Applying a clay mask once a week allows you to absorb excess sebum and purify the epidermis.
- You can use absorbent tissues to get rid of greasiness from your face.
- Strictly follow your doctor's instructions or those on the product packaging, to avoid using excess doses and not further irritate the skin.
- You can buy most of the absorbent products in drugstores and some supermarkets; in some cases, they are also available at online cosmetics retailers.
Step 4. Use hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic products
If you apply makeup or other skincare cosmetics, such as moisturizers and sunscreens, choose the non-comedogenic variants, as they do not clog pores and prevent irritation.
- The substances labeled as "non-comedogenic" have been tested for acne-prone skin and have been shown not to aggravate the existing problem, as well as not to trigger new outbreaks.
- Each "hypoallergenic" product was tested on sensitive skin and caused no irritation.
- There is a wide range of products with these features, including make-up, sunscreen, moisturizing lotions and tonics; you can buy them in most pharmacies, best-stocked supermarkets, online and in perfumeries.
Step 5. Keep your fingers away from blackheads
You may be tempted to touch or squeeze them, but you have to resist: these behaviors only spread the sebum and bacteria, causing even more widespread outbreaks.
Pinching or touching the skin only makes the situation worse
Step 6. Remove stubborn or large blackheads
In some cases, large imperfections are formed which do not disappear; you can remove them safely using a blackhead extractor, but only in severe cases.
- You can buy this tool in most pharmacies and cosmetic stores.
- Remember to wash your face thoroughly before using the extractor to minimize the risk of spreading bacteria.
- Warm the skin with a warm compress for a minute or two before using the tool.
- Don't force the blackhead out of the skin; if you can't get it out on the first try, wait a couple of days so as not to worsen the situation and promote the healing process.
- Follow the instructions to use the extractor in the most effective way;
- If you are unsure or have a lot of blackheads, you should see a dermatologist. The dermatologist is able to use the extractor more efficiently to eliminate blemishes.
Step 7. Wear loose fitting clothing
Tight clothing can retain heat and humidity, which in turn irritate the skin and trigger outbreaks of blackheads; wearing loose and comfortable clothing keep your skin dry and avoid imperfections.
- Breathable clothes keep the skin dry and help keep blemishes under control.
- Natural fibers, such as cotton, are great solutions for people with sensitive skin; avoid coarse fabrics, such as wool, so as not to make irritation worse.
- Regularly wash all underwear that comes into contact with your skin, including pillow cases; use a mild detergent that does not cause clogging of the pores and that is not irritating.
Step 8. Review your nutrition
There is some evidence that a nutritionally balanced diet has positive effects on the skin. By giving up unhealthy and "junk" foods you can avoid suffering from acne and blackheads.
- Foods rich in fat and sugar slow down cell turnover; as a result, there are more clogged pores and blackheads. Try not to eat too many fried or sweet foods.
- Foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, including fruits and vegetables such as raspberries and carrots, accelerate cell turnover and promote healthy skin.
- Foods with essential fatty acids, such as nuts or olive oil, help the skin stay hydrated.
- The unhealthy products also "occupy" the space of the food necessary to satisfy the intake of vitamins and antioxidants, essential for having a healthy epidermis.
- Adequate hydration is a fundamental part of a balanced diet; try to drink eight glasses of water every day to keep your body healthy, including your skin.
Step 9. See your doctor or dermatologist if the comedones are severe or don't go away
Your doctor can recommend products that are most suitable for your skin type and, if necessary, prescribe special creams such as retinoids, which are perfect for keeping pores clean and acne under control.