How to Remove Blackhead Scabs
A blackhead is caused by trapped dirt, oil and bacteria in the follicles of the skin. The follicle opens at the surface, exposing the trapped sebum or oil, which darkens with exposure to air. According to Acne.org, blackheads take a long time to disappear because the trapped materials remain in place, held there by the oxidized oil. Once a blackhead heals or opens, the skin will form a scab to allow internal healing. Although lighter in color, a scab can be just as noticeable as the blackhead it replaced.
Wash the affected and surrounding areas twice daily with an antibacterial soap or face cleanser. Keeping the area clean and dry will encourage healing. Lightly cleanse the areas in a circular motion with a clean soft washcloth. Pat the areas dry with another clean washcloth. Use warm water when cleansing, because this will soften the scab and bring blood to the skin's surface, helping it heal.
Avoid touching or scratching the scab or the surrounding area. Aggravating a healing wound will only make it last longer. In addition, further damage to the area can cause new scabs to appear. Hands are an effective transmitter of bacteria, which can cause additional blackheads. If the area itches, lightly pat it with a clean dry cloth, not your hands. Itching is a sign that the healing process is happening and the scab will be gone soon.
Apply a moist, warm compress to the scab for five minutes three times daily. Use a clean cloth each time, so that bacteria isn't transmitted back onto the skin. Moist heat will help soften the scab and relieve inflammation that can impair healing. Don't rub the area with the cloth, simply hold it against the scab gently and remove. The scab may begin to show signs of coming off, such as turning white around the edges.
Apply a topical over-the-counter acne treatment cream that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient. Repeat the application after each cleansing to maintain continued exposure to the active ingredient. According to the Mayo Clinic, both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid help dry out the affected area around a healing blackhead, accelerating the process. The scab, after a day or two, will become soft and will fall off within a few days. Continue to apply this treatment after the scab falls off to prevent additional blackheads.
Avoid using cosmetics or moisturizer on the scab until it has healed. These products, according to the Mayo Clinic, can irritate the skin and clog follicles, causing new blackheads. Once the scab is gone, only use cosmetics and moisturizers that are specifically noncomedogenic or water-based. Shampoos also can cause additional blackheads, so be sure they are noncomedogenic.
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