Acne treatment Acne treatment

Products to Treat Blackheads

Products to Treat Blackheads

The pimples and blackheads characteristic of acne are common in teenagers and can persist into adulthood for a sizable minority of people. Like pimples, blackheads result when pores become clogged with sebum and skin cells. With blackheads, as opposed to pimples, the clogged pore doesn't get covered over with skin. The dark appearance of the blackhead is caused by oxidation, according to skin care guru Paula Begoun. A number of products can help.

Pore Strips

Pore strips are a very gratifying product to use for blackheads, since you can immediately see the results. In fact, it can be a happy shock to look at a pore strip after use and see the amount of blackheads and sebum that has been removed. However, Begoun urges caution when using pore strips. Make sure to follow the package directions exactly. They aren't meant for sunburned, inflamed or irritated skin, and should only be used on the nose. The adhesive in pore strips can actually tear or damage skin if used incorrectly. Biore and Ponds are two brands that make pore strips.

Water-Soluble Cleansers

The cleanser used for blackhead-prone skin is crucial. Bar soap can clog the pores, and harsh, greasy cleansers can cause skin cells to prematurely exfoliate and accumulate in the pores. Ulta, the Body Shop and Clinique are among the many brands that include water-soluble cleansers in their lines. Look for a cleanser that's labeled "noncomedogenic." That means that it won't block pores.


Exfoliants help blackhead-prone skin by sloughing off excess skin cells on the surface of the skin. Certain exfoliants, especially beta hydroxy acid, can penetrate the pore lining and exfoliate inside the pore itself, explains Begoun. The most common beta hydroxy acid used in skin care products is salicylic acid, derived from the bark of the willow tree. Salicylic acid also functions as an antibacterial agent. Clean & Clear, Olay and Neutrogena all make acne products containing salicylic acid.

Spot Treatments

Acne spot treatments are helpful for clearing up troublesome blackheads. They work by targeting the blackhead with either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. According to advice from Dr. Amy Wechsler in "Marie Claire" magazine, salicylic acid spot treatments are best for people with oily skin. Paradoxically, because benzoyl peroxide is more drying, it can induce the skin glands to produce extra sebum, leading to even more breakouts. Burt's Bees, Philosophy and Revlon all offer spot treatments with salicylic acid.

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