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Tips for Removing Blackheads

Tips for Removing Blackheads Tips for Removing Blackheads

Blackheads are a type of acne. They are differentiated from other pimples, or whiteheads, by their black tip protruding from the skin. Blackheads and whiteheads, referred to as comedones, are formed when pores are clogged up with the skin's natural oil, known as sebum, mixed with dead skin cells and bacteria. When the sebum stays beneath the skin, whiteheads result, but, when the sebum comes into contact with oxygen, it darkens and forms blackheads. By following these tips, you can properly remove blackheads without risking infection or causing further damage to your skin and pores.

Preliminary Cleaning

Before blackhead removal, you need to clean your face. First, wash it with warm water and a mild, moisturizing soap. Then, use a facial cleaner designed for acne treatment, preferably one containing benzoyl peroxide. The Skin Care Physicians website of the American Academy of Dermatology explains that this active ingredient, long used for acne treatment, both kills the bacteria that causes acne and exfoliates dead skin cells from the pores.

Opening Pores

Blackhead extraction is much easier and has less potential to irritate the skin if the clogged pores are expanded a bit. A quick rinse of the area with hot water can help, but steam is the best option. If you have a facial steamer, use that. If not, you can run a hot shower, keeping the bathroom windows and doors closed, and stand in the steam for a few minutes. Another option is to hold your face about a foot over an uncovered pot of boiling water for a few minutes.

Blackhead Removal

Never remove blackheads by squeezing or digging them out. Not only can this irritate and damage skin, but also it can force bacteria deeper down into the skin, potentially leading to infection. Instead, use one of two blackhead removal tools. One is an adhesive strip that is affixed to an area with blackheads. When peeled off, the strip removes the blackheads. Different brands of this type of remover have varying instructions, so be sure to follow package directions. The other, a metal rod with a loop at the end, is known as a comedone extractor. By gently pressing the loop down around a blackhead, you can ease it upward and out.

Comedone Extractor Hygiene

You should only use a comedone extractor if it is clean and sterile. Otherwise, it can press bacteria down into the skin, which promotes acne and infection. Similarly, the tool can pick up bacteria from pores with each use. For this reason, wipe it down after each blackhead extraction with a sterilizing agent, like rubbing alcohol.

After Blackhead Removal

Following blackhead removal, your skin will likely have bacteria from pores on it. Always use an antibacterial facial cleanser again when finished extracting blackheads. In addition, there are other products you can use on an ongoing basis to help prevent more blackheads. Cleansers containing salicylic acid are a good option. They remove dead skin cells, a major contributing factor of blackhead formation, and inhibit the clogging of pores, according to Skin Care Physicians.

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