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What Are the Treatments for a Blackhead?

What Are the Treatments for a Blackhead? What Are the Treatments for a Blackhead?

Blackheads are a common, harmless development on the skin. They occur when oil excreted through the pores forms a blockage in the pores. This oil oxidizes when exposed to the air, turning a black color, which leads to the name of the blemish. While there are no risks associated with blackheads, many people view them as evidence of poor hygiene and choose to have them removed from their skin. There are several ways to do this, although some are more effective than others.

Blackhead Strips

Blackhead strips are one of the most common and accessible remedies for blackheads. The strip is applied to the skin when wet and given time to adhere to the skin and blackheads. After 10 or 15 minutes, the blackhead strip is pulled off the skin, ideally taking a large segment of blackheads with it. Although this can produce immediate visible results, the efficacy of blackhead strips isn't what it seems--many times, only the top of the blackhead is removed. The black part of the oil blockage in your pore is only the portion of the oil that has had time to oxidize, but oftentimes the complete blockage is not removed. This provides a temporary treatment of your blackheads, but unless the entire blockage is eliminated, the blackhead will return.

Steam and Squeeze

Squeezing blackheads out of the skin can be a tricky endeavor, because you can end up causing more damage than good to your skin, and you may create bruising that is much more visible than the blackheads themselves. However, there are effective ways to do this, starting with a warm compress. Soak a washcloth in warm water and apply to the skin, letting it sit for five to 10 minutes. This opens up the pores on your skin, making it easier for blackheads to be removed. Remove the compress and gently squeeze your skin with the pads of your fingers--not the fingernails--to try and force the blackheads out of your skin. Only try this once or twice--excessive or hard squeezing may damage the skin.


Retinoids are a common medicinal treatment of blackheads. They work by reducing oil secretion through the pores, unclogging existing pores and preventing the development of new blackheads. Many of these can be obtained over-the-counter. However, retinoids often take several weeks before notable improvement is evident, making them impractical for individuals looking for a quick fix.


For blackheads that can't be removed through other methods, microdermabrasion can be an effective treatment. This is done by a dermatologist or other medical professional and basically works by using exfoliants to wear away the blackhead from the pore.

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