I think we all know what blackheads are but in case you don’t, they occur most commonly with oily, congested and acne prone skin types. They are caused by excess oil production whereby the oil gets trapped in the pores and they are black because of oxidation. Oxidation occurs when something is exposed to oxygen in the air, like the way an apple turns brown when it’s left on the counter top. Oxidation occurs on our skin speeding up the aging process, which is why it’s so important to eat food and use products full of anti-oxidants…anti-oxidants fight the oxidation process!
Blackheads are an absolute pain, and the question “How to get rid of blackheads?” is definitely up there as one of the most frequently asked questions I get from my Snapchat followers and my facial clients in work. So I thought I would share with you my Top 5 Tips for helping to fight blackheads. This advice will also help anyone suffering with acne, congestion and other oily skin concerns. Hope it helps!
1. Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse
I can’t stress the importance of cleansing properly. One cleanse is never enough, especially if you’ve had make up on, so always DOUBLE CLEANSE. When you think you’ve cleansed thoroughly, wipe down the centre of your face with a damp cotton disc, if it’s not white or is showing some signs of remaining makeup, it means you haven’t cleansed properly, so cleanse again.
If you don’t do this step right the rest of your skincare steps won’t be as effective.
Nip & Fab Glycolic Cleanser – Boots.ie € 10.99
Fantastic cleanser for people who are looking to prevent and fight blackheads. It contains glycolic acid, which is an AHA(alpha hydroxy acid), and it’s this ingredient that makes it super effective. When we think of acid, we automatically think “burn” but there’s no need to fear AHA’s, they increase desquamation(shedding of dead skin cells), helping to loosen clogged pores and blackheads. Your skin will feel softer, smoother and it will also have an anti-aging effect by helping reduce fine lines.
This cleanser deeply cleanses AS WELL as exfoliates. Its suited to oily, congested skin types and I would not recommend it for people who have sensitive skin. It’s a foaming cleanser and I find it handy to always have a bottle in my shower. It’s also fantastic for those little red bumps people often get on the backs of their arms, called Keratosis Pilaris. As a facial cleanser, I would recommend using it 2-3 times a week and not every day. You can purchase here from Boots Online => boots.ie/nip&fabglycoliccleanser
2. Facial Steam
Fill a basin/sink of hot water and add 2-3 drops of Ultra Pure Laboratories Tea Tree Essential oil. Lean over the basin and cover your head with a towel for about 15 minutes. Tea Tree Oil is one of those products I think every household in the world should have. You don’t have to add tea tree, it is optional, but it will have an anti-bacterial and healing effect on the skin helping to brighten complexion as well as clearing your respiratory system. Steaming AFTER you cleanse and BEFORE your mask helps to open the pores, soften the skin and help blackheads “lift” a lot easier. It will also help your mask penetrate deeper into the pores. I like to do this once a week, it can benefit all skin types not just oily.
3. Make time for Masks
So now you have cleansed, exfoliated and steamed the next step is mask. There’s a gazilllllion masks on the market that can be used for a gazilllllion different reasons. It’s a step in skincare you really shouldn’t leave out. Some masks you leave on for 10 minutes, some for 30 so always read the instructions. The majority of masks need to be removed and the best way is with a warm wet cloth. Please don’t use a hot cloth because extreme heat can cause damage to the skin in the form of broken capillaries, usually across the cheeks.
Masks are like food for you skin, feeding it nourishment, often packed with anti-oxidants that replenish the cells after cleansing and exfoliating.
Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Mask Glamazon.ie €46.99
This mask is perfect for oily skin and the issues that go along with it. It’s main ingredient is charcoal and this helps absorb impurities and any excess oil. When used long term it can help reduce shine too. It’s excellent for anyone who suffers with blackheads, pimples, breakouts and congestion because it gets right down into the pores and clears them out. The complexion can be quite dull when you have oily skin and this mask works really well at brightening and adding radiance.
You leave on for 10 minutes and instantly your skin appears fresher and clearer. Removing the mask with a warm cloth will also have an exfoliating effect, helping to “lift” the blackheads. I recommend using it at least once a week. You can purchase directly from here => glamazon.ie/charcoalrescuemasque Glamazon is an Irish online company that sells some fantastic brands including some of my favourites; Dermalogica, Image and Pestle and Mortar. Check out their full website here => glamazon.ie You will find them on Facebook here => Glamazon
4. Wonderful Witch Hazel
For centuries witch hazel has been used to treat oily, congested, acne prone skin conditions. It is a natural astringent(causes the tightening of skin cells) that helps remove excess oil from the skin.
Ultra Pure Laboraties Witch Hazel Approx €8/10
It is used to treat blackheads, blemishes, hormonal breakouts because it’s one of the best remedies out there for acne. I would recommend this product to be used only on the areas of blackheads/breakouts/spots/acne and not all over the face, because you don’t want to dry out the skin by using it on areas unnecessarily. Soak a cotton disc with the witch hazel tea and apply to the skin before your moisturiser. Ultra Pure Skincare is simplicity at it’s finest…find them on Facebook here => Ultra Pure Laboratories Available from Castle Pharmacy or Google Search your nearest stockists. You will find Castle Pharmacy on Facebook here => Castle Pharmacy, Waterford
- Anti-bacterial – lessens the growth of bacteria on the skin helping to lessen the occurrences of breakouts.
- Healing – speeds up the healing process of scars, scabs, and infection that often comes with acne.
- Astringent – helps reduce large pores, prevent blackheads.
- Anti-inflammatory – reduces the redness that accompanies spots/breakouts.
- The second you feel a spot coming up apply witch hazel and it will stop the spot in its tracks. The same can be said for tea tree oil.
5. Totally Tea Tree
One of the best all rounder essential oils is tea tree…I adore it! Having studied Aromatherapy in college, I am a big lover of essential oils and what they can do. I’ll do a blog post on the best ways to use them and some of my must have essential oils soon if you’d like. Let me know!
Ultra Pure Laboratories Tea Tree Essential Oil
In my opinion, the most effective way to use tea tree against blackheads and spots is to soak a cotton bud with 1 or 2 drops of the essential oil and then apply it to the spot/blackheads AFTER you apply the Witch Hazel and BEFORE your moisturiser. If you have a lot of spots either due to a big breakout or you have acne, don’t use this method because it would be too much of the essential on on your skin. Instead, look out for exfoliators, masks, and moisturisers that have tea tree as one of their main ingredients or you can mix a drop of it into your moisturiser.
Like with all essential oils, make sure you’re not allergic to it by doing a small patch test on your inner wrist/behind ear.
Apply a drop and after 24 hours if there’s no reaction you’re good to go! The Ultra Pure Laboratories Tea Tree Oil Essential Oil is available from Castle Pharmacy Waterford, or google search your nearest stockists.
- dries out blackheads, pimples and spots and speeds up their healing process, helping you get rid of them faster.
- contains anti-bacterial compounds know to reduce inflammation and swelling of the skin, often seen with acne.
- helps unblock sebaceous glands.
- disinfects the pores
- helps lighten acne scars and helps restores the skin natural oil balance
Squeezing blackheads can cause scarring and I don’t recommend it AT ALL. But if you are going to do it anyway, wrap the two fingers you’ll be using in tissue and press down hard on either side of the blackhead, wiggling your fingers slightly up and down. This will push it from the lower layers up. Steaming before hand will help soften them. Please, please, please never use your nails to squeeze spots, pimples or blackheads. It causes unnecessary trauma to the skin and damages its delicate structure, which in turn often causes spots to reoccur in the same area because of scarring caused below the surface.
Order of Skincare Products & Techniques I Discussed in this Post
- Nip and Fab Glycolic Cleanser – functions as both your cleanser and exfoliator
- Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque
- Ultra Pure Witch Hazel – functions as your toner
- Ultra Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil
I didn’t discuss eye creams and moisturisers in this post but you would apply them last, so after the tea tree oil
Usual Order of Skincare Routine
- Double Cleanse – twice daily, am and pm
- Exfoliate – At least once a week but you could do 2-3 times a week
- Mask – At least once a week
- Tone(I don’t personally tone my face because I have dry, dehydrated skin and find it dries it out. However, if I had a breakout I’d use the Ultra Pure Witch Hazel Lotion on the area of breakout ONLY)
- Eye Cream – depends on what type. Eye Creams containing retinol are only to be used at night. Majority of eye creams can be used twice daily, am and pm.
- Moisturiser – twice daily, am and pm
So there you have it, my best advice for treating and preventing blackheads. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe picked up something new. What are your top tips for blackheads and your favourite products to use??? Let me know through any of the ways below.
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(NOTE – This is not a sponsored or paid post. I am in no way affiliated with any of the links I mentioned. I bought everything myself except the Dermalogica Mask, which I received in a goody bag at an event. I have never been paid for a blog post and if the time came that I ever did, I would disclose by using the hashtag #ad #spon
Important to remember that just because something is sponsored or the blogger got paid, it doesn’t mean it’s all lies or that you can’t trust the review. Any good blogger knows not to ruin the trust they have built up with their readers by recommending something that’s rubbish. Most bloggers wouldn’t want to put their name to a mediocre product, well, I certainly wouldn’t anyway)