Your skin is covered in unproblematic pores - the tiny openings of hair follicles - but when these pores get blocked, blackheads can form. These little dark spots appear most commonly on your nose, chin or between your eyebrows — although you might also spot them on your ears or even your back! They’re pretty much harmless, but often make your skin look blemished. The English Shaving Company have put together a list of 5 ways to get rid of blackheads from your face, so your skin can look smooth and blemish-free.
What Causes Blackheads
Your skin naturally secretes an oil called sebum that keeps it moisturised and protected. Throughout the day, your skin will also come into contact with a huge range of different chemicals and particles, everything from food to dust. In fact, the average person will touch their face between 2000-3000 times a day! Oil and dirt on your hands can be transferred to the skin on your face. This means that your skin comes into contact with a lot of different substances.
The skin is the biggest organ in the body; the average adult has five million pores altogether and 20,000 on their face alone. (Source) The dirt, oils and dead skin cells that your skin comes into contact with will collect in your pores. Over time, this will form either a whitehead or a blackhead.
With a whitehead, the skin encloses the pore and traps the dirt. These are the kind you can pop because the body’s immune system fights of the bacteria using white blood cells -- in other words, it becomes infected and a small amount of pus forms under the layer of skin.
Blackheads, on the other hand, work differently. They don’t hurt or become inflamed like a spot because the dirt isn’t trapped under the skin.
The colour of the blackhead isn’t caused by the dirt itself, it’s actually because the comedone (the clogged pore) causes melanin in the skin to oxidise and turn dark, forming a blackhead.
So how do you get rid of blackheads?
A Skincare Routine
The good news is that blackheads can be combated with a skincare routine that promotes healthy skin. Once the melanin has turned dark, the skin will have to renew itself before the blackhead will completely disappear. This means that prevention is the best way to get rid of blackheads. Keep your skin healthy, and as the skin repairs and rejuvenates the blackheads won’t return!
5 Ways to Remove Blackheads
One cause of blackheads is dead skin cells. Exfoliating periodically helps to remove dead skin cells so they don’t stay on your face and potentially block up your pores.
However, be wary of exfoliating too often. To avoid damaging your skin, you should aim to exfoliate twice a week at most. This should be enough to remove the dead skin cells without over scrubbing.
There are lots of different ways to exfoliate - one way is to use a soft cloth such as a cotton cloth. Moisten it with warm water, add a cleansing face wash and gently rub your skin in circular motions. Rinse your face with warm water and pat dry.
Dead skin cells aren’t the only cause of blackheads. Dirt and excess oil also clog pores. This is why people with more oily skin are often more prone to blackheads. It’s also why you tend to get more blackheads on areas such as your nose and chin where there is more oil (and the pores are often a little bigger).
Cleanse your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Be sure to use a face wash and not a soap so you don’t dry out your skin - this will cause more cells to flake off and therefore provides potential for more blackheads!
We have a lot of different products that could work. We recommend trying Muhle’s organic face wash, which is also suitable for vegans. It contains a lot of specific ingredients that are designed to cleanse while not drying out the skin.
3. Use Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is the best way to combine exfoliator and cleanser. It’s actually more effective than just using the other two methods. Salicylic acid doesn’t just loosen dirt which can then be washed away; it dissolves dirt, skin cells and excess oils from both the surface of the skin and in the pores themselves. This makes it very effective at getting rid of blackheads.
Use a cleanser that has salicylic acid (or Benzyl Salicylate) twice a day when you wash your face to dissolve the dirt and excess oils.
There are other products you could try as an alternative to a cleanser that contain salicylic acid such as an aftershave or moisturiser. We recommend Floïd Aftershave Splash or Bad Norwegian moisturiser.
Keeping your skin moisturised is essential for getting rid of and preventing blackheads. Washing your face has the potential to dry it out, which can cause more problems. After you wash your face, apply a moisturiser designed for facial skin.
If you can, it’s great to get one with SPF protection. Apply it in the morning and in the evening before you go to bed (although you won’t need the SPF for your nighttime moisturiser!).
We’ve already mentioned the Bad Norwegian moisturiser but you could also try Taylor of Old Bond Street face and body moisturiser.
5. Use Retinol
Retinoids are known by dermatologists as the best way to tighten pores and keep skin healthy, particularly as you get older. Having tighter and smaller pores makes it harder for dirt and oils to collect in them.
Choosing a skincare product that contains retinol could be a great way to improve the health of your skin and prevent blackheads. There are also products such as tretinoin available on prescription if you have a more extreme skincare problem that you can ask your GP or dermatologist about.
We recommend: Abbate Y La Mantia face cream. Use it twice a day after cleansing.