Blackheads are a unique type of a pimple. If you’re someone who has acne or skin problems, or someone with larger or open pores, chances are good you have a few of them, especially on oily areas of your skin like around your nose or chin. Luckily, we have assembled a guide to help you with blackhead removal from the comfort of your home!
You might be wondering, “what is a blackhead?” Contrary to popular belief, blackheads aren’t caused by dirt. You’ll see this dark, deep looking pimple when your pores get clogged by excess oil and dead skin cells.
Unlike whiteheads, which are enclosed in a closed pore and can sometimes swell up, become red, and have a white appearance, blackheads are found in an open pore. As a result, the oil and dirt are exposed to the air, and it oxidizes, making it turn black over time.
Since dirt doesn’t cause them, blackhead removal isn’t as simple as scrubbing your skin and hoping they go away. To get to the root of what causes blackheads, you’ll need to use a specific blackhead treatment that targets the substances in your pores and then shrinks them down to prevent future breakouts.
The good news is, you won’t need to visit a dermatologist for an expensive blackhead treatment. You can try one of these inexpensive home remedies for blackheads that use proven techniques to revitalize your pores and make your skin look healthy and radiant.
We’ve included a few natural blackhead remover masks and therapies, as well as products that you can purchase over the counter and use at home for great results.
One method that traditional practitioners swear is the best way to get rid of blackheads is by creating a homemade blackhead mask from bentonite clay. This mineral-rich substance is made from the volcano ash and has healing properties that Aztec, Australian, and central African cultures have used for centuries.
It works by creating a gentle electrical charge when combined with water and can draw out impurities from your pores while simultaneously feeding your skin minerals and increasing circulation making it look healthy and vibrant.
You can purchase the clay online or at a health food store for less than $10.
To make a blackhead removal mask, combine about one tablespoon of bentonite clay with water to form a paste that is thick, but still able to be spread. Apply the mixture to your skin in a thin layer, and let it sit for between 10 and 25 minutes. You don’t need to let it dry completely to get the benefits. Rinse the mask thoroughly, and then moisturize as usual.
Egg White Mask
Another easy homemade blackhead remover technique is to make an egg white mask. The see-thru, runny part of the egg is great for getting rid of blackheads and also tightening your pores to prevent future breakouts. Some people love this technique because the nutrient-rich egg whites are less drying than some other methods, but it requires a bit of patience to do it right.
To make your mask, first, separate the egg yolk from the egg white in a small bowl. Gently whisk the egg white with a fork to ensure it’s blended and will be easy to spread. Rinse your face and pat it completely dry.
Next, apply a thin layer of egg white to your skin. You can use a makeup brush or a thick paint brush to smooth it over the surface. Now, let that layer dry completely. Once dry, apply a second coat. Allow that layer to dry and repeat the process for a total of three to five layers of egg white.
Your skin will feel tight as the mask dries, that’s normal.
Once the last layer is completely dry, rinse the mask off and gently wash your face to remove all the residue. Moisturize as usual.
Honey and Milk Pore Strips
One popular method of how to get rid of blackheads naturally is to use a combination of honey and milk to make pore strips at home. Milk contains lactic acid that helps to eliminate the dead skin cells and excess oil in your pores and will make your skin supple and soft. Honey has natural antibacterial properties, and together the ingredients form an adhesive mask that will help to loosen and remove the gunk from your pores.
To make this DIY blackhead remover, combine a teaspoon of milk with a teaspoon of organic raw honey from your health food store or local farmers market. Heat the mixture in the microwave for around 10 seconds, until the honey softens and you can mix the liquid thoroughly.
Wait until the mixture cools to a temperature that won’t burn your skin (it’s okay if it’s still warm), and apply a layer to your problem areas. Immediately, firmly press a strip of cotton over the layer allowing it to stick to your skin. Let the mask dry completely for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, carefully peel away the strip and rinse the area. Moisturize as usual.
Cinnamon and Honey Strips
We already know that honey is a powerful ingredient that helps with removing blackheads. When you combine its antibacterial properties with cinnamon, which can improve the circulation to your skin surface and give you a radiant glow, you end up with one of the most delicious home remedies to get rid of blackheads.
To make this paste, you’ll use one part of raw organic honey and one part cinnamon. We recommend starting with about a teaspoon of each, depending on how large of an area you need to cover. Mix them together well.
Then, apply a thin layer of the paste to your skin, and press a clean cotton strip over the top. Let it sit for anywhere between three to ten minutes. Gently peel off the strip, and rinse your face with warm water to remove any of the sticky excess. Finally, moisturize the area.
Toner for Tighter Pores
Don't forget, when we asked the question “what are blackheads,” we learned that they are the result of oil getting clogged up in an open pore. It stands to reason that you won’t need to worry about how to remove blackheads if you use a toner to shrink your pores and keep them free of the bacteria that can cause pimples.
You can buy an over the counter toner treatment, or you can make an inexpensive all-natural toner at home from lemon juice. The liquid is an organic astringent, but it has been known to lighten your skin tone and might make you more sensitive to sun exposure. If you use this method, be sure to load up on sunscreen if you plan to be outdoors after your treatments.
To begin, squeeze a lemon and store the juice in a small container or squeeze bottle. Apply a little to a cotton ball, and wipe it over the areas on your skin you want to target in the evening before bed. Let the lemon juice sit overnight, and when you wake up rinse with lukewarm water and moisturize like you normally would.
You can do this three to four times per week, but be prepared; sometimes the treatment might pinch or sting a bit.
If you choose instead to try a toner product from the store, there are several different products you can turn to. One of the best products you can use is witch hazel. Although it does dry out your skin a bit, witch hazel is incredibly beneficial for closing up your pores.
The best time to apply a toner to your skin is right before bed. When you wake up, your face will be nice and smooth and your pores will be incredibly diminished.
Daily Blackhead Treatment with Water
While these treatments and masks are useful, you won’t want to use them every day or else you’ll risk drying out your skin and potentially creating more issues as your body will produce more oil to fix the problem. The hands down best way to remove blackheads is to incorporate a daily blackhead treatment with water into your regime. This is especially effective if you have trouble areas and are wondering how to get rid of blackheads on nose, chin, or forehead.
The water treatment is very simple. Twice daily, rinse your face with cold, fresh water. This will remove any oil or skin cells that have built up throughout the day, and the cold water will instantly shrink your pores. Afterward, pat your skin dry and apply a light moisturizer. It’s important to moisturize to keep your skin hydrated and not trigger more oil production.
Sweat It Out
Anyone questioning how do you get rid of blackheads without applying something to your skin might like the sweat it out method. The idea behind this is very simple. If you work up a good sweat, one that would have the liquid coming out of your glands and dripping down your face, it will soften up and flush out anything closing your pores.
However, there’s a catch. For this method to be effective, your skin must be clean before you start, and washed immediately once you’re done to prevent causing more acne. If you leave your makeup on before you start, you open your pores up to absorb the material. If you don’t rinse off your skin as soon as you are finished, you may end up with dried sweat blocking your pores.
Begin by thoroughly washing your face, taking care to remove any makeup residue. Then, get sweaty. You can either sit in a steam room or sauna or work up a good sweat at the gym. If you go the exercise route, you’ll get tons of added benefits, including improved circulation that can give you a healthy flush and increase your skin elasticity.
Then, immediately following your sweat session, rinse your face with cold water and pat completely dry. As per usual, moisturize your skin to lock in the benefits.
There are several ways to try and sweat it out. One of the best ways is by doing exercise. By doing daily exercise, you encourage your body to sweat out all the toxins.
In addition to exercise, one of the best ways to sweat is by relaxing in a sauna. When you are in a sauna, the heat and humidity will encourage all the toxins to leave as well.
Baking Soda and Water
Baking soda is a super salty substance with a high pH that can mix into an easy DIY blackhead removal mask. The super fine granules are great for exfoliating your skin and will remove dead cells and help to unclog pores, stopping blackheads before they start. While this homemade face mask for blackheads is very useful, it can also be extremely drying, so plan to only use it once a week at most.
To get the benefits, combine one part baking soda with enough water to turn it into a paste that is thin enough to spread around. Start with a teaspoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of water and adjust as needed from there.
Next, use your fingertips to massage the paste in a smooth circular motion on your skin. When you’re finished, rinse completely with cool water and pat dry. Apply moisturizer to the area.
Cleansing Sugar Scrub
You may have noticed a common theme with a lot of our homemade blackhead removal techniques; many of them involve sloughing off dead skin cells to keep pores clear and clean from the debris that causes the problem. A good exfoliator can also boost circulation, giving you smooth skin with a healthy glow.
You can make an affordable homemade sugar scrub that you can use two to three times a week. It is gentle on your skin and will help to eliminate the blackhead threat.
To make the exfoliator, mix one cup of either brown or white sugar with four tablespoons of oil. We like Jojoba best, as it mimics the properties of the oil our skin naturally produces, but you could use grapeseed, almond, or olive oil if you prefer. Optionally, you can add a few drops of essential oil to give the scrub a pleasant fragrance.
To use, scoop a generous bit of the scrub onto your fingertips and massage over your skin using a gentle circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and top it off with your daily moisturizer.
You won’t use this whole batch in one use. You can place the mixture in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place to store it and use it up over the course of a month or two.
One common skin misconception is that steam opens up your pores. While that ‘s not really how it works, using steam as a blackhead removal technique can reduce the appearance of your pores by helping to soften up the trapped oil and dead skin cells that make them appear larger and lead to blackheads.
To give yourself a steam bath, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it into a large bowl. Set the bowl in front of you and sit in a comfortable position. Place a large bath towel over around your head, and lean forward over the bowl creating a tent to trap the rising steam on your face. Sit in the steam bath for five to ten minutes, being careful not to get too close to the hot liquid.
Once complete, rinse your skin well and pat dry. Apply your moisturizer to your cleaned pores.
Of course, you can also use this method in the shower or in the bath as well. If you want a hot shower or a hot bath, the steam can become trapped in your bathroom and it will encourage your pores to soften up as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Mint Toner
Apple cider vinegar has loads of health benefits, and it’s a substance that can also remove blackheads by breaking down the material clogging your pores. Mint serves a dual purpose in this toner. The menthol will both calm and tighten your pores as well as soothe any inflammation around the affected area which could make it difficult to draw out the blackhead debris. You’ll need to get your hands on some fresh mint leaves from your local grocery store or farmers market to make this DIY blackhead removal remedy.
Combine three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of chopped fresh mint leaves. Add in about eight ounces of water and stir well. Pour the entire mixture into an airtight bottle and store it in a cool, dark place for one week to activate the formula.
After one week, strain off the mint leaves and add an additional cup of water. You can store the finished toner in the refrigerator for up to a week and use it daily. Use a cotton ball to wipe the mixture on your skin at night and rinse completely in the morning. Follow up with your daily moisturizer.
Facial Cleansing Brush
There are dozens of facial cleansing brushes on the market, and for a good reason. They are one of the most popular accessories that dermatologist recommend to help with how to remove blackheads at home.
The mechanical skin brush helps you to get a deep cleaning and an enhanced exfoliation and can be used every day. In addition, they assist the active ingredients in your cleanser or toner to penetrate your skin more deeply giving you a bigger bang for your buck with the active ingredients.
You can purchase an inexpensive model for less than fifty dollars, or you could spend a few hundred if you want all the bells and whistles that come with some of the high-end models.
As with every other method, be sure to apply your daily moisturizer after giving your skin a deep, exfoliating clean with your cleansing brush.
If you love the idea of an at-home steam bath for your skin, but don’t want the hassle of boiling the water and sitting under a homemade towel tent, a facial steamer might be a great option for you.
You can buy an entry-level model for around $25, and they are specifically designed to promote blackhead removal by targeting your trouble areas with perfectly regulated steam.
Start with clean skin that you’ve washed and removed any makeup. Turn on your facial steamer and add water, and if desired, a few drops of essential oil. Position your face over the steam, and optionally use a towel to trap in the heat.
Because there are different types of exfoliating brushes on the market, you do want to make sure that you are using the best brush for your skin type. For dry and rough skin, you may want to use a brush that vibrates to help encourage the removal of dirt trapped in your pores.
For people with more sensitive skin, you may want to use a manual brush that allows you to apply pressure as needed.
Steam for five to ten minutes, turn off your device, and then rinse your skin and apply moisturizer.
Chemical exfoliations, also known as chemical peels, use ingredients designed to remove the very top layers of the skin leaving behind a new, radiant, healthy layer. These may sound a bit scary, but they are totally safe and widely used by dermatologists as blackhead removal technique as well as a way to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and acne scars.
You can do an at-home chemical exfoliation by buying a mask, scrub, or serum with glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid as an active ingredient.
Each of these products will have different instructions for use, so be sure to read over the directions carefully and follow them as prescribed for best results.
When it comes to preventing blackheads, taking steps to keep your skin healthy and moisturized is key. There are hundreds of moisturizing options available, but jojoba oil is one of the best.
While it’s called an oil, it’s actually an ester, or a very smooth, thin wax that’s derived from the nut of the jojoba tree. Its properties are nearly identical to the natural oils that our skin produces, so it can provide high-quality moisture in areas where you need it most to clear up blackheads.
You’ll want to find an oil that is as close to pure as possible. This will reduce any of the additives that could irritate your skin.
You can use it in a variety of ways. Jojoba oil can be a great base for a sugar scrub (see above) or can be utilized as a stand-alone moisturizer.
Start with clean, dry skin. It’s important to remove any makeup and to wash and exfoliate before applying the oil to get the best benefits. Then, put two or three drops on your fingertips and massage the oil into your skin in a circular motion. Allow it to absorb and do not rinse. This will serve as your moisturizer for the day, so you won’t need to apply anything additional on top.
Mint Julep Mask
Mint has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, and this pre-mixed mask by Queen Helene is a perfect blackhead removal mask DIY treatment. At under $5 for a tube, it's a cost-effective blackhead remover that smells great and has active ingredients proven to fight acne and improve skin tone and appearance.
To use, you’ll start with clean, dry skin and apply the mask in a thin layer with your fingertips or a brush taking care to keep it out of your eyes. After five to ten minutes, the mask will dry and begin to harden. Rinse it completely, and use a clean towel to pat your skin dry. Follow up by applying your daily moisturizer.
The most effective over the counter blackhead removal products contain salicylic acid. This key ingredient stimulates skin cell turnover, helping to unclog your pores and reveal new, healthy skin. It also works to break down dead skin cells in your pores, releasing the debris that causes the appearance of blackheads.
You’ll want to look for a product that has a concentration between .5 and 2%. This isn’t a case where stronger is better, so don't automatically look for the more potent product. Also, beware that some people can experience dryness or irritation with excessive use. Start with a lower dose to test your skin's response, and keep in mind it will take a week or two to see the full effects.
Salicylic acid can be found in face wash, exfoliators, masks, and toners. Select whichever product or products fit in well with your skin care regime. Be sure to follow the instructions closely as they may vary. And as always, use a moisturizer following your cleansing and toning regime.
Take Off Your Makeup
Clean skin is clear skin, and one of the most common culprits that cause blackhead breakouts is makeup that is left on overnight. If you don’t take the time to remove your cosmetics, not only are you exposing your skin and pores to the pigments in your formula, but you’re also allowing any dirt, dead skin, sweat, and other impurities to sit on your face overnight and absorb into your pores.
Removing your makeup doesn’t have to be a chore. While it’s beneficial to use a cleanser, an exfoliator, or a cleansing brush, you can also invest in some inexpensive and disposable makeup remover wipes to make the job simple. While dermatologists would prefer that you wash and moisturize your face at the end of each day, they unanimously agree that something is better than nothing. A wipe that costs around five cents a piece is a great solution if you’re too tired, busy, or feeling a bit lazy at the end of a hard day.
If you take a shower at the end of the day, then wiping off your face and cleaning it while you are in the shower is an ideal time to get rid of your makeup. Regardless, you need to make it a point to take off your makeup at some point during the day.
Removing your makeup is not the only way you can help remove some of the dirt stuck in your pores. One of the best methods is to prevent them in the first place.
One of the best ways you can help prevent blackheads from appearing in the first place is by routinely washing your makeup brushes. Because product and bacteria can get stuck on your makeup brushes, you can easily transfer that bacteria on to your face. To avoid this, make it a habit to clean your makeup brushes at least twice a week.
Moisturize More Often
If it’s oil that clogs pores and can lead to blackheads, it might seem counterintuitive that moisturizing will help the problem (see blackhead myths below for more info). However, using a daily moisturizer is one of the most important steps to help get rid of blackheads.
If you skip out on hydrating your skin, it could end up dry, cracked, or chapped. This will trigger a reaction where your body produces more oil than normal to try to make up for the dryness. As a result, you could end up with skin that is more oily than normal. The excess oil can sit in your pores and get trapped, where we now know it can cause breakouts and blackheads.
By applying a moisturizer every time you cleanse your skin, including after steam baths and water treatments, you’ll keep your skin balanced and prevent an overproduction of oil.
Retinol products are derived from Vitamin A and only recently have become available over the counter. They are a favorite of dermatologists for their anti-aging benefits, but they are also major blackhead busters. The active ingredient prompts your skin cells on the surface to turn over quickly, shedding the dead layer and growing new, youthful looking cells. As a result, your pores are healthier and less likely to get clogged.
As a bonus, your skin will be tighter, firmer, and look younger with use over time.
You can visit your dermatologist for a prescription grade formula that you can use at home, or you can purchase an over the counter version at your local drugstore. The prescription version will be stronger, but also more expensive.
If you have sensitive skin, you might get irritation from retinol-based blackhead treatments, so start slowly to see how you respond. Also, keep in mind, this isn’t an instant cure. It’s a treatment meant to be used over time to eliminate your blackhead problems.
Major Blackhead Myths
There are two big myths when it comes to blackheads. The first is that blackheads are just dirt that gets stuck in your pores. While they might look like they are made up of dirt and grime, they are oxidized oil and dead skin cells that got trapped in an open pore.
By being exposed to oxygen over time, the material turns black and looks like a blackhead. Because they aren’t just dirt, excessively scrubbing your skin won’t do anything to get rid of blackheads. In fact, you might cause more harm than good by stripping your skin of the oil it needs to stay healthy and acne-free.
The second big myth that makes dermatologist and skin experts worldwide squirm every time they hear it is that the only way to get rid of blackheads is to squeeze them out.
While there are some extreme situations where a minimal surgical extraction by a medical professional may be required, for the average blackheads you get on your cheeks and nose this isn’t the best answer.
In fact, squeezing your blackheads can drive the grime deeper into your pores and cause infections and scarring. Stay away from squeezing and try at home remedies instead.
Lots of people attribute diet and lifestyle to having poor skin. While what you eat and how much sleep you get may play a factor, the bottom line is that to have great skin; you need a great skincare regime.
Regular cleansing, exfoliation, toning, and masks will keep you skin clear of acne, blackheads, and signs of aging. Developing a daily routine and sticking with it is the most important step to looking great all the time.