Blackheads or comedones as they are also known are dark in colour and sometimes are slightly raised. Unlike other blemishes they are not inflamed so won’t be sore to touch. They are most commonly found on the nose, chin cheeks and forehead but can also pop up on the back, chest, neck, arms and shoulders.
What makes blackheads different to other blemishes is that they are not a result of bacteria, they are simply a build-up of sebum, the sebum is oxidised and appear black on the surface of the skin. As a result, our bodies really couldn’t care less that blackheads are on our skin because they don’t threaten us in any way. Having said that, it is absolutely possible to treat blackheads, it may just take a little longer than some other blemishes. Unfortunately, patience is important in blackhead treatment!
Step 1- Get rid of the sebum build-up
Ingredient-wise, salicylic acid is your best friend. This beta hydroxy acid can travel through oil and will unclog your pores and also deal with the problem of dead cell build up by promoting healthy skin-cell turnover. Salicylic acid can be found in a range of products such as face wash, creams, and gels.
Step 2- Clear the Pore
Regular exfoliation is necessary when treating blackheads but a big mistake we tend to make is treating the skin as though it is dirty. Blackheads may resemble tiny specks of dirt but they are not formed because your skin in unclean. So, don’t be scrubbing your face so hard with abrasive exfoliators. Scrubbing may in fact stimulate nerve endings which leads to a release of hormones that increase oil production. The introduction of a healthy skincare regime with a micro exfoliant or an alpha hydroxy acid is important when trying to remove dead skin cells, but gently does it!
I love using Glycolic acid for this job, either through a toner to be used once a day or a mask once a week.
Step 3 Tighten up that pore wall!
If you suffer from blackheads chances are that you also notice obvious open pores on other areas of the face. Although its impossible to close pores it is possible to refine them! What that means is to improve the skin texture, strengthen the pore wall and make them less obvious. The best ingredient for that is retinol, it increases cell turnover and boosts the production of collagen so pores really benefit from using a retinoid. (make sure and ask your Meaghers skincare expert before using a retinoid, not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding)
Some of my favourite retinoid products