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Blackheads are common among people who seek acne treatment. They appear as tiny dots across your skin and can occur in large numbers. At the same time, your skin may feel rough, bumpy, and scratchy. The bump caused by a blackhead is called a comedo.

What Are Blackheads?

A blackhead is a plug consisting of sebum (or skin oil), dead skin cells, and bacteria in a hair follicle. When air gets in, this intrusive mixture turns black. It’s important to take care of blackheads because clogged pores can reduce skin elasticity over time. If a pore gets stretched enough, it won’t close even if the plug is removed.

Where Do Blackheads Usually Form?

Although blackheads form in hair follicles, they occur more often on the sides of the nose, towards the cheeks. You may also see them on your chin and forehead. In more extreme cases, they can appear over the entire face.

How Do I Get Rid of Blackheads?

Blackheads are not permanent. You can get rid of them and reduce the risk of lasting effects. To prevent or reduce blackheads:

Wash Your Face

At least twice a day, wash your face with water and soap, or a cleanser. It prevents dirt and oil from accumulating on your skin and in pores. The best times to wash are in the morning, when bacteria from your pillowcase may have gotten onto your skin, and at night, to remove dirt and/or makeup that might have coated your skin.

Exfoliate

Exfoliating two or three times weekly removes dead skin cells. You can exfoliate using a washcloth. You can also use mild enzyme cleansers and powder exfoliants, or ones that can be scrubbed in or left on. A chemical exfoliation, such as a glycolic peel, is a more advanced option. Exfoliants tend to dry the skin. Moisturize afterwards to prevent excess oil from forming to overcompensate for the dryness.

Moisturize

Your skin may not feel dry, but the oils there may be contributing to your blackheads. A moisturizer can help balance your skin’s moisture levels and regulate sebum production. It can therefore prevent excess oil from building up in pores and causing blackheads.

Apply a Clay Mask

A clay mask can clear your pores. It often requires just 15 minutes of your time, and then a quick rinse. You can also keep the clay on a localized spot overnight. The mask protects your skin and pores from the dirt and germs around you while you’re sleeping. A mask with moisturizing ingredients is best.

Avoid Irritating Ingredients

If you are prone to blackheads, don’t use make-up, hair products, or sunscreens that can clog your pores, especially those with dimethicone. This silicone is often included in foundations and lotions. It can clog pores and exacerbate blackheads and acne. Instead, use a lightweight, hydrating cleansing oil.

Use Retinoids or Other Prescription Treatments

Retinoid products spur the growth of new skin cells, tightening pores and fighting blackheads. These can produce favorable results over three to six months.

If you’re still wondering what to do about blackheads, Laser & Dermatology Institute of California provides a range of treatment options suited for your needs, including RF and laser skin rejuvenation. Find a dermatologist near you by contacting one of our three office locations—LDI of Los Angeles, LDI of Covina, or LDI of Newport Beach. Offering the best acne treatment services in Southern California, we can determine how to treat your blackheads and prevent them from recurring. Schedule your free consultation today!