Let’s face it, whether you can admit it or not, blackheads are irresistible. When you spot one, you most likely drop everything and press up your nose to the nearest mirror to deal with it. But are you doing more harm than good just for that 5 seconds of strange, guilty pleasure?? 

Blackheads happen when excess oil is expelled by your skin and along with dead skin cells, creates a blockage in your pores. When that stuck oil is exposed to air it oxidizes and turns black. This results in a little black spot on a tube of hardened oil in your pore. To safely get rid of a blackhead, you have to remove the entire contents of the blocked pore, not just the superficial black part. 

We’re not going to pretend that everyone will come in to a medispa to get their blackheads extracted by a professional every time, so here’s some advice on how to lessen the damage when taking care of them at home. 

Save Your Cash 

First off, save your money on the crazy at-home gimmicks like the tools, vacuums, masks, peels, etc. We know they look so satisfying in your Facebook feed videos, but don’t never about all the videos of women screeching in pain trying to peel off those blackhead charcoal masks! 

The best way to remove blackheads involves very little money. All you need are clean fingers, Kleenex, a scrub and a hot towel. 

1st Step – Cleanse and scrub! 

The first step is to cleanse your skin thoroughly, to get rid of all traces of oil, dirt and makeup. Then scrub skin gently with either a exfoliating product or with a slightly abrasive sponge.  This part is necessary to remove layer of dead skin cells, which will make extracting those blackheads much easier. It can also do a lot help to prevent future breakouts and blackheads, if done regularly. 

2nd Step – Steam or Hot Towel (The relaxing part…) 

If you have a facial steamer at home, use this for 5-10 minutes to further soften the skin and make extracting easier. If you don’t have one, no worries! Just take a small hand towel, wet it with hot water, or put the (wet!) towel in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Lie back, relax and keep the towel on your face for 5 – 10 minutes. 

3rd Step – Extractions! 

Wrap both of your fingers with a tissue to keep bacteria from your hands from spreading to your face. Put one finger on each side of the blackhead and gently push down, taking care NOT to use fingernails, which will break and damage skin. If the blackhead doesn’t come out easily, DON’T squeeze harder! If you push too hard, you will force the bacteria and oil further into the skin, making things MUCH worse! 

Instead, try scrubbing the area a bit more and applying another hot compress again.  Make sure to do the squeezing immediately after removing the hot towel. If you can’t remove the blackheads on your second try, they will need a visit to an experienced esthetician.  

Lastly apply a toner to clean up any remaining bacteria and oil, then apply your favorite night serum or cream.  

4th Step – Prevention! 

Prevent those blemishes and blackheads from coming back with a regular routine of good quality skin care products. A good cleanse twice per day, toner and a product with acids or enzymes (to help exfoliate dead skin cells) will go a long way to keeping your skin clear and smooth!