Blackheads are small bumps on your skin due to clogged pores. We call these bumps blackheads because their surface looks dark or black but they can develop in a range of colours like grey, yellow, brown and black. The scientific name for blackheads is comedones and essentially they are a type of clogged pores. They normally occur on the face, but they can also be found on other body parts for example:

  • back
  • chest
  • neck
  • arms
  • shoulders
Close up of a blackhead
Close up of a blackhead

What causes blackheads?

Everyone at one point in their life suffers from some sort of acne. Blackheads are considered the mildest form of acne but they can also occur in moderate and severe cases of acne. No one wants them but if we want to get rid of them we first need to understand how they work:

  • hair grows from hair follicles in the pores and the oil-producing sebaceous glands lie underneath
  • the gland produces excess oil
  • the oil then mixes with dead cells and debris in the pore
  • the mix of oil and debris moves through the pore to the skin’s surface
  • once the mix is exposed to oxygen it oxidizes, turning black

A common belief is that blackheads occur when the skin is dirty. This is completely false. The development of blackheads is not related by the cleanliness of your skin.

Diagram that shows what a close comedone looks like and an open comedone
Diagram that shows what a close comedone looks like and an open comedone

Stress

Even though it hasn’t been proven, dermatologists and researchers have seen a high correlation between high stress and acne breakouts. Stress doesn’t cause blackheads but it does look like it can make them worse. When our bodies are in a state of high stress they will release more androgens, a group of hormones that play a role in male and female traits and reproductive activity, the body will respond by producing more oil leading to blackheads forming.

Stress can cause acne
Stress can cause acne

Diet

Like stress, diet hasn’t actually proven to improve or worsen your skin. Some people believe that dairy products, coffee and chocolate can trigger acne but dermatologists are not convinced. Some people perform what we call an acne fighting diet to prevent blackheads. We suggest having a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables but the following foods can make a positive difference for your skin:

  • probiotics
  • omega 3 fatty acids
  • green tea
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help with acne
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help with acne

There are a lot of other factors that can cause blackheads including but not limited to:

  • sweating
  • puberty
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • menstruation

How to get rid of blackheads

Blackhead Charcoal masks

These masks have become really popular recently. A blackhead charcoal mask is the best blackhead treatment out there. The charcoal will remove all the excess oil, toxins and impurities while the mask will stick to your skin. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all the oil and impurities on the back of the mask after it’s removal. We suggest using a facial steamer¬†before the peel off mask. By steaming your face first, the steamer will open and soften your pores making the peel off mask less painful and more effective.

According to some dermatologists, the blackhead peel off mask may actually remove an entire thin layer of your skin giving you a whole new start. This is why we suggest to only apply the mask on your most oily areas or the T zone: forehead, nose and chin. You also want to avoid your eyebrows or any facial hair for males as they will also get pulled off!

Facial steamers

We all have been going to sauna rooms or saunas for a long time and the technology has made huge advancements. Until not long ago, you had to fill a basin of water near the boiling point and hold a towel over your head but now we can reap the benefits of a steamer in our own home at a very affordable price.

Facial steaming has many benefits:

  • hydrating your skin
  • softening your skin
  • opening pores to eliminate blackheads
  • cleansing your skin
  • relaxation

Using a facial steamer is really easy:

  • cleanse your face: This will ensure that your skin is clean from any makeup residue and any other products so when the steam penetrates your pores it will do so hygienically.
  • fill the water tank with distilled water
  • some steamers come with an aromatherapy diffuser, if yours has one, use a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil
  • Turn on the steamer and steam your face for around 8-12 minutes
  • For dry skin you can keep it on for a bit longer

We suggest using a blackhead charcoal mask after your steaming session is over. After the use of a facial steamer your skin will be receptive to topical products and the results will be enhanced. Before using a mask we suggest to gently dry your face with a clean towel and then apply the mask with clean hands.

A facial steamer will soften your blackheads makin face masks more effective!

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