I really don’t know about you, but blackheads are the bane of my life. (At least when it comes to tricking people into believing I have flawless skin.) From large to small, and all the ones in between, they’re excessively stubborn, and even though there are a lot of products on the market claiming to make the annoying black dots vanish, I’ve never had much luck. (And should you have, pray to tell.)
Nevertheless, the only thing that has aided the look and occurrence of my blackheads are extraction-heavy facials from my favorite star esthetician, Renée Rouleau. According to Austin, Texas, Rouleau comes up to L.A. every so often to cater to her celebrity and beauty business acquaintances and has nursed my acne-prone skin back to apparent, glowy, blackhead-free health more frequently than I could count. So who better to ask all my burning blackhead-related questions?
As Rouleau explained to me personally, blackheads are pretty much a simple fact of life, and almost everybody will experience them at some stage or another. Essentially, they are inevitable, but there’s definitely some strategy (and expect!) When it comes to managing and treating them. And yes, the sole way to get rid of them is to extract them.
“Whether you eliminate them yourself or have a professional facial, blackheads have to be manually extracted,” explains Rouleau. “There is no magic mask or pore strip that will easily lift them out, and while certain products can help the pores from clogging again, they won’t knowingly clean out a pore that is already clogged.”
In accordance with Rouleau, the best method to handle blackheads is to go in for regular facials and extractions–that keeps the pores clear and clean. Nevertheless, if you don’t have time or funds for that sort of qualified care, fear not! Ahead, I requested Rouleau everything you have ever wanted to understand about blackheads–exactly what they are, what causes them, and yes, even how to remove them at home. Keep scrolling!
According to Rouleau, blackheads are large, open pores containing petroleum that has oxidized from the atmosphere and causing it to turn black. “Contrary to what the majority of men and women believe, blackheads are not trapped’ dirt;’ it’s simply oxidized oil trapped on your pore. You can eliminate the blackhead by extracting it once the oil fills back up in the pore, then the air will get the oil to darken once more.” So unfortunately blackheads can become kind of a vicious cycle, which means extractions and care is critical.
How to Get Rid of Blackheads in Home
“Throughout a specialist facial, an esthetician will raise the warmth of the skin by applying hot steam to the skin and performing a facial massage to’melt’ the eucalyptus oil inside the pores to make for easier extractions,” Rouleau tells me. “When the skin is properly prepared, extractions shouldn’t leave the skin with reddish marks. A cooling, post-extraction, will help calm skin and lessen any visible discoloration”
The good news? You may actually create an identical experience at home. (Although if your blackheads are actually bothering you, then you have a lot of these, or you’re just straight-up intimidated, it might not be advisable to find a professional, even if it’s just the first few times.) Follow the steps below for Rouleau’s at-home extraction program –you will want a plastic wrap, two washcloths, facial tissue, heavy moisturizer, and a blackhead extractor tool (or your fingers). Oh, and be sure to eliminate your blackheads immediately following a shower, since the skin temperature has been increased, which softens the hardened oil inside the pore, making for easier extractions.
Step 1: Apply a Thick & Creamy Moisturizer
“After showering, use a thin layer of the heaviest moisturizer you have available into the area you are attempting to extract,” Rouleau instructs. “By using a rich moisturizer, you are going to produce a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin, which for extractions functions, is necessary.”
“Next, cover the region with cellophane/plastic wrap, and apply the first hot, moist washcloth. Then get the next washcloth nice and sexy, and use it over the other one. The best one is going to assist the one below (that is touching the skin) to keep its heat longer. Afterward, remove the plastic and keep skin moist by using a bit more moisturizer, as more than likely, it’s going to have wiped off to the washcloth.”
Step 3: If You’re Using Your Fingers…
“If you’re using your palms (versus a blackhead extraction tool), wrap tissue across each forefinger and gently squeeze to remove blackheads or clogged pores. The goal with squeezing is to avoid placing the palms too near as this won’t enable the blackhead to emerge. Widen them a little so the blackhead is going to be extracted easier from the deeper level of the skin.
“To avoid making squeeze marks, proceed simple, and be sure to relocate the place of your fingers. For instance, place palms at 3:00 and 9:00 and then 5:00 and then 10:00, 2:00, and 7:00. My general principle is…three strikes and you are out. Meaning, if it does not come out after three attempts, don’t do it, or you will risk damaging the epidermis or potentially breaking a capillary.”
Step 3: If You’re Using an Extraction Tool…
If you’re using a tool versus your palms, your measure three will proceed as follows. “Hold the tweezers in one hand, and place the open tips on each side of the blackhead you plan to extract. With the tweezer body vertical to the area to be extracted (curved part of tips in contact with the skin) and employing the round, curved ends, gently press on each side of the blackhead till it begins to release. Apply slow, even pressure, and as soon as you’re able to, lightly pinch the tweezers and pull on the blackhead from the skin to pull it. In case the blackhead does not release easily, don’t continue to attempt the extraction. We are going for what I like to call’responsible squeezing.'”
As Rouleau reiterates to me once blackheads are extracted, it is simple for us to creep back up again–and it can occur fast. Therefore, keeping them under control is all about vigilance and normal skincare care; notice that certain types of goods and components are going to be a lot more beneficial to you than others.
For instance, Rouleau does not advocate pore strips (as tempting and satisfying as they might seem) because when there is a blackhead–aka a blockage of hardened oil–it really has to be gently extracted manually, and a strip just will not be as powerful as the industry wants us to think. Below, we are outlining the strategic products and ingredients which will help slow down or reduce the appearance of blackheads.
“When the pores are clean, it is important to integrate products into your routine that utilize acids, like AHAs and BHAs, to consume into the pores and keep them cleaned out, in addition to preventing the oil from filling back up so fast,” Rouleau tells me.
Everything from acid-containing cleansers to serums to at-home peels is fair game, but only heed Rouleau’s information and make certain the products you’re choosing are gentle and do not contain SD alcohol 40 or denatured alcohol. Another important tip? Stay away from acid-based products for 24 hours following professional or DIY guide extractions.
After that 24-hour window, however, choose out of my favorite three formulas below! (I have been hooked on Rouleau’s line for nearly a year now and have noticed a dramatic decrease in the speed and intensity of my blackheads.)
Vitamin C + E Products–AKA Antioxidants
Preventing the oxidation procedure from the get-go is an integral portion of lessening the appearance of blackheads. “Antioxidants used in skin care products have many positive aspects, such as promoting collagen production, lightening discoloration, and slowing down the production of skin-damaging free radicals, but one unexpected benefit is their ability to stop oil from oxidizing, hence the title antioxidants, meaning’ antioxidation,'” stocks Rouleau. “I can not speak for many anti-inflammatory products, but I will tell you for certain that our Vitamin C & Treatment utilizes three kinds of steady, no-sting vitamin C, making this item not just suitable for preventing blackheads but a fantastic option for sensitive skin also.”