Blackheads and Blocked Pores

What exactly is a blackhead?
Blackheads are caused by partially blocked pores. The "black" appearance of them is not caused by dirt, but by the oxidising effect of air on the sebum (oil) in a blocked pore and the melanin pigment from the dead skin cells.

Blackheads and Blocked Pores
Blackhead image

Blackheads and Blocked Pores Review

Is removing blackheads good for your skin?
How do you get rid of blackheads for good? The best way to remove blackheads is to remove the cause of them -- excessive sebum (oil) and dead skin cells. Use only products made with natural ingredients that are not too astringent. Harsh products can strip the skin of oil, causing it to produce more sebum which leads to more blocked pores.

Don't be afraid of using cleansing products containing natural oils, such as jojoba or coconut oil to cleanse the skin. These oils are close to our natural oils, so they don't block the pores. Use a gentle exfoliator every day to remove dead skin cells so they don't block pores. Just remember to be very gentle, over exfoliation can exacerbate the problem.

What's the best product to get rid of blackheads?
Avoid products containing the following: alcohol, isopropyl mystate, lanolin, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, propylene glycol, mineral oil and parabens.

Do not to try and extract them forcibly, either using your fingers, fingernails or a comedone (blackhead) remover. This can cause permanent damage to the pores and stop them working properly for ever. You may squeeze some of the blackhead out, but you could also force some of it even deeper into the skin, which may lead to infection (large spots, pimples or even cysts) or permanent damage. Touching your skin should generally be avoided to prevent cross infection.

Diet
You can help reduce the occurrence of blackheads by eating the right kinds of foods -- this will reduce sebum production, increase good moisture in the skin and help the production of new skin cells. Avoid cooked carbohydrates and fats, replace these with fresh fruits, vegetables and raw fats (avocadoes, olives, olive oil etc).

👉 Also read: Foods that can alleviate acne vulgaris and blackhead

Make up
If you do wear make up, make sure any foundations and concealers are non-comedogenic and oil free so they won't block pores. Try not to apply make up if your face is sweating. Always remove your make up with a cleanser at the end of the day. Keep all your make up brushes and sponges clean. Wash them in mild shampoo once a month and let dry completely before using.

👉 Also read: Daily care for acne and skin health

Reducing the appearance of blackheads, blocked pores and open pores

The best way to reduce the appearance of blackheads is to do the following, twice a week:
  • Wash the skin using a gentle, natural exfoliating product and pat the skin dry
  • Fill a bowl/ basin with boiling water, and a few drops of tea tree oil
  • Steam your face for about 5 minutes to open the pores and soften the skin
  • Apply a facial mask, such as The Body Shop's Blue Corn Scrub Mask: Alternative treatments include clay masks containing kaolin or sea kelp powder. These masks will attract and absorb the oil in the blocked pore.
  • Let the mask work for the allocated time (10 minutes to an hour)
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat the skin dry
  • If you have scars or red marks from previous acne, this is a good time to apply diluted lavender oil to the skin

Other treatments
Professional treatments to consider include:

Microdermabrasion
Exfoliation on your face and neck to remove dead cells and stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin formation. Then, using quick strokes, your therapist focuses on areas of concern such as open pores, wrinkles, blemished skin or acne scaring. A gentle vacuum action achieves an immediate lifting effect on tired muscles and stimulates the blood supply to the skin's surface.

Recommended daily skin care products

Dermalogica
Anti-bac skin wash -- Banish problem skin with this acne-fighting, purifying blend of Salicylic Acid and Triclosan, plus exclusive Skin Response Complex to calm irritation and help promote healing. Acne-prone, oily skin conditions.

Dermal clay cleanser -- Super-absorbent Kaolin and Green Clays wick away excess oil and impurities to deep-cleanse the skin and refine its texture. Exhilarating, astringent extracts of Menthol and Watercress help to control excess oil. Oily/congested skin conditions.

Dr Hauschka
  • Cleansing Cream
  • Clarifying Toner
  • Normalizing Day Oil
  • Facial Steam Bath
  • Cleansing Clay Mask
  • Rejuvenating Mask

Green People
  • Gentle Cleanse
  • Gentle Tone
  • Fruit Scrub

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