Every girl has indulged in the strangely cathartic videos of pimples being popped or blackheads being extracted. If you dread the idea of having a skin technician dig around for blackheads and find it a painful experience, here are some tips to wage war against those unsightly black spots that somehow creep back up time and again.
What are blackheads, anyway?
It all starts when debris, oil or dead skin cells fill up pores or hair follicles and form a bump called a ‘comedone’. When these comedones are exposed to air, they oxidise and turn black, forming a ‘blackhead’.
Here are some dos and don’ts to stop them from erupting All. The. Time.
Scrub too hard – you may feel that using an exfoliating agent may remove the gunk collected in the pores, but scrubbing too hard and using harsh, grainy exfoliators may irritate your skin further.
Use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week and use gentle, circular motions to clean your skin. You can also try chemical exfoliators like cleansers with salicylic acid that remove dead skin cells without the abrasive action.
Use a comedone extractor that is in the shape of a hook. Use one that has a full, round loop. The round nature of the extractor will apply pressure all around the blackhead and help apply 360 degree pressure and will avoid you dragging it on the skin.
Inspect your skin carefully. Straining to remove a blackhead that is deeper from the surface of the skin will only damage the skin and make the blackhead appear larger. Also, be careful about what may appear to be blackheads but are just leftover marks from older comedones.
Use a metal blackhead extractor no matter how appealing popping them with your fingers may seem. Metal is easily sterilised and is more hygienic than using your fingers.
Prod and pry at a blackhead on dry skin. You will cause your skin more distress if your skin is dry and the blackhead has dried up. Wash your face with warm water, better still is to steam your face and then try to extract those pesky blackheads with a round metal extractor.
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