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Do you have trouble with blackheads? They’re a very common problem, typically affecting the face, neck, back, and chest. A mild form of acne, they’re the result of dead skin cells and oil clogging your pores. When the oxygen hits the oil, it turns black, causing the appearance that gives blackheads their name. What can you do to get rid of them? We’ve got some tips from the pros.

  • Wash your skin gently. It can be tempting to scrub at your face with a heavy-duty cleanser in an attempt to clear the blackheads, but a mild cleanser is a better bet. When you strip your skin’s moisture, it tries to overcompensate by overproducing sebum (oil), which can cause more blackheads. You can also exfoliate with a gentle salicylic acid scrub, but steer clear of physical scrubs, which can cause microtears in the skin. Don’t exfoliate every day, though. It’s wiser to do it three times a week for oily or combination skin or weekly for sensitive skin.
  • Give your face a steam. Loosening up your pores and softening whatever is trapped in them is key when you want to remove blackheads. You can use a face steamer for this or steam it in the shower, then apply heavy moisturizer, cover with plastic wrap, and put a hot, damp washcloth on top of that.
  • Only remove blackheads very carefully. If you’re rough with your skin, you can cause inflammation and scarring. If your hands aren’t clean, you can introduce bacteria or more oil into the pores. If you don’t remove the whole blackhead, you can cause painful irritation. To extract blackheads with your fingers, use your fingertips, never the nails, and don’t place them too close to the blackhead. An even better idea is to use an extractor tool like the ones used by aestheticians, using slow, even pressure to push the blackhead out of the pore. Once you’ve extracted the blackheads, clean your skin with an antibacterial, alcohol-free toner.
  • Consider a topical retinoid. You can buy this over the counter or get it prescription-strength. Retinoid creams are great for stimulating cell turnover and removing dead skin cells. Put on a thin layer at bedtime to exfoliate, unclog pores, reduce oil, and prevent both blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Remember the moisturizer. It may seem counterintuitive to put moisturizer on your face when oil contributes to blackheads. However, a light moisturizer can help balance the moisture in your skin and prevent the overproduction of blackhead-causing oil.
  • Seek help from a professional. Your dermatologist can perform in-office extractions, microdermabrasion, and other treatments to help treat blackheads and other forms of acne. In some cases, a prescription of oral medication may be the best way to keep your skin clear.

Whether it’s blackheads or some other skin condition, you can trust Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology to help you care for your skin. We’re committed to providing superior, professional skincare in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers are here to provide you with the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. Call (801) 682-4715 or contact us through our website.