Getting rid of blackheads?
- Monday, 23 January 2012
"Hi Bubz, what's the best way to remove blackheads? I love your videos ;D" - Kesha
I like your question because it's short, gets to the point and a very good question. Blackheads can be a right pain in the butt. One of my most embarassing memories is when I was about 19 years old. I had just finished a dancing rehearsal and a male friend looked at my face close-up and said "Oh, you got a strawberry nose". I was mortified because my blackheads on my nose reminded him of pips a strawberry.
First of all, let's talk about what a blackhead really is. It's basically a clogged up pore that's filled with excess oil. It becomes oxdised (darkened) when the oil can't be released out into the skin due to it being blocked (in most cases, it's due to dead skin cells being in the way). The best way to be 'strawberry nose free' is to prevent them from forming. It saves you the hassle from getting rid of them.
When you exfoliate your skin, you remove excess dead skin cells. This is very important because dead skin cells is what blocks the excess oil from flowing freely out of the pore. It also helps to clean out the pores so they don't look stretched (from being filled with excess oil) thus making the pores looking smaller. So exfoliate your skin at least once a week (twice if your skin can tolerate it) or use a gentle daily exfoliating scrub daily. I swear by my Sasatinnie Facial cleansing brush. It's gentle enough on my sensitive skin but works amazingly well.
I use my Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing brush (from sasa.com) to cleanse my face every morning and before I go to bed. Without the need to fork out loads for an exfoliating cleanser- this works well with any cleanser to exfoliate my skin for a clean polished complexion.
They are great for oil control. They work by drawing out excess impurities (dirt, oil and sluggish dead skin cells) out of our pores. I am such a fan of Queen Helene's Mint Julep mask. I can honestly say it minimized the blackheads on my nose. It's one of the best clay masks I have ever used and the best thing about it is the super affordable price.
You can also be careful with the products you use for your face as well. For example, I tend to stay away from products that are too creamy, rich or heavy. They are more likely to clog up our pores causing blackheads. This applies with your makeup as well (go for oil-free makeup). I would also avoid using products that's too harsh or drying. When our skin is stripped of moisture, it produces more oil to make up for the lost moisture and again - it can lead to blackheads sprouting. Sometimes we think powerful acne cleansers will help out our skin but the ironic thing is, they can actually make the skin look worse. I'm a firm believer or gentle products. They work slower but give longer lasting effects.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids help to loosen up the glue that binds dead skin cells together. You can find AHA acids in lots of different fruits. With a teaspoon of lemon juice, add another teaspoon of sugar to create a lemon scrub. Gently exfolate your skin being extra gentle to your cheek areas (you can be a little tougher on the nose and chin areas). Massage for about a minute and rinse off with lukewarm water. The lemon juice also helps oil control too.
Now let's talk about removing these little bad boys. I know pore strips are a lot of fun and a lot of people like to use them as quick fixes but they aren't too reliable. A lot of times, they only remove the surface of blackheads. If the glue isn't washed off properly, it can clog up the pores even more. If you ask any beautician, they will tell you the best way to remove blackheads is through extraction. Don't aim to remove them completely- having them minimized is your goal. I'm often asked to make videos on how I extract my blackheads. What puts me off doing this is because if extraction isn't done correctly, it can cause infections which can be pretty sucky. But the key is to be hygienic and gentle. Some people just like to wrap tissue over their fingers and some prefer to use an extracting tool. Both methods aim to push the blackhead out of the pore. I do both depending where I am working on. Always work on skin that is cleansed. I like to extract blackheads straight after a bath/shower so my pores are open. It makes extracting a lot easier (and less painful tehee).
If you use your fingers
Make sure your index fingers are covered in cotton wool or tissue. With your fingers on (near) both sides of the blackhead, apply gentle pressure.
If you use the extractor tool
Make sure the tool is properly sterilized with alcohol before usage. Press the edge of the loop near the blackhead and apply gentle pressure. It forces the blackhead out of the pore and it can be pretty fun to watch (but painful to endure).
After extracting, always cleanse the skin with toner afterwards to prevent infections. Skin can be reddened too. To be honest, I prefer going to beauty salons to extract clogged pores and blackheads because it's just better to let a skilled person do it. My skin always looka hideous afterwards because it goes crazy red but after a few days, my face always looks a lot clearer. Not every beautician is great though, some can be clumsy and fail to extract the whole blackhead properly so becareful with who extracts your blackheads to avoid infections.
So yes, prevention of blackheads is a lot easier than getting rid of them. In general, exfoliating and clay masks are great ways to treat and prevent blackheads. Also, remember blackheads can also be caused by different factors too such as being unhygienic and stress (hormones going crazy) so our lifestyle can also influence our blackheads too.
I hope this was helpful sweetheart, good luck!
Much love, Bubz xx