How To Remove Blackheads (And Get Clear!)

How To Remove Blackheads (And Get Clear!)
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Wondering how to get rid of blackheads? You’re so not alone. If you do a quick search on Google or TikTok, you’ll come across countless recommendations for blackhead removal treatments, plus tips and tricks on how to send blackheads packing.

But here’s the thing… some blackhead extraction treatments can be too harsh or aggressive and end up damaging your skin. The better option? Safe and gentle blackhead removal methods, paired with a consistent skincare routine that helps reduce pore-clogging buildup. Read on to learn how to reduce the look of blackheads instantly and long-term, while treating your skin with care. 

What causes blackheads?

Blackheads most commonly occur on your nose and chin, but they can appear on other areas of your face (or body) too. Before we dive in to removing them, let’s take a quick look at what’s causing them in the first place.

Both whiteheads and blackheads occur when sebum and dead skin cells become trapped inside your pores. Whiteheads are considered “closed comedones,” which means the gunk clogging up your pores remains covered by a layer of skin—resulting in a white bump. Blackheads, on the other hand, are considered “open comedones.” This means the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells is exposed to air. When that happens, the gunk oxidizes and turns a black-ish color.

Both blackheads and whiteheads are considered non-inflammatory. If bacteria starts to grow, that’s when you can end up with an inflamed pimple or a cyst (more about that here). Those with oily skin are more susceptible to blackheads, because your skin is producing more oil, which can become trapped in your pores. And just to set the record straight, blackheads aren’t dirt—they’re simply a result of oxidation.

How to prevent blackheads

The key to managing blackheads is starting and (here’s the important part) sticking to a skincare routine designed to keep pores clear. Consistent exfoliation is your first step. Regular exfoliation removes the oldest layer of dead skin cells from skin’s surface, which helps prevent those dead skin cells from mixing with sebum and clogging up the lining of your pores. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention? It’s especially relevant when it comes to blackhead treatment.

Now, when we say exfoliation, we don’t mean aggressive methods. One gentle form of exfoliation is sonic dermaplaning, which not only removes dead skin cells but also gets rid of the layer of peach fuzz we all have. When you remove all that buildup, you’re getting rid of dead skin cells and allowing for more effective penetration of skincare products like toner and serums. One weekly treatment with LUXE+ is all you need. And on days when you don’t dermaplane, you can apply a gentle exfoliating toner to help prevent pore-clogging buildup. Look for a toner with proven exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid and lactic acid, which penetrate the lining of the pore and help dissolve sebum and dead skin. If you have sensitive skin, it’s helpful to choose a toner with encapsulated salicylic acid, which is released more slowly and helps to unclog pores without leaving skin dry or stripped. DERMAFLASH Botanical Ketoacid Toner has a blend of lactic, malic and encapsulated salicylic acid, plus gentle floral acids for added exfoliating benefits and probiotics to help support skin’s natural protective barrier.

Regular exfoliation should help reduce the appearance of your current blackheads and prevent future blackheads from forming. But if you’re seeing cystic or inflamed acne along with blackheads, we recommend talking to your dermatologist. They may recommend a prescription topical or other treatment to help clear stubborn breakouts.

How to remove blackheads safely

If there’s one thing we want you to take away from this article, it’s this: Don’t squeeze your blackheads! Going after blackheads with your fingers (or even worse, fingernails!)  can lead to skin damage and scarring. It can also spread bacteria and push gunk deeper into your pores—not what you’re after.

That said, we all need some instant gratification when it comes to clogged pores—and it is possible to remove blackheads quickly and safely. What to do? Professional facials are one way to help extract pore-clogging gunk. Estheticians are trained to extract gunk gently, without damaging skin. Many at-home methods exist too (hello, TikTok!) but it’s important to remember they’re not all beneficial to your skin—and some are downright damaging. Pore strips, for example, can cause irritation as a result of the adhesive used to make them stick to your skin. The chemicals in the adhesive can inflame sensitive skin and cause damage when the strip is pulled off. You may also have seen metal tools with loops or picks at the ends. Needless to say, poking your skin with sharp metal objects is NOT a good idea. Another method, pore vacuums, can also harm your skin by causing micro-tears or even bruising as a result of intense suction.

Thankfully there’s another, more advanced blackhead-removal method that’s gentler on skin. Ultrasonic pore extractors (sometimes called “pore spatulas”) like DEMAPORE+ use high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations to gently loosen up the sticky mixture of sebum and dead skin trapped in your pores. Because the gunk is being loosened, it can be extracted more easily as the spatula passes over it. DERMPORE+ has the added benefit of ionic technology, which makes extractions even easier. The gunk in your pores has a negative ionic charge and the spatula has a positive charge, so it attracts gunk like a magnet.

How to use a pore extractor

The first step to using DERMAPORE+ effectively is to make sure skin is thoroughly wet. This allows the device to create a “water force” that helps loosen and remove gunk. You can mist your face with water, but we recommend using the Prep Mist that comes with your device. It has gentle exfoliating ingredients that help dissolve buildup, as well as soothing botanical extracts. It’s also a good idea to use DERMAPORE+ after a shower, when your skin is warm and pliable. While it’s a myth that pores open and close, warm and damp skin does make extractions easier—which is why estheticians steam skin before performing facials.

Hold your device at a 45-degree angle, and use gentle-but-firm pressure to glide the tip of the spatula over clog-prone areas. You’ll probably have to wipe off the spatula as you go—the gunk will build up. (Gross, but honestly so satisfying!) And remember to keep your face wet. Just re-mist as needed. 

When you’re finished, clean the debris off the spatula, then apply your toner and complete the rest of your skincare routine. You can use your ultrasonic pore extractor as often as you’d like. Those with oily skin will probably find they need to use it more frequently, while those with dry or sensitive skin may require less frequent use. “I use it multiple times a week if not daily,” says Jessica S, a verified customer. “If you get as obsessed with nose blackheads as I do, you will love it too.”