Banish Blackheads Forever !

by Lisa Young – Salon Director


drawing showing blackheadsYou may have noticed the little black dots all over your nose in your magnifying mirror.

And we all ask “why me?”

You’ve also probably all seen the YouTube shockers of the oozing goo squeezed out of some poor persons nose and forehead. Then there’s the latest DIY remedy craze.

Believe it or not, blackheads are not as disgusting as they seem and are also extremely common.

But, why do they create such a repulsion and intrigue for us ?

Yes I said repulsion … and intrigue !!

It almost seems conflicting, because on one hand most people will pull a face at the mere thought of a blackhead. Yet, in spotting and removing these rogues, there is often a strange satisfaction in the removal of a blackhead !

But once you get rid of one lot and you think that’s it, more seem to appear !

So why is that ? And can you really get rid of blackheads forever ?

Well the answer is yes, but it requires:

  1. The right products (say hello to your new friend salicylic acid).
  2. A regular skin-care regimen.
  3. Sometimes a little professional help.



Know the enemy

The first step in treating blackheads is understanding what causes them.

So what exactly is a blackhead ?

Well, contrary to what you may have been told blackheads are not really dirt in your skin !

A blackhead is a pore that’s clogged with a mixture of:

  • Dead skin cells.
  • Natural oil known as sebum.
  • Propionibacterium acnes or as they are known in short “P. acnes”.

P Acnes contains bacteria that thrives on protein and oil and causes breakouts or spots.



Whiteheads vs Blackheads

Whiteheads are known as a “closed comedone”.

In contrast, a blackhead is open at the skin’s surface and is known as an “open comedone”. When pores are open at the skins surface, they become exposed to the air, which causes a chemical reaction called oxidisation. This then causes a plug of natural oil to oxidise and turn black.



Welcome to your new friend – TA-DA … “Salicylic Acid”

When it comes to blackhead removal, salicylic acid is the best !

It is found in many skin care products and what this gem of an ingredient does is gentle on the skin and aids exfoliation. This increases skin-cell renewal and helps to remove all the dead debris blocking your skin’s pores.

It is known as a chemical exfoliation because it is in gel or liquid form and therefore not hard or abrasive on the skin like a physical exfoliation.

By using a product with Salicylic Acid once or twice a day you will naturally help your skin exfoliate and unclog your pores. Try Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash or Dermalogica ClearStart xxx.

You can finish with a matte moisturiser such as Dermalogica ClearStart xxx and a spot treatment if you need it.

Hot Tip – Be careful not to overdo it with the Salicylic as it can take a little time for your skin to get used to it. It is best to gradually introduce this into your skin car regime. If your skin becomes dry, tight or even irritated, leave the salicylic acid for a few days and focus on hydrating your skin.



The new kids on the block !

Watch out for alternative ingredients that offer blackhead and problem skin relief too such as:

Lactobacillus Ferment – a natural and antibacterial ingredient that helps stimulate removal of blackheads and congestion. This makes it perfect for controlling breakouts and blackheads.

Collodial Silver – a skincare ingredient that helps eliminate bacteria and control breakouts.


What Doesn’t Work for Blackheads

Alcohol – products with alcohol just dry your skin and makes the sebum go into overdrive.

Benzoyl Peroxide – was once an all-time favourite but due to EU legislation is not permitted in EU products. So if you are reading this from the UK, you won’t find this in your products unless they are old stock in which case ditch them as they have probably expired. Salicylic acid is a great alternative and is a better remedy  for blackheads because its exfoliating properties help to unclog your pores. So again, if you have any products with Benzoyl Peroxide, ditch them in favour of salicylic.

Hydrogen peroxide or surgical spirit are old fashioned treatments, but it’s worth  knowing that they don’t kill the P-Acne bacteria that causes acne and they don’t help relieve blackheads or whiteheads either. They just simply dry out the skin. Recent studies have shown that Hydrogen peroxide can be harmful to collagen in the skin as it is actually toxic to collagen in the skin.



Brush up your skincare

Skin brushes come in 2 types – manual or electrical. It’s a great way to power up your cleansing and can be used in conjunction with your cleanser and exfoliating products.

Other alternatives are cleansing mitts and exfoliating cloths.

Remember that it’s really important to keep them clean and bacteria free. Regular washing of your brush heads and allowing them to dry out will stop them harbouring germs.



Take Off Your Makeup

Yes, we are all tempted and the odd occasion is probably not going to be a big hum dinger, but cleanse properly every night and you will avoid clogging your pores and the bacteria that causes spots and blemishes.

If you use cleansing cloths, swap them in favour of a good cleanser (unless they are Dermalogica Pre Cleanse Wipes, which work in a different way).

I’ve always wondered why a product that is meant to remove make up, dirt and debris from the skin is able to tone, hydrate & moisture the skin. Logic tells you it can’t take away and add at the same time! You’re simply wiping the dirt and debris around your skin.

Try this out – take your make up off with make up wipes and then count how many wipes it takes before the cloth looks clear. Finally, wipe your face on a white towel urghhhhhhh still dirty!! You will be surprised!



Don’t Touch and Squeeze !

Don’t touch your face and avoid squeezing spots if you can because you are introducing bacteria into your pores, which trigger blackheads and breakouts.

Remember that good, healthy skin will help you minimise blackheads so try the following to keep your skin healthy and reduce the likelihood of blackheads.



Keep those hydration levels up

If you think drying your skin out of oil and sebum is great to prevent blackheads consider this thought !

Dehydrated skin means that the pores close tight and hold onto oil and sebum making it even harder to remove sebum. Skin that is hydrated makes it much easier to keep on top of blackheads, so make sure you hydrate and moisturise your skin.



Go for non comedogenic

As with all skin-care products, look out for non-comedogenic formulations as well as oil free that have been tested and proven not to clog pores and cause breakouts.



Keep it natural

Avoid petroleum and mineral oil based products as well as silicones that can clog the skin with trapped dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria in the moisture barrier it creates. This can lead to more blackheads.




Retinol or vitamin A has an added benefit other than anti-aging benefits. It is also great for blackheads because it works as an exfoliator, which increases skin cell renewal.



Face Masks

Clay, charcoal, and salicylic acid face masks are a great alternative to pore strips. (We love Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Mask as it’s great for even the most sensitive of skins).



Don’t DIY it go Pro

Some things are best left to the professionals. You name it it’s out there, DIY remedies with concoctions of salt, sugar, honey or oils such as olive and coconut oil and lemon juice. There’s no reason to resort to a DIY recipe that you’ve found on the internet. Skincare companies have done all the research and development and have produced affordable products. This saves you causing yourself more problems with inflammation and scarring.

So if you’re really serious about getting rid of your blackheads get yourself a real results driven treatment with a Dermalogica skin therapist.

After all they have the tricks of the trade to ensure that you get the best results.

There are plenty of options from:

  • Deep cleaning with ultrasound or galvanic.
  • Prescriptive Facials.
  • Express Microzone facials (there’re even a dedicated blackhead removal microzone that focuses on hydration and extraction in 20 mins!
  • Advanced exfoliation chemical peels.


Quote of the Day

“Beauty to me is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick ass red lipstick”

Gwyneth Paltrow

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