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How To Get Rid of Blackheads | Dear Derm | Well+Good

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hey guys it's dr. Monica Hara I'm a

dermatologist in New Haven Connecticut

and welcome to another episode of dear

derm if you're a skin junkie like I am I

know you've thought about blackheads and

today we are gonna break it down for you

so I hate to be the bearer of bad news

blackheads aren't the easiest to treat

but we're gonna do our best and we're

gonna give you all of our tips all right

so let's talk basics what is a blackhead

a blackhead is a little tiny pore filled

with dead skin cells and sebum or the

oils on our face

now when the oils and the dead skin

cells hits the air they get what's

called oxidized and they turn black

hence the term bucket in scientific

terms that's called an open comedone and

that's what makes them different than

whiteheads which are closed Komi domes

and they don't have that blackish color


let's play a fun game let's bust all

those blackhead myths alright so I'm not

mad at nose strips they're like not my

favorite thing in the world but you know

I think that they make the blackhead

look better like for that second but by

the time you know the next morning rolls

around you're back at square one the

other thing with with nose strips you

have to be careful of if you're using

products like aah a is PHAs and retinols

you can rip off your skin with the

blackhead little black dots on your skin

are not always blackheads you can get

those little black dots that are on your

nose are actually more associated with

the hair follicle and won't necessarily

respond to a traditional blackhead

busting routine but they may respond to

some facial extractions blackheads

aren't necessarily only caused by oily

skin but they're always produced by oils

in the skin meaning that in the pore

you're always going to find a little

combination of dead skin cells and sebum

so I don't think that makeup is the

cause of blackheads but I think that

makeup can contribute to worsening of

acne in general and there's actually a

term for that

it's called acne cosmetic a-- which

means that the more cosmetics you put on

your skin the more acne you get so I

personally just recommend to my patients

when they're struggling with whiteheads

blackheads any type of acne that they

use non-comedogenic

products and things that aren't gonna

irritate like all the harsh brushes and

tools like that they are not dirt in the


repeat after me guys they are not dirt

in the pores

all right so blackheads are not caused

by any changes in your diet so eating a

piece of pizza isn't necessarily gonna

cause blackheads now eating a piece of

pizza may increase the glycemic index

which then can make your skin more prone

flama Tori which then can give you more

acne but blackheads by themselves go get

that pie so the best way to avoid

blackheads is to try and exfoliate to

some regular degree and to use alpha

hydroxy acids

do that or a beta hydroxy acid like

salicylic acid and then also to use a

vitamin a derivative like try knowin

adapt alene or retinoic acid so let's

talk about the different ways to get rid

of blackheads the first thing to

remember is they're not from dirt so

please don't scrub remember we've said

it before scrub ins for your tub not

your face blackheads are not from dirt

so use a gentle cleanser because if you

use something that's actually too harsh

what may happen is you make it more

blackheads because your skin becomes dry

and your skin is smart and will produce

more oils so use something that keeps

the skin at steady state something in

equilibrium a very gentle cleanser next

I recommend exfoliating once or twice a

week if your skin can handle it and

that's something that your dermatologist

can guide you on with an alpha hydroxy

acid or a beta hydroxy acid like

salicylic acid salicylic acid is

particularly good at getting into those

pores and breaking down those oils that

make up the blackhead so that actually

is one of my favorites when it comes to

busting those blackheads now what's the

other component of the blackhead it's

dead skin cells which are keratin based

next I would use something to liberate

the blackheads a little bit loosen them

up in that pore my personal favorite is

a vitamin a derivative like a retinol of

some type not you don't have to be

over-the-top about it just use a tiny

bit a pea-sized amount over the whole

face don't put them just in the area as

concentrated with the blackheads because

you're certain to get irritated

so put that pea-sized all over your face

so that it prevents new ones from coming

out and helps the old ones to loosen up

in that pore is extremely effective at

regulating the shedding of the skin so

you don't get the accumulation of those

skin cells and so just like we use it to

increase collagen production and

decrease college and breakdown it's also

an extremely effective exfoliator and

really helps to regulate the shedding of

the skin cells and then lastly and I

think probably one of the most important

ways to get rid of blackheads is to

actually extract them out this is where

that pimple popping comes in now I'm not

giving you the car blush to like go at

it with your nails

but I definitely think that there are

ways that we need to extract blackheads

there are at home comedone extractor

that I use a lot on my poor teenage boys

to get rid of the blackheads through

these little instruments that have a

circular top that you can apply a little

bit of gentle pressure on the blackhead

and help to extract the contents I'm

also a really big fan of procedures like

chemical peels or Hydra facials use

alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy

acids to help to liberate and get rid of

the black blackheads more but


and even a more popular procedure these

days which is called a Hydra facial

actually use a smidge of a vacuum to

suck some of the blackheads out talk

about gratifying I mean there probably

is nothing more gratifying than seeing

those blackheads get sucked off the face

but I really think that there's no magic

bullet when it comes to blackheads you

have to commit yourself to a routine of

not only certain ingredients but also

certain procedures that helps to extract

them and one of the my favorite ways to

help teens and tweens and even women my

age combat blackheads is to go get

yourself a facial go get yourself what I

call an acne facial or an extraction

facial those can be extremely beneficial

and if you've done kind of the pre work

for it by loosening up the the sebum and

the pore and using the alpha hydroxy

acid it can be a really pleasant and

pleasurable experience that leaves your

skin looking a lot better after your


if you have blackheads and your skin is

oily also I would stick with using a

lighter lotion but you can have

blackheads ironically and have very dry

skin and in that case you'd want to use

a heavier cream now if you have the

combo skin the t-zone that's a little

bit oilier and the outside that's dry I

would still stick with a lighter lotion

to help keep the skin moisturize because

moisturization is actually a really

really important point of combating

blackheads the drier your skin is the

more oil is going to be in those pores

because your skin is smart it knows it

needs more hydration so it produces more

oils don't skimp on the moisturizer when

it comes to busting blackheads

so when you're on a mission and on a

journey to bust blackheads I would say

that the two most important ingredients

are salicylic acid and some vitamin 8

derivatives such as threatenin so let's

dive a little bit deeper why do I like

salicylic acid so much because remember

the little black head is made of

increased oil in your pore and so the

salicylic acid is probably our best

warrior against oil it's what we call

lipophilic or fat loving so it can cut

through the oils and get into the pore

to break it down a little bit

hope you busted some myths hope we

answered some questions and most

importantly I hope you can bust those

blackheads thank you so much for

watching another episode of dear derm

alright guys stop squeezing and popping

those blackheads and go subscribe to

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questions below