Blackheads develop when the pores in the skin become clogged with dead skin cells, oil and bacteria. They may occur at any age, although the most severe cases tend to develop during the teenage years. Some people are more prone to blackheads than others, possibly due to genetic predisposition or hormonal influences. Once plugged, the pores stretch and become vulnerable to future clogging. It is considerably easier to prevent blackheads than to treat them after they develop.
Wash your face twice daily using warm water and a mild cleanser. Avoid using bar soaps or cleansers that contain fragrances or other irritants.
Exfoliate your face daily to remove excess skin cells and keep your pores unclogged. Use only gentle exfoliating products with small grains, as rough scrubs may irritate your skin or cause it to tear. If you experience redness or irritation, reduce the frequency of exfoliation.
Avoid using oil-based cosmetics on your face and neck.
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
Keep your hands off your face and resist the urge to squeeze blackheads or pick at your skin. Squeezing and picking can increase inflammation and make your skin more prone to blackheads.
Use a mask weekly. Clay masks are especially beneficial at drying up excess oil.
Continue using any topical medications such as those containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or azelaic acid on your skin even after your existing blackheads are gone. You may need to use a topical medication for months or longer to prevent a return of the blackheads.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images