Blemishes are caused by factors that range from hormonal fluctuations to medications that cause excess oil production, which clogs the pores and results in pimples and dark spots known as blackheads. Although these blemishes are most common in people aged 11 to 30, they can happen to anyone at any age. Before going to a dermatologist, you may want to treat your skin at home by clearing clogged pores and healing the skin using natural methods or over-the-counter topical treatments.
Clearing Blemishes and Blackheads Naturally
Wash the affected area twice daily with a natural cleanser infused with bacteria-fighting essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. Keeping your skin clean is the first step in unclogging pores and reducing excess oil to clear existing blemishes and blackheads.
Apply toner to your freshly washed skin to remove any dead skin cells or oil that's left on your skin after you wash it. Buy an all-natural toner or make your own by combining a few drops of skin-clearing essential oils such as palmarosa or rosewood to 8 ounces of distilled water.
Steam your face once weekly to loosen clogged pores. Make your own acne-fighting steam mixture by adding 1 drop each of lemon, palmarosa and clary sage oils for every 1 quart of steaming water. Let the steam work for five minutes before exfoliating your skin with a natural scrub or baking soda, which can be used as a gentle scrub when it's mixed with water.
Apply a light moisturizer that contains antiseptic essential oils such as cypress, grapefruit, geranium or lavender to prevent skin from becoming too dry while balancing your natural sebum levels. Alternatively, make your own by combining 1 teaspoon of witch hazel, 1 teaspoon of orange flower water, 6 drops each of lavender, cypress and geranium oils and 2 drops each of tea tree and grapefruit oils for every 5 ounces of base moisturizer. Base moisturizers are typically unscented and available through natural skin care retailers and some health food stores.
Treating Blemishes and Blackheads With OTC Products
Cleanse your face with a gentle over-the-counter cleanser that contains blemish-busting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, which treats pimples by killing bacteria and infusing pores with oxygen.
Slough off dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliator. Look for products that contain alpha hydroxy acid, which can be used together with benzoyl peroxide since it isn't an antibacterial ingredient. Examples include glycolic acid, which exfoliates skin and unclogs pores to eradicate blackheads and dark spots. Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid, works similarly to glycolic acid but is typically less irritating.
Moisturize with a face cream or lotion that contains retinol, which is an anti-acne, anti-aging ingredient that comes from vitamin A. It works by stimulating your skin's collagen production to improve its appearance while improving pore function to control pimples and blackheads. It also reduces spots and discoloration.
Whether you choose to treat your skin naturally or with over-the-counter products, if you don't see results after consistently following a treatment plan for eight weeks, contact your dermatologist.
Avoid squeezing blackheads, which leaves your skin inflamed while increasing the possibility of infection and scarring.