You know how, if your pants fall down just a little tiny bit when you’re leaning over and a millimeter of your crack shows? A MILLIMETER?
Everyone can see that. Everyone sees it. Even the men in the space station.
Blackheads are not like that. Frankly, I think blackheads, on the scale of seen to invisible probably fall somewhere in the realm of that pesky household ghost your sister tries to point out to you.
Still, they’re annoying. You can see them. Mostly when you press your nose up close to the mirror. But they’re there, and you know it. Your face isn’t completely clean. You want to remove blackheads; you want them banished.
Let’s make that happen.
5 Natural Ways to Remove Blackheads
Blackheads are just pimples that don’t have skin over them. That’s all they are. Because there’s no skin, and they’re exposed to the air, the top layer of gunk in your pores oxidizes and turns that darkish black color.
All you have to do is clean out your pores, and the blackheads are gone. There’s no need to squish and squeeze.
If you’re prone to blackheads, I have some good and bad news for you. The bad news is, large pores and oily skin are going to be a fact of life for you. The likelihood that you’ll be able to totally reverse either of those things is nil.
The good news is, people with oily skin and large pores don’t wrinkle as quickly (because our skin is VERY good at replenishing the oils). So when you’re 60, this will be a blessing.
1. Make Exfoliation and Microdermabrasion a Part of Your Weekly Ritual
There are so many things you can use to exfoliate and remove blackheads with. All of them are in your cabinets right now.
My favorite is:
Especially for oily skin and getting rid of blackheads. Nutmeg helps get rid of the oil, offers the scrubby power, and leaves behind really smooth skin. The lactic acid in milk helps break down old skin cells so they disappear when you rinse your face. If you really want to take it up a notch, use buttermilk instead of regular milk (it contains even more lactic acid).
You could also use: Baking soda and water, lemon juice and sugar, or salt and sour cream.
How you do it: Simply combine your “scrubby” ingredient with your liquid/wet ingredient until you have a thin paste. Starting with a clean face, rinse it once with water, and then begin to apply your exfoliator in light, circular motions.
Concentrate on the blackheads, but remember to use a very light touch. Too rough, and you could damage your skin.
Do this for 3-5 minutes. Rinse well. Enjoy your clean face.
2. Do a Honey Pat-Down
This is only slightly different than the honey face wash, in that you don’t want to wet your face before you start – in any way, shape, or form. (Although you do want to have a clean face before beginning.)
Your honey should be very, very sticky if you want this to be as effective as possible.
Simply pour a small amount of honey on your fingers and start rapidly patting the areas on your face where you want to remove blackheads. The honey will stick to the stuff in your pores, and pull it out as you remove your fingers. It will also offer gentle antibacterial and antioxidant support, so any small remnants that may be left in your pores won’t oxidize (and turn black) quite as quickly.
Continue doing this for 3 or so minutes, and then just rinse your face with water.
3. Use Egg Whites to Pull Out the Gunk
Frankly, this is one of my least favorite ways to get rid of blackheads (I don’t particularly like the way eggs on my face smell, and it hasn’t been as effective as the other ways for me).
However, hundreds of other people swear by this method, thus I include it for your consideration. It’s a prime example of how one crunchy remedy may work for one person, and not at all for another. You never, ever, ever know until you try.
How to pull out the blackheads with an egg white mask: Starting with a clean face, spread egg whites all over using your fingers or a paintbrush. Start first with one thin layer and let it dry briefly. Then spread a second layer over the top and let the whole thing dry completely.
You may want to focus on the blackhead areas a third time, even.
Allow this mask to dry for 15 minutes. Your face will feel tight and pull a bit. This is good. Then, with a warm, wet washcloth, scrub the egg whites off your face very gently.
If nothing else, your face WILL be super smooth and soft. (And probably a little more porcelain (edit: or uniform regardless of skin tone) in color for a while, too, which is a fun bonus.)
4. Use a Cosmetic Clay Mask to Soak Up the Oils
If egg whites were my least favorite, clays are my absolute #1 favorite way to get rid of blackheads.
You do not have to have a special $50 jar of facial mask clay for this. You do not have to put essential oil into your mask (if you don’t want to, but you can).
All you need is cosmetic clay and water (or apple cider vinegar, which is how I like to do it).
Where do you get cosmetic clay? mountain rose herbs carries a variety of it at very reasonable prices (bentonite, french green, rhassoul, and fuller’s earth). But if you have a local herb shop, the chances are, they’ll have some there, too.
How to make a blackhead-busting mask with clay: Again, you can add goodies like rosewater or a drop or two of essential oils to your clay, but this is not necessary for removing blackheads.
So the basics are: Combine 1 Tbsp clay with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or pure water) and stir until you have a paste without lumps in it. Spread over your whole clean face, or just the areas where you have blackheads. Allow this to dry for 15-20 minutes.
Take a warm, wet washcloth and press it to the mask for a few seconds, and then slowly and gently wipe off.
5. If All Else Fails, Take a Clean Toothbrush to the Area
Do not use this method unless all else fails.
This is absolutely the most extreme measure you should go to in clearing your blackheads (with squishing and squeezing being THE most extreme measure there is).
Use a dedicated toothbrush only for blackhead cleaning. Do NOT use your mouth toothbrush (ew) ever. In between scrubbing blackheads, dunk your toothbrush in a glass of hydrogen peroxide to keep it clean.
How to do this: Using a soft bristled brush (NOTHING FIRMER), pour a small amount of lemon juice on the toothbrush, along with a drop or two of oily-skin friendly oil like jojoba, tamanu, or neem.
VERY gently scrub your blackhead areas with the head of your toothbrush. You can rinse with water and reapply with lemon and oil if you feel like you need to. Just do this gently. In circular motions. And don’t go crazy.
Also, don’t do this more than once a week. Don’t do it around your eyes. And do NOT do this on any open sores, scratches, or cuts. Ever. Promise?
If you avoid anywhere delicate, it should be just fine. I just wanted to be overly dramatic, so you understand that you shouldn’t brush your whole face with lemon juice and a toothbrush.
An Ounce of Prevention…
… pound of cure and all that.
Here are a few ways you can prevent blackheads before they happen. Maybe not always and forever, but most of the time.
(I have noticed approximately 3 blackheads on my nose in the last three months, down from seeing them almost every day two years ago, if that makes you feel better.)
Ways to prevent blackheads:
Don’t wash your face with harsh cleansers. This makes your skin overreact and produce more oil, which means your blackheads will be back much faster
DO wash your face twice a day with natural sources. (Say, the no-nonsence daily scrub in the morning and the honey wash with baking soda in the evening.)
Wear makeup as little as possible.
Wash your pillowcase on a weekly basis (to clean off any dead skin cells and oils your face leaves behind on it).
Use an astringent like witch hazel or apple cider vinegar after you wash your face and before you moisturize (this will help get rid of any residual gunkiness and tighten the pores a bit).
Once every two weeks, use a facial steam to help open your pores and let them unclog.
Consider using the oil cleansing method to wash your face (pop over and read this thread in the crunchy community to see why).
Make a homemade peel-off mask with gelatin and tomato juice.
Blot your face with tissue paper throughout the day to soak up oil before it can accumulate.