How to Get Rid of Blackheads


Blackheads are among the more frustrating types of breakouts because they are notoriously difficult to treat. However, with the proper understanding of what blackheads are and what kind of skincare can help treat them, it is possible to improve and eliminate blackheads for radiant, healthy-looking skin.

It is important to understand that blackheads are not a result of dirty skin or poor hygiene. Blackheads occur when dead skin and oil become trapped deep in your pores. The built-up skin and excess oil then oxidize where the surface meets the air, creating the black dot you see in your skin. Because blackheads are not caused by bacteria, as other pimples are, they will not respond to topical treatments meant to disinfect, like benzoyl peroxide or sulfur. Luckily, there are ways to treat blackheads to improve the look of your skin.

The 3-Step Approach to Blackheads

First, it is important to make sure you aren’t over-drying or irritating your skin in an attempt to rid your face of blackheads. Blackheads are too far beneath the surface of your skin to be scrubbed away, so any exfoliation should be gentle, which is why we encourage finding an exfoliant that acts more like a polish in terms of treating the surface of the skin gently, like polishing a piece of silver until it shines with its own natural radiance. The Method: Polish Blemish Control uses pumpkin and pomegranate enzymes and uniform quartz and sodium bicarbonate crystals to gently remove dead skin cells, while salicylic acid and lilac stem cell compound work below the surface of the skin to help keep the pores free of dead skin and excess oil.

Once you’ve polished your skin to remove dead, pore-clogging skin, follow with a cleanser that is gentle enough not to be too drying, but still helps keep pores clear and clean to avoid additional blackheads. Avoid anything overly creamy, as the emollients in cream cleansers can contribute to clogged pores. The Method: Cleanse Blemish Control is a gel cleanser with natural exfoliants like salicylic acid and tea tree oil to help remove dead skin cells and maintain clear pores. This cleanser utilizes lilac stem cell compound to help absorb oil and keep sebum from congesting your pores. Keep in mind that skincare products with Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) exfoliants—like the salicylic acid found in this cleanser—are particularly effective for treating blackheads as they help to minimize pores and exfoliate the build-up of oil and dead skin that causes blackheads.

After you’ve found a way to polish and cleanse your skin without dehydrating or irritating it, which would cause excess production of oil, you’ll need a moisturizer that provides your skin with vital moisture without further clogging your pores. Look for a gel moisturizer or a light moisturizer, as these kinds of moisturizing lotions typically do not include the creamy emollients that can become greasy and contribute to clogged pores. The Method: Nourish Blemish Control is an extra-light formula created to moisturize the skin with nasturtium flower extract while regulating sebum and absorbing oil with salicylic acid and lilac stem cells. Additionally, rare grape polyphenol õ-viniferin—a potent antioxidant—helps protect the skin from impurities and provides anti-aging benefits.  

So, now that you know how to treat your existing blackheads, how can you keep your skin from developing even more blackheads? The continuous use of BHA products, like The Method: 3-Step Blemish Control, will help to exfoliate your skin, keeping pores clear. You can also use products like clay or charcoal masks and oil-blotting papers to help control oil, absorb excess oil, and keep it from clogging your pores. However, if this does not seem to be sufficient to eliminate current blackheads or keep additional blackheads from forming, you may need to see your dermatologist to discuss additional treatments.

Advanced Blackhead Treatments

If over-the-counter BHA treatment is insufficient, you can try a series of BHA peels for a deeper, more thorough polishing of the skin. If BHA is simply not working for you, another option is to try a treatment containing glycolic acid—an Alpha Hydroxy Acid—for more dramatic exfoliation. Retexturizing Treatment, which uses 10% glycolic acid to chemically polishes dead skin cells to reveal fresher skin. This treatment improves the appearance of pores and discoloration, while also maintaining a balanced moisture level with phospholipid complex.

Alternately, you can see an experienced dermatologist for blackhead extractions. Do not attempt to extract blackheads yourself, as you may cause scarring or hyperpigmentation. A dermatologist is trained to identify the best method for an extraction, as well as the difference between a blackhead and a sebaceous filament. If you try to remove a sebaceous filament—a hair-like strand that channels the flow of oil within the pore—you can cause infection and it will only return to appearing as a blackhead as it’s a natural part of your pore. Your dermatologist may also be able to direct you to additional treatments—like facials or microdermabrasion—that can help treat your blackheads and keep them from coming back.

Once you’ve treated your blackheads, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure they don’t return. Continue to use skincare with BHA to encourage proper exfoliation of the skin and maintain clear pores. Be patient and consistent with your skincare and avoid overdoing it with anything—excess cleansing, polishing, and moisturizing can all contribute to increased oil production and clogged pores. Drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced, healthy diet to ensure a healthy body and hydrated skin. This will also help you avoid any skin reactions from food allergies. Wear makeup that is oil-free and marked non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t contribute to excess oil and won’t clog your pores. Avoid oily sunscreens and hair products that may irritate your skin or leave a greasy film on your face. Be extra careful about what touches your face, as a dirty phone, tight hat, or hair with a lot of products can contribute to clogged pores. Finally, do your very best to avoid stress, which can trigger hormone imbalances, increased oil, and acne flare-ups. A stress-free life means stress-free skin, and that’s something we can all enjoy.

Blackheads can be particularly stubborn and difficult to eliminate, but with proper treatment and continued care, you can clear your clogged pores to reveal clear, glowing skin.