How to get rid of your blackheads once and for all - naturally!
What are blackheads?
Blackheads and whiteheads are from the same family, Comedones. The difference between them is that they have different heads (obvious right?!). With whiteheads, they have a thin layer of skin covering the pore. With blackheads the surface of the skin is stretched and open around the pore and there we have the reason that blackheads are black, the sebum / dead skin cells in the pore is oxidised as it is exposed to air, turning the head black and creating a hard plug in the pore. As sebum continues to build-up behind the plug, it can enlarge and form a visible blackhead. Voila-a blackhead!
Banish Those Blackheads!
Below are a few natural ways to banish those pesky blackheads with ingredients found in your kitchen so you don’t even have to do a special shop or click around on the net trying to find the right stuff.
Lemon Squeezy- nice and simple
As you probably know, Lemon contains citric acid, what you might not know is that citric acid is part of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) group (like glycolic acid or lactic acid) and works as a natural astringent whilst also removing dead skin. Thus it is great for unblocking clogged pores. Lemon juice also contains vitamin C, which stimulates the production of collagen promoting healthy skin and helping reduce scarring from acne.
You will need...
- Rinse face with a gentle cleanser, pat dry
- Squeeze 1tbs of lemon juice into a glass or ceramic bowl
- Dip cotton wool into the lemon juice
- Dab onto your black heads
Either allow it to dry for at least 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water, then apply your usual moisturiser or, you can apply to your blackheads 3-4 times a week, at bedtime and rinse off when you rise with lukewarm water and apply your usual moisturiser.Note - Lemon Juice can sting.
Cinnamon & Honey Pore Strips
This yummy sounding combination creates a blackhead busting team. Firstly, both ingredients are anti-bacterial. Honey acts as an adhesive to pull out what is clogging your pores while cinnamon increases your circulation giving your skin a healthy, smooth glow. Cinnamon also helps to eliminate acne as well as flaky skin.
You will need…
1 part Organic cinnamon
1 part Organic raw honey
A glass/ceramic bowl
Clean Cotton wool strips
- Make a paste using one part honey and one part cinnamon in the glass/ceramic bowl (adjust the quantities until you have enough to cover the affected areas)
- Apply a thin layer over the blackheads, then press a clean strip of cotton wool over it
- Leave it on to absorb all the goodness for 3 - 5 minutes
- Remove and wash off your face with lukewarm water and your all natural cleanser
- Pat dry and apply your moisturiser
Yes, baking soda is not just for baking! It can be turned into a potent potion for for busting out those blackheads. Baking soda can act as a natural and inexpensive way to occasionally exfoliate, clean out anything clogging your pores, that is because it has wonderful small, fine, granules. On top of that, baking soda helps to neutralise the skin’s pH and while pH may or may not have a role to play in blackheads, neutralising it encourages the skin to produce less oil. On that note make sure you don’t overdo it as it can seriously dry out your skin.
You will need…
1 tbsp of Baking soda (add more if you need too)
A glass/ceramic bowl
- In the bowl mix around a tablespoon of baking soda with a small amount of water, enough to form a thick but spreadable paste
- Using a gentle circular motion, massage the paste into your skin for a few moments
- Allow to dry for about 10 mins
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, pat your face dry and of course apply an all natural moisturiser
You can repeat the remedy once or twice a week, but if you find your skin drying out, cut down.
No Beuno for Blackheads
Over-washing: Now I know this sounds a bit contradictory but over-washing your face can be just as damaging as not washing at all. Thoroughly cleaning twice a day will do the trick for most skin types. Over cleansing your skin can dry it out and cause irritation. To counteract this your skin may start to over produce oil, ultimately producing more blackheads and acne.
No Picking/Squeezing: Resist the temptation, the worst thing that you can do is to squeeze or pick them. Be patient and let your skincare routine do what it is meant to do. Patience is the way to go, as tempting as it is to pick at blackhead, resist! It will only make the long-term situation worse.
Be nice to your skin: Remember one of the most important things - be gentle with your skin! You are going to spend the rest of your life with it, so treat it well. Nobody wants blackheads and we all want to get rid of them straightaway but using strong products can damage and irritate your skin. Try to avoid over-stimulating your face with multiple products and rough exfoliation routines. Remember to be patient, you will see results.
Big Blackhead Myths
Can you shrink your pores? No, sadly not. Pores are holes that cover your body and house sebaceous gland and hair follicles. They are not muscles and cannot open or close. They can be stretched so keeping them clear of blockages is important. Pores can be made to appear smaller by using astringents such as lemon juice (see natural remedies above) which cause the skin tissue to contract. Many factors such as age, genetics and sun exposure have an effect on your pores. But when it comes down to it there is now way to magically shrink pores.
Dirt Causes Blackhead - Blackheads are not caused by dirt. Dead skin and sebum build-up in pores reacts with oxygen turning the substance at the surface black, especially so if you have larger pores, there is no dirt involved in this process!
Sebaceous Filaments vs Blackheads - Sebaceous filaments are small greyish/tan dots that appear usually grouped together on your nose, upper cheeks, forehead and chin. They are the ones that when squeezed pop out like whitish spikes, unlike blackheads whose plug is darker than the rest of what comes out (not that you should squeeze them). The good news is that they are basically made up from our naturally occurring sebum which is good for our skin, creating a waterproof barrier that fights bacterial and fungal infection keeping skin protected and healthy. Sebum is an ingredient in most spots/pimples/white heads/blackhead but you should never aim to get rid of it completely as it is beneficial for your skin. The not so good news is you cannot permanently get rid of sebaceous filaments. After being extracted they fill up usually around 30 days later, if not sooner, but all is not lost. You can minimise them with masks/peels (the enzyme peel is my favourite), keep an eye out for the blog on the best ways. The important thing is not to confuse sebaceous filaments with blackhead.
Note: When you use pore strips mostly what is coming out is sebaceous filaments
We would love to hear from you about how you get on and what you find works best. Good luck banishing those black heads!