Ultimate Guide: How To Get Rid of Blackheads

by John Griffith

Blackheads can be a pain, especially when you have to deal with them on your own. Every time you squeeze one of them away, you find dozens more to tackle. That’s why we’re here to help you along the way. Blackheads are one of the most common forms of acne. While people with oily skin are more prone to blackheads, anyone can get them and at any age! However, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to treat them. Sometimes when you squeeze a blackhead, you find yourself facing an angry bump instead, and immediately regret it. And even if the squeeze happens to be satisfying at the moment, the peskiness of blackheads can wear on anyone. So what is the best way to clear your skin from this type of acne? We’ve collected the best methods out there to help you get rid of those pesky blackheads.

Blackheads are one of the most common forms of acne

blackhead remover woman with drawn on blackheads

Pimples and Blackheads

While blackheads are a form of acne, they do have some differences. Before you go about trying to rid your skin of blackheads, it helps to first understand what they really are.  Just like a pimple, blackheads also are created when a plug happens inside of the follicle. They are created when pores become clogged with a mix of too much oil and dead skin cells. However, the difference is, that the plug develops at the surface of the skin and not deeper within the pore. And while it may seem like dirt is trapped inside of your pore, that black spot isn’t actually dirt. Whiteheads create closed pores. However, blackheads have open surfaces. Since they are open this creates oxidation and they get their dark and blackish color.

How to get rid of blackheads

how to get rid of blackheads on nose woman reading book with mask

What Causes Blackheads?

A bad combination of bacteria, oil and dirt mixed together deep into the pours can cause both blackheads and other types of acne. If you leave your pores unattended, all of these thing will eventually build up. All of the dirt and oil creates bumby, rough, and scratchy skin. Anybody can get blackheads, however if you already have oily or combination skin, you are more prone to get them. If you feel like your nose if full of them, you are not making it up. Around the nose is where people have the most sebaceous glands. This consequently means that in that spot there is more oil, and so, clogged pored are much more likely.

Everyone can get blackheads

pimples and blackheads blackhead tools

Best Way To Remove Blackheads

Now that we know what blackheads are, how they form, and how they differ from whiteheads and other types of pimples, we can move on to removing them. Here are all the best tips and tricks on how to remove blackheads.

Here are all the best tips and tricks

how to remove deep blackheads two faces

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a popular over-the-counter ingredient in many skin cleansers. It breaks down dead skin cells and extra oil before they can clog your pores. The acid may be harsh on some people’s skin, so start by putting it on every other day, rather than daily. See how your skin reacts.

AHAs and BHAs

Еxfoliating products have a bad rep. This is because in some cases they may have a negative effect on acne. However, this can be true for inflammatory acne, as the process can cause further redness and irritation. For blackheads, exfoliation is great as it removes any great amounts of dead skin cells. They are typically what leads to clogged pores. The process may also gently remove existing blackheads. Don’t go for harsh scrubs, focus on alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). Glycolic acid is one of the most familiar types of AHA. Salicylic acid is also a eminant BHA. Both work by removing the top layer of your skin. This can improve the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, as well as clean pores and making your skin softer.

Regular exfoliation can help remove excessive amounts of dead skin cells

what causes blackheads woman with aha bha

Skin Brush

A skin brush is a great exfoliater with benefits similar to some AHAs and BHAs. Use skin brushes occasionally and with a gentle cleansing wash. This will help clear the skin and pores. Avoid the use of a brush altogether if you have sensitive skin. Depending on your needs and budget, there are a variety of skin brushes available on the market. Keep in mind if you don’t use them the way you should, it can make acne worse.


Retinoid creams and lotions are made from vitamin A. This vitamin can help unclog your pores. They also help the body produce new skin cells. You can find some retinoids over the counter in drugstores, but you’ll need a prescription for most. Keep in mind retinoids make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so you should use these creams and lotions before bed and out of the sun. Always wear sunscreen.

Vitamin A can help unclog your pores

blackhead removal retinol

Lactic Acids

Lactic acids are amazing for blackheads, since they help break up the glue that keeps dead skin cells together. It can help dissolve the keratin plug in the blackhead and remove it.

Non-Comedogenic products

The right mask, cleanser, and exfoliator will do little to nothing if you are not using any noncomedogenic makeup and face products. Noncomedogenic means that the product does not cause comedones, as well as clogged up pores. However, not all products are noncomedogenic, so make sure to read product labels carefully.

Charcoal or Clay

Clay and charcoal masks help to draw oils and toxins out of the skin, which consequently helps to unclog pores. While these products won’t necessarily give a detox effect to the skin, over time they can help get rid of blackheads, as well as help you manage other types of acne issues. Some masks also contain sulfur. Sulfur works to break down the dead skin cells that make up blackheads. You can use them in two ways, either as it is directed as a mask, or as a overnight spot treatment. Just make sure to moisturizer your skin well afterwards, as they can have a drying effect.

Clay and charcoal masks help to draw oils and toxins out of the skin

how to pop blackheads charcoal masks

How To Remove Deep Blackheads?

Over days, and sometimes even years buildup is created and that results in some deep blackheads. If a pore has gotten clogged, and then oil continues to get built up even deeper. And if you leave them unextracted they will stay in the skin forever, building up with every day. Here is how to get rid of blackheads that go deep.

When a pore becomes clogged, oil continues to build up deeper

popping blackheads woman with glowing skin

Acne Medication

If the clog is too deep for other remedies, healthcare professionals usually administer antibiotics alongside other topical treatments to help remove the blackhead.

Topical Creams

Topical treatments are used for acne, which means they can also treat deep blackheads. Apply topical treatments directly to the affected area of the skin. They typically come in the form of a gel, cream, lotion, or wash. Things like antibiotics, azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, corticosteroids and more.

Topical treatments are used for acne and blackheads

blackheads on face woman holding cream

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are super effective. During a chemical peel, exfoliating liquids are brushed over the face. These ingredients can vary depending on the intensity of the peel, however alpha-hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid are most common. They are an effective treatment for blackheads. Stronger masks are best done by professionals.

Professional Help

If you cannot handle extracting them by yourself, search for professional help. Go to an aesthtician or a dermatologist. With the help of comedone extractors, which is a tool. You place it onto the skin around the blackhead and apply pressure. After that the blackhead gets released.

How to get rid of blackheads

best way to remove blackheads aesthetician

Light Therapy

Light therapy helps controls the skin’s sebum production, all while offering antibacterial benefits. The treatment works by using infrared light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cells, which encourage the reproduction of new cells.


Microdermabrasion is a done with a little device. This special device uses micro-sized crystals that gets sprayed over the blackheads. The little crystals remove the dead skin cells which means they help relieve the pores of the buildup. This procedure is okay to be done on all parts of the body. It also helps to to achieve a smaller appearence of the pores.

The little crystals remove the dead skin cells

how to remove a blackhead that won't come out microdermabrasion

Popping Blackheads

You can get your blackheads popped by a professional, an aesthetician, or you can do it yourself at home. However, if you do choose to take matters into your own hands it’s best to know how to do it safely. Here is how to extract a blackhead.

Pop your blackheads safely 

blackheads on face waking up with a refreshing splash

  • First you need to release your pores. Make sure to spend some time inside of a hot bath or shower. Steam helps the pores relax. Then the clog inside of the pores will start to get loose on their own.
  • Always wash your hands. This is very important as it will help prevent an infection from spreading on the layer of the skin where bacteria gets caught. For extra safety, you can use some latex or another type of gloves.
  • You should make sure to apply slight pressure around the pore the blackhead is in. Just in case, use a clean cotton pad or a tissue as a barrier between the blackhead and your fingers.
  • Use your fingertips to rock around the blackhead back and forth. Don’t forget you want to get the clog to pop out whole. The blockage is just dead skin cells and dried-up sebum. You’ll probably need to try different positions and the pressure of your fingers. However, don’t press too hard, as you can bruise and even cut your skin.
  • Sometimes the clog doesn’t want to come out. If that’s the case, give your skin time to rest and recover from all the picking. After everything has calmed down, you can try again.
  • Cleanse the area with some light cleanser or toner. This will make sure any harmful bacteria get destroyed. This will also help keep the pores clean and free.
  • Ice the area for a few minutes afterward to help decrease redness and inflammation.

Wash your face and hands

blackhead removal foam on face

How To Prevent Blackheads?

Now that we know how to get rid of blackheads, it’s time to learn how to prevent them all together. Here is what you can do to ensure those pesky little dots do not return to your skin.

  • Wash your face when you get up, before bed, and after you sweat.
  • Put non-abrasive cleaners on your skin gently, using your fingertips.
  • Shampoo your hair regularly. Oily hair can lead to oil build
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Make sure to change your pillowcases often.Dirt from the pillowcase can transfer to the face.
  • Avoid oil-based cleaners as well. These cleansers, which can contain oils like argan, rosehip, and jojoba oils, among others
  • Use topical or oral retinoids, including prescription medications like tretinoin or Retin-A.
  • Do not squeeze and pop. Squeezing blackheads ultimately leave the skin unhappy. You can cause damage to the surrounding skin that it becomes even more damaged and inflamed. The hands and nails can have so much bacteria and it can transfer to the face. This will just lead to an even worse type of painful acne.
  • Avoid at home extractions. If you do not do the right, the extractions can potential scars that may be permanent.
  • OTC suction devices. While these little machines say they can help get all the bad stuff out of the pores, that isn’t really true. They do suck, but they suck too hard if you don’t use the right pressure. It’s tricky to use them.
  • Scrubbing with washcloths, sponges, or other harsh abrassive can irritate the skin.
  • Avoid the sun since. Always wear sunscreen. Some acne medicine, such as retinol, can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
  • Use alcohol-free skin products.
  • Microdermabrasion tools at home. Microdermabrasion is designed to help exfoliate the skin. This procedure is usually done in a dermatologist cabinet. While you can get these devices for yourself, but we do not recommened. If you don’t know how to use them, you can ruin your skin.

Prevent blackheads with all these tips

popping blackheads cream on face

We hope you found this ultimate guide on how to get rid of blackhead useful! Now you can go tackle those pesky blackheads safely.

How to get rid of blackheads

pimples and blackheads woman washing her face

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.