How to get rid of blackheads

how to get rid of blackheads

Blackheads are a common skin condition facing many skincare enthusiasts. These tiny dots may seem satisfying to squeeze at first, but they can make your skin blotchy and irritated, which can lead to scarring and inflammation.

For many looking for a long-lasting solution to this pesky condition, this article dwells on alternative blackhead treatments aside from popping them with your hands. Before we discuss how to get rid of blackheads, what are blackheads?

What are blackheads?

Blackheads are commonly called open comedones or skin pores that connect your sebaceous gland, facial muscles, and hair follicles. For blackheads to occur, the skin pores have to get filled with dirt, which usually consists of external pollutants, sebum, and dead skin. Blackheads can occur anywhere on the body, however, you are likely to see blackheads on nose and T-zone areas of your face.

What do blackheads look like?

Many people often wonder how and what blackheads look like on the skin. Blackheads are easy to spot as they are a special kind of acne that appears as a dark-colored bump on the skin's surface.

This dark elevation, or bump, consists of oxidized dirt in your skin pores. In many cases, blackheads are often confused with sebaceous filaments due to their strikingly similar appearance.

Sebaceous filaments vs blackheads

Knowing the difference between sebaceous filaments vs blackheads might seem tricky, as both skin blemishes appear similar in appearance. However, there are numerous differences between them.

Sebaceous filaments are thin appendages or bumps that occur when the sebaceous glands overproduce sebum. Usually, sebum filaments contain excess sebum and dead skin and are usually yellow, off-white, or even brown thread-like growth. Blackheads are a type of acne that clogs the pores due to product buildup, excess debris buildup, and excess sebum production. They appear dark brown to black and can grow larger, unlike sebaceous filaments.

While both can appear almost anywhere in the body, blackheads are more likely to appear in non-obvious places. People have confirmed blackheads in ears, inner thighs, buttocks, and even armpits.

In addition, extracting blackheads allows for fast healing, and with a paper skincare routine, blackheads may not return. On the other hand, sebaceous filaments are more likely to return within 14 to 30 days after extraction, especially in those with oily skin.

Difference between pimples and blackheads

Acne comes in different forms, and among these forms are pimples and blackheads. Pimples and blackheads differ in appearance, and a key indicator is inflammation.

Pimples are a skin condition that occurs due to inflamed or clogged sebaceous glands containing infected hair follicles and dead skin. This skin condition usually arises due to the presence of pimple-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acne, and appears red and swollen. Pimples vary in size and can either be small or big; you can also get pimples in any part of your body.

Blackheads are not inflamed, nor are they swollen, red, or tender to touch. Many deep blackheads are not even noticeable at first glance, unlike pimples. Since you can experience both pimples and blackheads at the same time, differentiating them can be a tad difficult.

However, another good way to spot a pimple from a blackhead and vice versa is to check the tip or heads. Blackheads have well-defined heads that are highly pigmented (black) and, upon extraction, contain solidified sebum. If you notice a freckle-like formation on your face, there is a high chance that you need blackheads removal. Pimples have red tips that contain deposits of pus when extracted.

what are blackheads

What causes blackheads?

There are many causes of blackheads, and many of these factors are beyond human control. In certain cases, multiple factors can affect a person experiencing blackheads. For many wondering what causes blackheads, here are the major triggers:


For many preteens, teens, and even young adults experiencing acne and blackheads on face, one of the biggest causes is hormones due to puberty. The presence of high levels of the DHT hormone (dihydrotestosterone) triggers excess sebum production, and without the right skincare routine or grooming process, these oils can get trapped and cause acne and blackheads on chin.

Poor skincare routine

The essence of a skincare routine is to get rid of dead skin cells and dirt on your skin. When you fail to adopt a proper skincare routine that gets rid of debris, it can clog your pores and cause blackheads.

what causes blackheads


Shaving with a razor is a common hair removal method that increases blackhead occurrence. Without cleaning or exfoliating the shaving area, the surrounding hair follicles can get exposed to bacteria and other irritants, causing blackheads.

Your skin type

If you produce excess sebum on your nose or T-zone areas, you are more likely to experience blackheads on cheeks. People with oily skin or combination skin types produce more sebum than other types and are thus more prone to blackheads.

how to get rid of blackheads on nose

Best treatment for blackheads

When dealing with blackheads, there are different kinds of treatments you can choose from, and they include:

OTC treatment: There are multiple over-the-counter (OTC) treatments to treat blackheads. These treatments contain beneficial components like alpha and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid and glycolic acid, respectively. Skin components like this work by exfoliating the skin and are one of the best treatments if you are looking for how to get rid of blackheads on the nose. After using these OTC treatments, pair them with a hydrating moisturizer to maintain your skin's moisture and hydration.

blackheads on nose

Professional blackhead extraction: If you are looking for ways on how to get rid of blackheads or quick procedures that remove blackheads, then consult a professional comedone or blackhead extraction. A dermatologist will use a sterile metal loop-like material to remove each blackhead. After extracting these deep blackheads, your face is then treated to reduce inflammation and redness.

Chemical peels: Chemical peels are great for blackheads on forehead and involve using glycolic acid or other acids in the same class in high concentration to exfoliate the skin. This result can be instantaneous or take months to reveal smoother and shiner skin. Although chemical peels are one of the best treatment for blackheads, they must be performed by a dermatologist or a licensed aesthetician.

How to prevent blackheads

If you are interested in how to prevent blackheads in the future, follow a strict hair and skincare routine by using oil-free and noncomedogenic products, especially if you have oily or combination skin. Avoid irritating your skin, and ensure you scrub your face lightly while washing or exfoliating.

blackheads removal


In addition, keep your hands to yourself and avoid touching your face with dirty fingers. When you get acne, do not pop or squeeze them out; instead, let them heal naturally to avoid scarring.

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