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GdnGrl Blog - skin care

Blackheads: 5 ways to treat blackheads at home

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Ok first let's just all acknowledge that this is one of those icky things that most people don't really want to talk about (which also explains why there isn't a photo for this post...blech). But the fact is, many people suffer from blackheads and they can become quite a nuisance unless you know how to effectively treat them.

First, what are blackheads exactly? Blackheads form when tiny pores fill up with gunk like dead skin cells and sebum (skin's natural oil). This gunk gets trapped and forms a bump called a "comedone". The "black" in blackheads is not dirt, but instead its the comedone being exposed to oxygen. If it doesn't oxidize, a blackhead can actually be white or yellow. 

So how can we treat blackheads at home? Luckily there are many effective ways, and in the end - it's best to use a combination of these if you'd like to keep your skin free of blackheads. And note that one of the most widely used "methods" is not on the list - and that is squeezing. I know it's tempting but it can actually leave your skin looking worse and can cause irritation and even infection. So just don't do it. Really.

Instead, here are 5 tried and true, effective ways to naturally treat blackheads at home:

  1. Avoid pore-clogging ingredients in your skin care products, often called "comedogenic" ingredients - like petroleum products (petrolatum) and mineral oil. Note: all Garden Girl products are "non-comedogenic" - they do not contain pore-clogging ingredients.
  2. After cleansing, use a toner that contains tea tree oil or witch hazel, like Even Ste(pH)en.  In a pinch, you can even use cider vinegar. Using a proper toner will help clear pores and prepare your skin for other treatments.
  3. Use a natural clay masque weekly. Clay masques, like Cookies + Cream, help draw out toxins and clear out pores. They naturally exfoliate and smooth skin, and help tighten pores. 
  4. Use a glycolic acid peel 2-4 times weekly. A glycolic acid peel, like Break Free, uses alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to remove dead skin cells by dissolving the "glue" that traps the dead cells on your skin. Other effective products are those that contain beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid). 
  5. Use a microderm scrub 2-4 times weekly as an alternative or in addition to a peel (from #4 above) Note: if you decide to use this in conjunction with an AHA or BHA peel, take care to avoid over exfoliating by alternating the methods and exfoliating in total no more than 4 times per week. A microderm scrub, like Starting Over, allows you to gently scrub skin to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores. 

So that's it! If you stick to these methods your skin will look clearer and pores will look smaller. If you find that there are times when you do just want to remove the ones you have, check out this video for recipes to make your own "Biore" style pore strips. 

Here's to clear skin!

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