Is it OK to remove a blackhead?
Let’s face it – who isn’t intrigued by those TIKTOK pimple popping videos? The bigger the blackhead the better. In the ear and even inner nose blackheads are frightening! Ouch!!!
Having been in the skincare business for so long, I know those people are upset by how their skin looks and feels. I feel sorry for those people who have let their blackheads get as large and unmanageable as they are and can’t help but wonder why didn’t they remove them sooner? Was it because they didn’t know they could be safely removed? Was it because they thought it would make them worse or infected? Was it because they felt like they had to go to a professional and didn’t know one or couldn’t afford it? I guess there are many possible reasons why people let their acne get out of hand, but with blackheads, I definitely know we can help those who have them.
If you, or a loved one has an obvious blackhead that needs to be removed, I hope the following will help:
1/ Of course, the most obvious is to prevent blackheads from forming in the first place. And that, my friends, is an entirely different, long blog post. Bottom line is to get a skincare routine that works for you and your skin type. FOLLOW IT RELIGIOUSLY. Use a topical medication that prevents pimples from forming. The primary topical ingredients to prevent acne are: Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, Glycolic Acid and Sulfur. If you are unsure which topical medication would work best for you, please reach out – we are happy to help (for FREE!).
2/ If you already HAVE blackheads, being responsible skincare professionals, we should tell you that getting professional extractions is the best route. There are extraction kits (sounds kind of scary, I know) that are sold everywhere (here is one I found on Amazon) that use similar tools you will find at an esthetician’s office. But I have to tell you from years and years of experience in this business as well as being Pamela’s guinea pig for extractions – these tools are extremely tricky to use, especially on oneself. If you can’t afford to go into a professional’s office to have the blackheads removed, then consider asking someone else to remove them with the tools, applying pressure evenly around the blackhead with the circular tool and not too forcefully. Do not press so hard that you puncture the skin around the blackhead. Prep your skin by thoroughly washing it with facial cleanser and rinse well to remove oil and bacteria. Use only clean or gloved hands. If you have an at-home facial steamer, use it for 10-15 minutes to soften the impactions. If you don’t have a steamer then do your extractions after a warm shower. After you have successfully removed the blackhead, use ice to decrease the swelling and apply a topical medication listed above to keep the area sterile.
3/ Topical Medication: For a fantastic, easy and inexpensive way to get rid of existing, smallish blackheads (particularly around the nose), we recommend our favorite topical medication of all time – Salicylic Acid. It is a beta-hydroxy acid that increases cell turnover and unclogs pores. It is an incredible, natural exfoliant which will not only prevent blackheads from forming and decrease existing blackheads, it will, over time, reduce the appearance of fine lines. It is truly a topical solution that I believe every human, of all ages over 13-14, should be using on a daily basis.
4/ Professional extraction: In some cases, blackheads get so large and deep (think of the ones that I was referring to at the beginning of this blog – the ones that are huge) they may require not only professional extraction, but in the case of cystic blackheads could require a minor surgery to remove the cyst sac. Careful excision of these is necessary to prevent their return and to reduce permanent scarring on the skin.
With any skin wound or abnormality, a DIY approach is typically the first plan of attack. However, if it starts to get swollen, painful, warm or hot to the touch or shows other signs of deeper involvement in the skin, consulting with a skincare professional is recommended.