If your quest for perfect skin is constantly hindered by an army of blackheads that won’t stop no matter how hard you try (FYI, don’t), you’re not alone. As it turns out, we’re all pretty obsessed with blackheads. The most familiar member of the acne family, no one is immune to these facial skin parasites, but there’s a lot of bad advice about getting rid of them.
There is a blackhead removal trick lurking in every corner of the internet if you want to find it, but rest assured that every time you try to use it, a dermatologist somewhere starts crying. Typically, we spent our teenage years rubbing the pit of a particular fruit into our noses, but now we know better.
Instead of a physical scrub that probably only irritates delicate skin, an acid-based exfoliant is perfect for dissolving oil, dirt, and, yes, blackheads. Salicylic acid is another excellent ally in the fight against blackheads. While alpha hydroxy acids act on the skin’s surface to exfoliate dead skin cells and surface dirt, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, which means it can penetrate the pores and dissolve the sebum inside. Exfoliating with a salicylic acid leave-in treatment is a game-changer. Removes dull cells but does not remove essential oils from the skin.
As therapeutic as it may be, all experts agree that squeezing blackheads – for that matter – at any point – will do more harm than good. You risk causing inflammation, damaging the walls of your pores, and spreading bacteria to surrounding tissues, which can cause more extensive breakouts elsewhere on your face.