The Best Blackhead Removal Tools & Treatments for 2021
Are you battling with reoccurring blackheads? Looking for safe and effective blackhead removal tools to extract an annoying blackhead? Want to learn how to stop blackheads from coming back? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve researched and tested the best blackhead removal tools, treatments, and skin care products available to bring you this complete guide to blackhead removal.
Before we get into effective tools to remove and prevent blackheads, it’s important to understand exactly what blackheads are and how they are formed. Our skin is covered in tiny little openings on the surface called pores. Sometimes our pores can become filled (or clogged) with dead skin cells and sebum. A blackhead is formed when an open pore becomes clogged. As a result of the pore remaining open, the skin proteins and oils that are trapped inside of the pore turn black as a result of being exposed to air through a process called oxidation. Typically, only the contents at the surface of the clogged pore turn black (hence the term black-head). Alternatively, if a clogged pore remains closed and the contents are not exposed to oxygen, then a whitehead can eventually form instead.
Thus, the two most common causes of blackheads are actually dead skin cells and sebum or oil. As a result, oily skin types are especially prone to blackhead formation. Our skin produces excess oil + sebum as a result of hormonal changes, poor diet, and excessive cleansing of the skin. Oftentimes, oily skin types will use harsh soaps and powerful astringents in an effort to remove excess oil from the skin, but this can actually backfire. These harsh soaps not only remove the excess oil, but they also strip your skin of its natural, protective oils. In an attempt to replenish the lost moisture, your skin will actually overcompensate by producing more oil. Blackheads can also be caused by using skin care and makeup products which contain comedogenic ingredients (i.e. ingredients that can clog the pores). A compound is considered “comedogenic” if it is small enough to get trapped inside of our pores.
Should you remove blackheads?
With the right tools and technique, blackhead removal can be safe and effective. The biggest risk with blackhead removal is overly aggressive picking. For some people, removing blackheads can become an obsessive or even addictive activity. Handy blackhead removal tools can create the temptation to clear every single clogged pore on your face. Too much picking can cause scarring, dark spots, and even promote breakouts. All of which are harder to treat than the actual blackhead itself. Additionally, blackhead removal is temporary. Unless you adopt a skin care routine designed to prevent blackheads, your blackheads will return time and time again. This leads to more picking and more skin damage. Check out our guide to blackhead prevention at the bottom of this page for more information on how to stop blackhead formation.
Unfortunately, many popular blackhead removal techniques and products can be extremely damaging on the skin. Things like pore strips, homemade glue masks, abrasive scrubs, and poorly designed blackhead removal tools can cause bruises, strip away healthy skin & oils, and even create scars on the surface of the skin.
The purpose of this guide is to provide a list of safe, gentle, and effective blackhead removal tools and skin care options. You’ll learn lots of tips & tricks on how to remove and prevent blackheads without damaging your skin. With the right tools (and a little self-discipline), you can achieve beautiful, clear, and blackhead free skin in no time!
Price : $20
An amazing blackhead extraction tool sold by the queen of blackhead removal herself: Dr. Pimple Popper (aka Dr. Lee). Dr. Lee is a board-certified dermatologist who became famous for her blackhead extraction videos. This stainless-steel blackhead extractor features a large flat loop on one end and a small angled loop on the other (for acne). The large flat loop is perfect for all blackheads---small or large. Simply place the loop over the blackhead and apply gentle pressure to each side until dislodged.
Shop DR. PIMPLE POPPER – BLACKHEAD EXTRACTOR
Price : $23
A sturdy stainless-steel blackhead removal tool that comes with three different extractors: a small loop, an angled loop, and a lancet. The angled loop caps onto the lancet for safe storage. While we do not encourage the use of lancets on acne or blackheads, this lancet is expertly designed to be a bit safer than traditional needle-like lancets. For most blackheads, the small loop tool will work perfectly. Remember, don't go overboard on a stubborn blackhead. Instead, apply treatment and wait until it is ready.
Shop SEPHORA – 3-IN-1 BLACKHEAD EXTRACTOR
Price : $34
Salicylic acid works great to eliminate and prevent blackheads by clearing dead skin cells and oil from clogged pores. This gentle cleanser is packed with anti-bacterial and pore-clearing ingredients like willow bark (salicylic acid), tea tree oil, burdock, turmeric, neem, and rosemary. For best results, use twice daily.
Shop *100% PURE – TEA TREE & WILLOW ACNE CLEAR CLEANSER
Price : $39
A super foamy, deep-cleansing, minty fresh cleanser designed for oily skin, blemish-prone skin, and those with congested pores. This natural face wash is such a joy to use! The rhassoul clay and activated charcoal do a fantastic job at absorbing grime and balancing excess oil within clogged pores. At the same time, refreshing peppermint and tea tree oil work their antibacterial magic to soothe breakouts. Leaves skin super clean and hydrated.
Shop *ODACITE – BLACK MINT ALL NATURAL FACE WASH
Price : $44
A great oil-fighting natural cleanser made with ingredients with deep pore cleansing abilities. Tea tree oil and rosemary work to clean excess oil on the surface of the skin while organic algae and cypress oil work to clear clogged pores. It also contains jojoba oil to help replenish and balance your skin's natural oils. Jojoba is a waxy substance which mimics our own sebum without causing excess oiliness. *Suki Skin Care — Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser *SUKI SKIN CARE — EXFOLIATE FOAMING CLEANSER An all-natural and organic exfoliating treatment for all skin types. This neat little jar of face wash exfoliates the skin with granular sugar (non-abrasive) and natural AHA. These organic ingredients gently remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from pores which helps to greatly minimize the occurrence of future whiteheads and blackheads. This is a great weekly treatment for cystic/hormonal acne.
Shop *OSEA MALIBU – OCEAN CLEANSING MUDD FOR OILY SKIN
Price : $48
A gentle mask that features salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy fruit acids, and beta hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells, clear excess oil, and unclogged pores. It also contains a healthy dose of blue tansy oil and aloe leaf juice which are both have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Use up to three times per week to prevent blackheads. Can also be used before blackhead extraction for easier removal.
Shop *HERBIVORE – BLUE TANSY RESURFACING CLARITY MASK
Price : $70
It's hard to find a better ingredient for acne-prone skin than raw manuka honey. That's why this organic manuka honey face mask from La Bella Figura should be tested by all those with stubborn acne. Manuka honey is one of the most potent natural antibacterial agents on the planet. This mask combines the power of authentic manuka honey with other pore-shrinking, acne-busting, oil-balancing ingredients like kaolin clay, black cumin seed oil, willow bark, burdock root, turmeric, myrrh, activated charcoal, and many others! A real work horse.
Shop *LA BELLA FIGURA – PURIFYING MANUKA HONEY FACE MASK
Price : $58
Looking to add a little luxury to your blackhead prevention routine? Look no further than this effective pore-clearing mask from LilFox. The potent mix of ingredients like rhassoul clay, dead sea clay, bamboo charcoal, and turmeric root will work wonders on clogged pores. Unlike most clay masks (which can dry out the skin), this mask will leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed.
Shop *LILFOX – BAMBOO CHARCOAL PURIFYING MASK
Price : $48
This mask definitely ranks amongst our top 5 best organic face masks we've ever tried. This highly active botanical flash mask only needs 5 minutes to get the job done. In just five minutes, this black mask exfoliates, brightens, tightens, and increases circulation. The secret is that this little jar is packed with potent ingredients such as fruit enzymes from pumpkin, fig, and pineapple, hematite, ferulic acid, and two different kinds of mineral-rich sea algae. Definitely NOT suitable for sensitive skin.
Shop *OSEA MALIBU – BLACK ALGAE ORGANIC FLASH MASK
Price : $105
A really potent botanical clay mask designed for oily, acne, blackhead and blemish-prone skin. This mask should really be used more like a monthly treatment than a routine mask. Partly because it's so potent and partly because it's a good way to make this luxurious treat last a while. This super creamy clay mask is made with a powerful blend of herbal acids (pink citrus + hibiscus), botanicals (thyme, vetiver, and chamomile), montmorillonite clay, and sea algae (just to name a few). Provides almost instant results for clogged skin.
Shop *KYPRIS – DEEP FOREST CLAY ORGANIC MASK
Price : $8.99
A simple toner with mild astringent properties to help keep oil under control. Witch Hazel is the star ingredient of this toner because it gently removes oil while soothing the skin. Other ingredients include aloe and grapefruit seed. While this toner comes in a variety of scents, those with acne or inflamed skin should stick to the unscented version as fragrances can irritate the skin further.
Shop *THAYERS – ALCOHOL FREE WITCH HAZEL TONER UNSCENTED
Price : $20
Remove oil, clear pores, and remove dead skin with this simple yet effective toner from S.W. Basics. Made with apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, as well as clary sage and sandalwood essential oils, this toner is ideal for prepping the skin for blackhead removal. After cleansing and steaming your skin, simply apply this toner using a cotton ball to your skin. Then use your favorite blackhead removal tools.
Shop *SW BASICS – APPLE CIDER VINEGAR & WITCH HAZEL TONER
Price : $42
A companion product to 100% Pure's Tea Tree & Willow cleanser. Like the cleanser, this toner is packed with salicylic acid, tea tree oil, neem and antiseptic herbs which work to clear dead skin & excess oil. These ingredients also have antibacterial properties which can soothe acne breakouts as well. Simply pump the product onto a cotton pad and apply to the face & affected areas after cleansing.
Shop *100% PURE – TEA TREE & WILLOW ACNE CLEAR ASTRINGENT
Price : $48
True Botanicals has created an amazing toner for acne-prone and congested skin. It offers the perfect balance of oil-fighting ingredients and hydrating ingredients like green tea, white tea, apple cider vinegar, black willow bark, sandalwood water, milk thistle, aloe, and lavender. Your skin will be left clean, clear, and shockingly soft. This is a great toner for those with sensitive blemish-prone skin who can't use harsh astringents.
Shop *TRUE BOTANICALS – CLEAR NUTRIENT ANTI-ACNE ORGANIC TONER
Price : $28
Get rid of your zits ASAP with this powerful blend of natural ingredients formulated to take down pimples overnight without skin sensitive ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This natural acne spot treatment is made with black cumin seed oil (a natural acne fighter high in zinc) and rosehip oil (helps repair and regenerate damaged skin tissue). This magical formula is perfect for those with very sensitive skin and has a nice tea tree scent. All it takes is one drop on your breakouts.
Shop *BLUME – THE MELTDOWN NATURAL ACNE SPOT TREATMENT
Price : $90
This clearing serum is simply one of the best treatments for acne and blackheads. It's both powerful and all natural. This little bottle is packed with powerful blemish clearing ingredients like zinc, alpha hydroxy acid, green tea, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil. Just apply a small amount to areas affected by blackheads and acne after cleansing and moisturizing. We've seen results in as little as 24 hours.
Shop *KYPRIS – ACNE & BLACKHEAD CLEARING SERUM
Price : $36
This natural face serum was created specifically for problem skin to help diminish blemishes. It's made with just 3, high-quality ingredients. The highest-grade, cold-pressed certified virgin organic black cumin oil (helps purify skin), certified organic cajeput (promotes a blemish-free complexion), and vitamin e (super healer for skin). You can use this serum either as a spot treatment, or mixing it into your moisturizer. It's incredibly concentrated, so you just need a few drops morning and night.
Shop *ODACITE – BLACK CUMIN + CAJEPUT ANTI-PIMPLE ORGANIC SERUM
Price : $58
A natural acne spot treatment crafted with only three ingredients - herbal clay, clove oil and zinc oxide. Herbal clay removes impurities, tightens the pores, tones the skin and exfoliates dead skin cells as it reduces inflammation. Astringent clove oil provides antiseptic benefits to heal the skin faster for a clear complexion. This formulation soothes and repairs damaged and compromised skin that suffers from breakouts, age spots or environmental damage. Can be used under makeup or by itself.
Shop *ILIKE – HERBAL CLAY ACNE SPOT TREATMENT
Price : $22.99
A simple facial steamer designed to prep the skin for blackhead removal. The Kinga steamer is easy to use, works fast, and gets the job done at an affordable price. Simply add water to the tank, turn the machine on, and wait for around 30 seconds for the steam to start flowing. A full-tank of water produces steam for about 8-10 minutes (the perfect amount of time needed to loosen blackheads). As an added bonus, this steamer comes with its own five-piece blackhead removal tool kit.
Shop *KINGA – NANO IONIC FACIAL STEAMER FOR BLACKHEAD REMOVAL
Price : $91.70
If you plan on making steaming a regular part of your skin care regimen (to clear dirt, makeup, and oil from pores), then you may want to invest in a high-quality spa steamer like this one from Panasonic. A full-tank produces a strong stream of steam for 6 minutes (who doesn't have time for a quick 6-minute facial?) and it takes just seconds to heat up. The steamer produces deep-cleansing nano-steam which can open pores and soften even the most stubborn blackheads. It's also quite nice looking and sturdy.
Shop *PANASONIC – SPA FACIAL STEAMER FOR BLACKHEAD REMOVAL
Price : $39.95
Unlike the other steamers mentioned, this steamer can be used as a facial treatment, towel warmer, or as a room humidifier. It has a larger tank that produces steam for up to 30 minutes. You can choose to steam your face for a few minutes before blackhead removal or warm a towel and use it as a direct compress after cleansing. This steamer also comes with a 5-piece stainless steel blackhead extractor kit. A great little multi-functional tool for a variety of skin needs.
Shop *NANOSTEAMER – 3 IN 1 FACIAL STEAMER
Best Blackhead Removal Tools & Extractors
How to Choose the Best Extractors for Removing Blackheads
The first step to clearing blackheads is to find the right blackhead removal tool. Blackhead removal tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes—each designed to tackle a different problem. Unfortunately, many tools that are marketed as “blackhead extractors” are actually designed to treat whiteheads (acne) and shouldn’t be used on blackheads. Because blackhead extraction requires that you apply pressure to the skin, using the wrong tool can result in skin damage including bruises and scars.
To help you select the best tool for your needs, check out this infographic of the best and worst blackhead removal tools:
In addition to choosing the best shaped tool, there are a few other things that you should look for in a good blackhead removal tool. First, find a tool that is made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is a sturdy material that won’t bend when pressure is applied. It also helps to prevent the growth and spread of acne-causing bacteria. Next, only use tools with thick metal loops. Thin metal loops can easily puncture the skin when pressure is applied. The thicker the loop, the less likely it is to cause damage to the skin.
We researched & tested several brands of blackhead removal tools and found these four blackhead removal tools to be the safest & most effective.
Blackhead Removal Guide
How to Safely Remove Blackheads Using Blackhead Removal Tools
Ready to remove those pesky blackheads?
Once you’ve selected the best blackhead removal tool, it’s now time to prepare the skin for blackhead extraction and zap those blackheads. In order to avoid damaging your skin and spreading bacteria around on your face, it is important to prepare your skin for blackhead removal. Proper preparation will clean your skin, open your pores, and make blackhead removal easier so that you don’t have to apply a lot of pressure to your skin while using a blackhead removal tool (which can potentially cause skin damage). Here are five easy steps to prepare your skin for blackhead extraction:
Blackhead Treatment & Prevention
How to design the best skin care routine to prevent blackheads
While blackheads can easily be removed via the extraction process described above, your blackheads will continue to return unless you adopt a skin care regimen designed to prevent blackheads. Remember, the two main causes of blackheads are dead skin cells and excess oil. A great anti-blackhead skin care routine will include products capable of gently removing dead skin cells, dissolving excess oil, balancing your skin’s oil production (to stop overproduction), fighting acne-causing bacteria, and maintaining clear pores.
While that may seem like a lot to ask from your skin care routine, maintaining a blemish free face is actually much easier than it sounds! One simple way to prevent blackheads is to use a clay mask or exfoliant at least once per week. These products literally draw out any impurities from your pores that may cause future blackheads.
Another good tactic is to look for cleansers, toners, and moisturizers which contain blackhead fighting ingredients. There are many natural ingredients which work wonders to absorb & balance oil production as well as slough away dead skin cells. Some of the best ingredients include salicylic acid, alpha & beta hydroxy acids, honey, turmeric, clay (like bentonite clay, French green clay, Fuller’s Earth), charcoal powder, tea tree oil, neem oil, jojoba oil, green tea, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar. If you suffer from acne as well as blackheads, then you’ll also benefit from products which contain the above-mentioned ingredients as well.
Below you will find our recommendations of the best products for fighting blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. We carefully researched and tested each product to ensure that they are effective, contain strong anti-blemish ingredients, and avoid harsh chemicals and preservatives which may further irritate the skin. These products include face washes, toners, clay masks, gentle chemical peels, facial steamers, and treatments. Enjoy!
Cleansers for Blackhead Removal & Prevention
A good facial cleanser for blackheads will contain oil-busting ingredients like tea tree oil, rosemary, salicylic acid, witch hazel, and gentle exfoliating enzymes. You’ll want to avoid cleansers which contain harsh soaps and ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). These strong chemicals can strip your skin of its natural oils and actually cause your skin to over-produce oil to compensate for the dryness. That’s why we highly recommend all-natural and gentle facial cleaners for blackhead-prone, oily, and acnegenic skin types.
From our research, here are four amazing cleansers for blackheads and acne:
Clay Masks & Exfoliators for Blackhead Removal & Prevention
One of the absolute best ways to prevent blackheads is by using an exfoliating facial mask at least once per week. There are three good ways to exfoliate: clay masks, chemical masks, and facial scrubs.
Let’s start with clay masks. A good detoxifying and exfoliating clay mask will contain ingredients that are powerful enough to lift dead skin cells and excess oil from deep within the pores. The best ingredients to look for are clays (like bentonite clay, French green clay, white clay, pink clay, rhassoul clay, and Fuller’s Earth), charcoal powder, green tea powder, turmeric, and honey. You can even make your own clay mask at home. Simply purchase a pure clay powder and add your own ingredients like charcoal powder and green tea powder. Check out our DIY clay mask suggestion below.
Another good option is to choose a chemical exfoliant made from fruit acids (alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy) and salicylic acid. These acids can gently dissolve dead skin cells and any grime that may be lurking within our pores. Again, it is best to avoid powerful acids and chemical peels that may irritate the skin and remove your natural oils. A good chemical exfoliant will be made with fruit acids and enzymes from natural sources like papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, citrus, and apples.
The last option for exfoliation is a gentle facial scrub. A facial scrub is made from tiny exfoliating pieces that physically scrub away dry, dead skin when massaged onto the skin. It is best to avoid facial scrubs that contain rough abrasives (like coconut pieces, sugars, and large salts) because they can cause microscopic tears & scars on the surface of the skin. A gentle scrub is all you need to remove any loose dead skin that may clog your pores. Look for scrubs that contain fine powders like oat flour, almond powder, and kaolin clays.
Based on our research, these are some of the most effective clay masks, chemical masks, and facial scrubs to prevent blackheads and acne:
Toners for Blackhead Removal & Prevention
Toners are a great way to prevent blackheads and acne. Unfortunately, not many people have discovered the benefits of adding a toner to their skin care routine. Toners are used after cleansing (before applying your moisturizer or treatment) as a way to remove any dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that may remain on the skin. Toners can shrink pores, balance oil production, and soften the skin. You’ll want to avoid toners that contain harsh astringents like alcohols. Astringents work by removing the oil on your skin and harsh astringents can remove all of your skin’s natural oils. This can trigger your skin to overproduce oil and create more blackheads. Instead, look for toners which contain natural and gentle astringents like rose water, witch hazel, green tea, and apple cider vinegar.
We tested dozens of toners and found these four natural toners to work best for oily skin types:
Treatments & Serums for Blackhead Removal & Prevention
After cleansing, masking, and toning your skin, the next thing you’ll need to complete your blackhead and acne treatment routine is a solid facial treatment. The goal of the treatment is to hydrate the skin, balance oil production, and provide a layer of antibacterial protection to prevent future breakouts. Many people with blackhead & acne-prone skin types will look for an “oil-free” treatment or moisturizer; however, this may not always be the best solution. Remember, while this may sound counter intuitive, overly dry skin may be the cause of your excess oil production. Your skin is producing a large amount of sebum to replenish natural oils that may be lost via harsh skin care products, dry climate, or dehydration. The better solution is to find products which are designed to hydrate the skin while balancing the natural oils on your skin.
Here are a few treatment options that are effective at preventing blackheads:
Facial Steamers for Blackhead Removal
Using a facial steamer a few times per week is a fantastic way to clear dirt, oil, and dead skin from your pores. Facial steamers work by spray warm steam onto your face which causes your skin to sweat. Sweating causes your pores to open and release any dirt, oil, and debris that may be trapped inside. Not only does steaming help to prevent blackheads, but it also makes it easier to extract existing blackheads since the pores are open.
You don’t have to break the bank to add a facial steamer to your skin care routine. Many affordable facial steamers work just as well as their expensive counterparts. We tested a variety of facial steamers and found these three steamers to work the best: