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!
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: