The worst part about blackheads on the nose, chin, and cheeks is that they never seem to go away. Other pimples are inflamed and, if left alone, grow to dissipate on their own. Blackheads, though, are neither inflamed nor painful. They are caused by excess oil buildup in the pores and blockage by dead skin cells. The reason they are black is because the oil in the pore is exposed to oxygen. This can happen to anyone, but blackheads are most common in people with naturally oily or combination skin. Unfortunately, there is no way to control excess oil production in many cases. It can be due to hormones, genetics, stress, or the environment. It certainly is not easy, but it is possible to combat blackheads to make them disappear for good (or at least make it very hard for them to appear).
Here are some tricks to try:
- Give yourself a steam facial every week. Oddly enough, it was my grandfather who told me this when I was around 8 years old. It is highly beneficial for opening up your pores and breaking down the oxidized oil “plugs” that are causing blackheads. Heat some water, take the lid off and let the steam wash over your face (very important note: do not stick your head in or very close to the pot, simply leaning over slightly will do) Do this for about 10 minutes. If it gets too hot or uncomfortable, you can follow this procedure by applying a warm compress to your face for the same amount of time. Also, if you’d like, you can add essential oils and herbs to the water to make it more effective.
- A wide range of natural face masks and peels are also very effective. Strawberries contain essential fruit acids including salicylic acid, which is very effective against acne. Honey also contains strong antiseptic properties. Mash a few strawberries together and add a teaspoon of honey to the pulp to form a paste. Use as a facemask and rinse off after 20 minutes.
- Lemon juice to the rescue. Mixing together ½ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed orange juice and a packet of plain gelatin and heating the mixture for 15 seconds makes a good DIY peel. Leave it for a few minutes after heating to set, and then apply to your face with a paintbrush and peel off when it is dry.
- Try whisking an egg and applying a layer to your face and let it dry for 15 minutes. The egg white draws oils out while the egg yolk moisturizes your skin. Rinse off with a warm washcloth (this may require light scrubbing).
- If your blackheads are particularly large and stubborn, mix one teaspoon of Epson salt and 3 drops of iodine into hot water and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball. The sulfur part of the compound disinfects your skin while the Epsom salt helps to sooth and clean pores.
Even with uncontrollable factors playing a role in blackhead appearances, as always, proper skin care minimizes their effects on blackheads. Washing your face daily, and exfoliating a few times a week, can help prevent the accumulation of too much oil and dead skin cells and reduces chances of blackheads altogether.
Happy Monday everyone!