A gentleman’s face is always serious business, and one of the most frustrating problems most blokes endure is oily skin. Why? Because from oily skin comes blackheads. And they can ruin even the best days.
Blackheads are those familiar black dots that pop up on your skin (usually your face) with the highest oil levels. Common areas include your nose, chin and forehead. They’re a double punch – no one likes a greasy face, but these beady little guys make the problem even worse.
While they look like an accumulation of dirt, blackheads are caused by your hormones. They produce oil on some parts of the skin more than others. Your pores in these areas get overloaded and mix the oil with dead skin cells. Throw in some oxygen and the whole combination of oil and dead cells oxidise – BAM! and like that, we have blackheads.
It’s impossible to stop them altogether, but there are many ways to help reduce blackheads and remove their effect on your appearance (and self-esteem). Here are the 5 best, most effective ways to do it.
- Pore Strips
They might sound like something on your girlfriend’s shopping list, but pore strips are great for removing blackheads fast. Just like waxing hair, pore strips are products that you apply over your nose or oily area and yank off fast.
If done correctly, the blackheads will stick to the strip and get pulled cleanout. They will look like tiny hairs. There’s a variety of special strips for pores on the market, and you can find them at your local chemist or pharmacy. Some come in single strips, while more expensive packs contain two or even three strips with different functions.
- Use a Mask
It’s not exactly the mark of Batman (though we reckon he was hiding blackheads of his own), but blackhead removal masks are effective and affordable. It comes as a lotion that you rub on your T-zone within thin layers. Wait for it to dry so it can bond together and peel off when it’s done. Your blackheads will come with it.
There’s a range of options available out there, so do your research on which product is right for your face and give it a run.
- Use a cleanser
Yes, those notorious acne-cleaning face washes do help reduce blackhead build-up - but salicylic acid is what you’re really looking for. Find it in soaps as well as cleansers, and leave-on gels with this as an active ingredient.
Salicylic acid helps to unclog your pores and prevent permanent marks. It therefore also helps dissolve those annoying blackheads. Using it for a few weeks will remove some blackheads but loosen up others – so if you’re not seeing full results you might have to go with pore strips as well.
Most of the above tips are for stripping blackheads complete, but in doing so they can also remove much-needed oils from your face. You know what they say, the best treatment is often prevention. It’s true for blackheads too. A high-quality moisturiser will keep the skin on your nose, chin and forehead healthy. It will keep the oils balanced and stop the surface from drying out, which often happens as a result of exfoliation or other skin treatments.
- See a dermatologist
If your blackheads are becoming a serious worry, a dermatologist can help. Not all blackhead infestations (sorry, gross visual!) can be fixed with the methods above. So if you have tried everything above for little to no results, go and see a specialist. As well as access to more powerful prescription-based products, dermatologists also carry tools to clear problem areas on the spot.
You can do your best to stop blackheads but it happens to almost everyone. Genetics impact some more than others, but everyone can help reduce blackheads with the methods above. Follow them to achieve healthier, smoother skin.