So you’ve got a blackhead. A blackhead, also known as a small clogged pore or open comedone, has a black appearance due to the oxidation of the trapped substances. If you’ve ever tried to pop a blackhead, you’ve probably experienced the harsh reality that popping these bad boys only leads to more. Thankfully Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology, has all the solutions. Here’s how to get rid of blackheads fas—and for good.
It All Starts With Prevention
Stop using comedogenic products.
“Avoid ingredients like coconut oil, isopropyl myristate, and sodium laureth sulfate,” Lortscher advises. “Instead, look for products containing a beta hydroxy acid, like salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is common in many over-the-counter skincare products.”
Start using prescription ingredients.
“Sometimes, blackheads require a more powerful solution than what’s available over the counter. Curology is one simple way to get prescription ingredients in a formula customized for your specific skin concerns, including blackheads,” Lortscher says. “The formulas are power-packed with active ingredients tretinoin and azelaic acid to fight blackheads in addition to inflamed acne, wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and more.”
“‘Smoker’s face’ is the term dermatologists use to describe the heavily wrinkled, sallow, coarse skin with large blackheads seen in those who have smoked for years,” Lortscher warns. “Smokers have more acne than nonsmokers.”
Start applying sunscreen daily.
“Applying sunscreen is a long-term investment. You won’t see the effects of sun exposure immediately, but chronic sun exposure over years may lead to large pores, blackheads, and/or whiteheads,” Lortscher explains. “Damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun is responsible for up to 80% of skin aging approximately.”
Dr. Lortscher’s Product Recommendations For Blackhead Removal
“Use prescription ingredients like tretinoin or azelaic acid,” the dermatologist suggests. “Tretinoin encourages rapid cell turnover, helping to reduce clogged pores. Azelaic acid acts by fighting acne-causing bacteria and also by decreasing plugging of the follicles—the initial event that leads to blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed blemishes.”
A final reminder
Lortscher has one golden rule for beating blackheads: “Do not pick, squeeze, or attempt to extract blackheads,” he urges. “This can lead to scarring and worsen breakouts! In certain skin types, inflamed acne blemishes may leave narrow deep divots, called ‘icepick’ scars. These may look like enlarged pores, but are actually scars.”