How to Get Rid of Blackheads – For Real!

How to Get Rid of Blackheads – For Real!

I’ve been want­i­ng to share this guide for a few months now, since I always get a lot of ques­tions about black­heads, along with com­men­tary about how annoy­ing they are and how ugly they can be and why they just won’t go away forever­rrr. So here we go…solution time.

Do You Have Blackheads or Sebaceous Filaments?

Do you feel like you are con­stant­ly pop­ping out tiny black­heads and watch­ing them return over and over to your nose or chin or oth­er areas? Then you may not have black­heads. I have to say that many peo­ple I talk to don’t real­ly have a black­head prob­lem – they have what’s called seba­ceous fil­a­ments. Here’s a quick way to know the dif­fer­ence:

  • Black­heads are open come­dones (a.k.a. pim­ples or acne). They are slight­ly raised and appear black. An extract­ed black­head looks like a solid, usu­al­ly yel­low, wax-like plug with a black tip. It can also become infect­ed.
  • Seba­ceous fil­a­ments are a bit like black­head impos­tors. They are pin-like and come in a choice of col­ors: gray (not the dark black of a black­head), tan, or skin/flesh-colored. The skin is not raised up around them. They can appear any­where, but the nose, chin, and fore­head are the most com­mon. An extract­ed SF looks like a plain white or yel­low­ish spike or string. They don’t get infect­ed or inflamed and are nat­u­ral to every sin­gle human.

I put them side by side so you can see the dif­fer­ence (see below). See how the SFs are super tiny and dark, but not black, and how they have no raised or puffy skin around them? Now notice how the black­heads are tru­ly black, and have a bit of puffed skin sur­round­ing them.

Blackheads vs. Sebaceous Filaments

Black­heads are part of the acne fam­i­ly. Seba­ceous fil­a­ments are not. How­ev­er, they are both treat­ed very sim­i­lar­ly. Keep read­ing on how to get rid of seba­ceous fil­a­ments and black­heads the eas­i­est and quick­est way pos­si­ble.

DIY — Get Rid of Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments

This is a real­ly basic do it your­self recipe for get­ting rid of exist­ing black­heads. Don’t use it if you’re aller­gic to aspir­in or sal­i­cy­lates.

You will need:

What is the pur­pose of the­se three ingre­di­ents? The aspir­in con­tains sal­i­cylic acid, which helps to nor­mal­ize pores in sev­er­al ways – it makes skin cells shed quick­er, opens clogged pores, and neu­tral­izes acne bac­te­ria. Yogurt con­tains lac­tic acid, which is an alpha-hydroxy acid, a gen­tle exfo­liant that helps refine the skin’s tex­ture and help reduce signs of aging. Hon­ey is antibac­te­ri­al and a humec­tant, which helps bring hydra­tion to the skin and bal­ance oil pro­duc­tion.

Now what you need to do is:

  1. Take your aspir­in and crush them with a spoon or oth­er gen­er­al­ly safe crush­ing device.
  2. Put your crushed aspir­in tablets (feel free to make a cocaine joke to any bystanders) in the small bowl with your spoon­ful of yogurt and stir so the aspir­in dis­solves.
  3. Now add your spoon­ful of hon­ey to the bowl, adding just enough to make a thick­er cream tex­ture since you don’t want it drip­ping off of your face and onto your phone/iPad/dog.
  4. Wash your face and pat dry.
  5. Apply the mask with a mask brush or fin­gers to your just-washed skin and hang out for 10 min­utes.

Spe­cial options: if you have rosacea or super sen­si­tive skin, use 3 aspir­in or less. If you have dry skin, use more hon­ey than yogurt. If you have oily skin, use more yogurt than hon­ey. If you don’t have hon­ey or yogurt, try using aloe vera gel.

How to Get Rid of Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments — For Real.

Black­heads might seem like some strange and irri­tat­ing cous­in to “nor­mal” acne, but black­heads are still pim­ples — it’s just that they are open and the con­tents oxi­dize and turn black. Deli­cious, right? Seba­ceous fil­a­ments are just harm­less seba­ceous (oil) glands and are not acne. Black­heads can pret­ty much be elim­i­nat­ed, where­as seba­ceous fil­a­ments can be elim­i­nat­ed for a short time until they fill up again (usu­al­ly with­in 1–4 weeks) and can only be reduced. Here are my step-by-step solu­tions to get­ting rid of black­heads and SFs:

1. Eat to balance your sebum (oil) pro­duc­tion. Black­heads are par­tial­ly the result of a dry, dead out­er lay­er of skin get­ting caught up with the oilier under lay­er. Bal­anc­ing this out with prop­er diet ought to be your #1 pri­or­i­ty because it’s the quick­est and longest last­ing way to clear skin. There are arti­cles I’ve writ­ten for you that detail this top­ic, as well as my book which also includes a meal plan to help you along. Here’s the quick ver­sion: focus on eat­ing veg­eta­bles and non-sweet fruits (e.g. leafy greens like spinach, romaine, etc.; zuc­chini, cucum­ber, cel­ery, bell pep­pers, toma­to, etc.), low-glycemic fruits (e.g. berries of all kinds, lemons, limes), and awe­some healthy fats (e.g. avo­cado, coconut, fat­ty fish, grass-fed beef and lamb). Just as impor­tant is not eat­ing fried food (the oils become ran­cid and are often from omega 6 sources like canola or soy oil – con­tribut­ing to inflam­ma­tion, hor­mon­al imbal­ances and oilier skin), most grains, and refined sug­ar which is high on the glycemic index and spikes the hor­mone insulin which in turn con­tributes to excess oil pro­duc­tion. You may also want to low­er or elim­i­nate your con­sump­tion of dairy, since it con­tains andro­gens, which are male-type hor­mones that can con­tribute to increased pro­duct of sebum (oily skin) and breakouts/blackheads.

2. Wash cor­rect­ly. Over­wash­ing dries out your top lay­er of skin and forces your skin to pro­duce more oil to make up for you wash­ing it away all the time. You’ll end up with more black­heads and seba­ceous fil­a­ments, as well as skin irri­ta­tion. Dou­ble cleanse twice per day – morn­ing and night. What is dou­ble cleans­ing? It’s using an oil-based cleanser to remove make­up and sebum (which is what fills a pore), then rins­ing and fol­low­ing with a gel, foam, or cream cleanser to remove any oth­er residues and dirt. It works incred­i­bly well and it’s not dry­ing or strip­ping when you use the right prod­ucts.

Pro­duct Sug­ges­tions:

3. Exfo­li­ate prop­er­ly. While phys­i­cal exfo­liants and scrubs are excel­lent for most peo­ple, I find that non-phys­i­cal exfo­liants and peels are supe­ri­or for those with lots of black­heads because it even­ly removes the top lay­er of dead skin that would nor­mal­ly clog the pore and gen­er­ate a black­head. Fruit acids/enzymes, sal­i­cylic acid, lac­tic acid, and gly­col­ic acid are excel­lent for pre­vent­ing black­heads and SFs.

Pro­duct Sug­ges­tions:

4. Water, water, water. It’s sim­ple, but it works won­ders. Drink lots of qual­i­ty fil­tered water or spring water. Nat­u­ral, preser­v­a­tive-free teas that you brew your­self are also great – but no soda or sweet tea. Fresh­ly squeezed lemon in warm water in the morn­ing is amaz­ing for your skin as well. Some peo­ple find that just by drink­ing more water they notice less black­heads and oili­ness since it keeps you hydrat­ed (along with your new diet of fresh veg­gies and fruits, right?).

5. Pro­tect your skin from the sun. When you go out in the sun, wear a hat and sun­block. Sun dam­age con­tributes to a break­down in col­la­gen and elastin, which not only leads to wrin­kles but also enlarged pores. Wear­ing a nat­u­ral zinc-based sun­block is effec­tive and anti-acne, but if you’re like me and dis­like wear­ing heavy sun­block all the time, slap a hat on.

Pro­duct Sug­ges­tions:

6. Get ‘em out. You may find that gen­tle enzyme or acid-based exfo­li­a­tion sev­er­al times per week (see tip #3) will be enough to keep your pores small, free of black­heads, and reduce seba­ceous fil­a­ments. How­ev­er, you may want to get a pro­fes­sion­al facial from a licensed aes­theti­cian to get every­thing extract­ed and give you a fresh start. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can give your­self a facial once or twice per week.

7. Take the right sup­ple­ments. Sup­ple­ments can be impor­tant and use­ful for bal­anc­ing hor­mones and as an extra sup­port to our bod­ies. I usu­al­ly rec­om­mend a low-dose zinc sup­ple­ment (15–30 mg) and a B-com­plex vit­a­m­in at min­i­mum, espe­cial­ly if you are stressed (e.g. sleep deprived, work­ing a lot, school exams, anx­i­ety, etc.). Mul­ti­vi­t­a­mins that require you to take 4–6 cap­sules per day are also a good idea (and can be tak­en instead of the sep­a­rate zinc and B-com­plex) since they spread out the intake of nutri­ents for bet­ter absorp­tion. For bal­anc­ing hor­mones, espe­cial­ly for those with black­heads and cys­tic acne, DIM Detox and EstroBlock Pro are prac­ti­cal­ly mir­a­cle work­ers.

8. Move! In order for your body to stay healthy and young, as well as keep your bones strong and give your skin a beau­ti­ful glow, you need to move your body. If you sit all day in class or at work, make a point to exer­cise some­how on a dai­ly basis. You have lots of options! Try bike rid­ing or walk­ing around the neigh­bor­hood, do a work­out DVD, fol­low a quick work­out, take a yoga class, go swim­ming, whatever…just move. You don’t need to be on some speci­fic exer­cise pro­gram and go nuts. Your body will thank you for it and skin is going to look awe­some because of it!

Main­tain­ing black­head-free skin takes a con­sis­tent­ly good diet, exer­cise rou­tine, and skin care. Did I miss any tips that worked for you? Let me know by leav­ing a com­ment!
~Steph  x

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