As long as skin produces sebum, it’s not possible to have no blackheads. It is, however, possible to have fewer. Here’s how not to let the problem get under your skin.
You can have facial after facial – even facials days apart – and there would still be a handful of blackheads to extract.
Your skin is not dirty. Its dirty secret is sebum. This oily substance from the sebaceous glands is secreted continuously. And as long as there is sebum, there will be blackheads.
Sebum mixes with dirt, sweat, dead skin and pollution to form a clog in the pore which then oxidises and turns black.
All this is normal, says Dr Liew Hui Min, specialist in dermatology and consultant at Raffles Skin & Aesthetics.
Can you remove blackheads for good? No. You’d have to remove or seal up the pores. Neither can be done. Should you still bother with extraction during a facial? Yes. Large, stubborn and ignored blackheads will keep growing into giant comedones.
“Giant comedones are not easy to extract. In some cases, minor surgery is required, and that’s likely to leave a scar,” says Dr Liew. Squeezing a blackhead can also lead to scarring, says Dr Eileen Tan, a dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.
But there is a way to manage the blackhead battle: with skincare containing salicylic acid, says Dr Tan. It’s a betahydroxy acid, so it’s gentle on skin. It’s also oil-soluble and gets right into pores 161 dpi Upon approval Please sign: Name and Date: as a deep cleanser to dissolve the clog and reduce sebum production.
Don’t use more than one sebumremoving/controlling product at a time, as these can be drying. And when skin is dehydrated, it produces more sebum. More sebum means more, or larger, blackheads.
No amount of extractions and facials will help if your pores are filthy. To keep them clean, Dr Charmaine Lim, associate consultant at the National Skin Centre, says to use non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested products that are less likely to block pores. Also look for watersoluble and oil-free products. – CT
Try these products that contain salicylic acid
1 Innisfree Bija Trouble Facial Foam has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients to treat blemishes and problem skin. $13
2 Two kinds of salicylic acid are in the Murad Clarifying Cleanser. One cleanses and the other remains in your skin to continue unclogging pores – even after it’s washed off. $56
3 Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser is nonfoaming and so gentle that it won’t dry out or irritate sensitive or troubled skin. $32
4 Apply La RochePosay Effaclar Duo+ daily on blackheadprone areas and 04-Beauty – Blackheads.indd 100 4/7/18 9:52 AM blemishes to draw out clogs and keep them from returning. $42.90
5 Fans of Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel love how easy it is, with this product, to “pop” a stubborn blackhead. The gel softens and “unglues” clogs over a few days so that they can be easily extracted. $33 6 The A-derma Phys-AC Perfect Anti-blemish Fluid decongests pores and repairs the skin to prevent scarring. $49.90
6 The A-derma Phys-AC Perfect Anti-blemish Fluid decongests pores and repairs the skin to prevent scarring. $49.90
Toner/ Exfoliating Lotion
7 Clinique Twice A Day Clarifying Lotion 3 is hydrating enough for blackhead prone oily-dry skin. It dissolves clogs without drying out skin. $55