Prolonged exposure to the air causes the blockage to oxidize and darken. Because the pore gets stretched out of shape, it will fill back up again even after it is emptied. These stubborn pores are most likely to occur on the face, chest and back.
Deep blackheads should be removed by a medical professional — usually a dermatologist or medical aesthetician. They use a small tool with rigid metal loops on the ends (blackhead or comedo extractor) to apply even pressure to your blackheads.
'Petroleum jelly dilutes the dried up oxidized oil, creating a hard-topped plug of oil in the pore which is then easier to squeeze out and clear. '
A dermatologist can help rid your skin of blackheads. “There are in-office treatments that can help diminish the appearance of pores,” Suozzi points out. These include nonablative resurfacing (aka laser treatments) such as Fraxel laser or Clear + Brilliant laser or microneedling.
This type of acne develops when oil (sebum) and dead skin cells combine to form a plug that clogs your pores. Sometimes, cleansing and exfoliating may be enough to loosen the plug and draw it out. But if the plug hardens, or it's too deep to access, you might not be able to remove the blackhead on your own.
Blackheads are most common in the pores that lie within your T-Zone, a section of your face that includes your nose, forehead, and chin. The skin in this area contains more oil glands than other parts of your face and body, which is one of the main factors why blackheads often pop up on your nose.
Salicylic acid works best on blackheads and whiteheads.
"Salicylic acid helps with the first cause by dissolving the type of skin debris that clogs pores and causes acne," he says. Therefore, salicylic acid is ideal for treating blackheads and whiteheads.
“Gently press on each side of the blackhead until it begins to release,” she says. “Apply slow and even pressure, and once you are able, lightly pinch the tweezers and pull the blacked out material from the skin to extract it. If the blackhead does not release easily, do not continue to attempt the extraction.”
The bottom line. Removing a blackhead once in a while is safe for most people, but it's important not to make a habit out of removing them yourself. If you have recurring blackheads, make an appointment with a dermatologist who can help you address them with more permanent treatment options.
Close the holes temporarily with cold water.
Cold water makes your pores contract, which makes them look smaller. Try splashing some cold water on your face or holding a cold washcloth against the blackhead holes. This won't shrink them permanently, but it works as a good temporary fix.
A blackhead hole will never go away on its own as the dirt buildup stretches and enlarges it. What you can do is clean it with salicylic acid, reduce inflammation using retinoids, and heal the skin and tighten it with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives commonly used in anti-aging skin care products. However, topical retinoids are the first-line treatment for treating and preventing blackheads. Retinoids work by unclogging blocked pores and affecting skin cell growth, which helps to prevent acne formation.
While you might not be able to rid your skin of pores, it's true that nose strips can temporarily make pores look smaller. By removing blackheads, the strips clear out the black- or brown-colored blockage. This can make pores appear as if they're smaller or gone.
Adapalene is one of Murphy-Rose's favorite blackhead-fighting ingredients and it is found in ProActive's gel. Murphy-Rose recommended this gel because she finds it helps to “treat stubborn blackheads” and can help prevent pimples from forming.
Surgery: In some cases, your doctor may want to perform a surgical excision or extraction to drain and remove a stubborn blemish. Health plans often consider this type of surgery to be medically necessary for the treatment of acne, meaning it's typically covered by insurance.
While washing and exfoliating the face are both important parts of maintaining clear, healthy skin, special treatments may be needed to thoroughly cleanse blocked pores and prevent future breakouts. As such, microdermabrasion may be the perfect solution for those who suffer from blackheads, whiteheads and cystic acne.
"Because blackheads are hard and trapped inside pores they can't be 'scrubbed away' or washed off," Sarkar said. "Most often, they need extraction." But even if they're extracted, they could keep coming back because your nose — with all of its glands — will continue to excrete oil.
The Skin-Compromising Consequences
“Squeezing, picking, pulling, prodding—all of that can stretch the elastic around the pores, which makes them wider and larger, and they won't bounce back into shape. Ultimately, your pores will look larger and become increasingly more visible.
Toothpaste is a popular beauty hack for getting rid of blackheads. While toothpaste does contain some blackhead-fighting ingredients, it may also contain unwanted ingredients that can irritate skin. Using toothpaste to remove blackheads is considered an off-label treatment and is not recommended by dermatologists.