Skincare 101 - Blackheads

by 8:00 AM 4 comments
What are blackheads?
Basically, a blackhead is a type of acne called an open comedone. It is the first stage of acne before bacteria gets into the pores causing inflammation and infection with results in what we know as pimples.

What causes blackheads?

It's caused by the stimulation of the oil gland, or sebaceous gland, which leads to excess oil production in the pores. This is why the worst cases of blackheads are seen on people with very oily skin. The excess oil which has been produced accumulates in the pore which, when exposed to air, to turns black. In contrast, whiteheads are the same thing but are not exposed to air, therefore staying a yellowy white.

The main contributing factor to the appearance of blackhead is unregulated hormones, which is why they seem to appear in full force around puberty or when it is "that time of the month".

Another common cause is not cleansing your skin thoroughly. I am certainly guilty of this. I have very good skin. I get a pimple every couple of months at the most and that's catastrophic for me. So I am fairly lax about my skincare routine. I have all the stuff, cleansers, toners, moisturizes, but I just take advantage of my naturally clear skin. I do however have blackheads on my chin and a quite a few around my nose.

When the skin isn't cleaned properly, you get a buildup of dead skin cells clogging up your pores which in turn block the entrance to the pores which allows the excess oil to build up, ultimately resulting in a blackhead.

Another cause of clogged pores is the use of way too much makeup. I'm sure you will have noticed that people who cake on makeup have terrible skin. It's actually a vicious cycle. They apply a thick layer of makeup to hide their pimples, but it actually causes more to form since the pores are blocked and oil is allowed to build up under the skin. This is why mineral makeup has become so popular over the last few years. It allows the skin to breath and so it's better for you while evening out skin tone, which is what makeup should be doing.

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What can I do to keep my skin clear?

I like to abide by the rule – Whatever you put on your face in the morning; you take off before going to bed. Never sleep with makeup on – mineral or not.

Make sure to clean your face well; however you should also know that over cleaning will cause problems. Our skin needs a certain amount of oil to function, so if your skin feels like you have taken too much off, it responds by aggressively over producing more oil which as we know by now, is a very bad thing.

I have blackheads! How do get rid of them?

To squeeze or not to squeeze?

That is indeed the question. I know some people love squeezing blackheads. My sister does – not on herself, but on other people, and it freaks me out. She takes great pleasure in it, but in all honesty, she's more than a little odd (Love you N!).

There are two schools of thought on this. Your hands can spread more bacteria, potentially worsening the problem, however if you leave them be, the pore can keep getting bigger until you find some way to release it.

If you must squeeze, do not place pressure on either side of the blackhead and squeeze inwards like most people tend to do. This can cause scarring and can cause further infection. What you should do it put a finger on either side and apply a light pressure downwards and the skin each side of the blackhead. If it is able to be easily extracted it should rise easily to the surface, if it doesn't then leave it be until it's ready.

Use the right tools
Looks lethal, but it's mostly harmless - I swear!

I used a Manicare pimple and blackhead remover which is basically a stainless steel needle on one end then a loop at the other for bringing the oil to the surface for quick and easy removal. I sterilise this before and after use to ensure that more bacteria are not added to the open pore.

Skin Preparation for self extraction

Blackheads are much easier to remove if you steam your pores open. So extraction is best done after a hot shower or if you want to do it another way, you can place your face over a bowl of hot water with a towel draped over your head to keep the steam in. I have also heard that pressing a face washer soaked in hot water to the area will also loosen the pores. With any of these methods, be careful not to scald or burn yourself.

Go get it done by a professional

If you are wary of doing it yourself, or have some really stubborn ones that just won't move then you should go see a professional. Dermatologists and Aestheticians offer many types of deep cleansing facial treatments and will extract any stubborn ones, however I have found that you do have to request an actual extraction from most places while having a facial done. It can be a costly option, but clear skin is worth it, isn't it?

Stay tuned because tomorrow I am going to show you the ONLY products that I have come across that actually deliver on the results they promise in regards to eliminating blackheads - oh and you can win one of those nifty bottles of awesome too!

That's it from me today.

Be awesome to each other.


Makeup Artist

I am a fully qualified makeup artist who is internationally published, and I have worked with and been mentored by some of the very best in the business! Now I'm ready to share my tips and tricks, answer your questions and most importantly, help you make every makeup moment a memorable one.


  1. looking forward to reading the next post with the products that work for blackheads :)

  2. complete and easy to read: great combo! thanks for this!

  3. *gag* It's a gross topic but one almost everyone has to deal with. I'm guilty of squeezing mine. I'll try not to. :s