How to Get Rid of Blackheads?

What are those annoying black or dark plugs on my skin? Why do I get them? And most importantly, how can I get rid of them?!

They are called blackheads - or sebaceous filaments -, and they can be quite stubborn and frustrating!

What are blackheads?

They are small bumps that appear on the skin due to a clogged hair follicle.

This is how it happens: A clogged hair follicle causes dead skin cells to start building up, layering like bricks, trapping your skin's sebum (oil). When this occurs, your sebum does not obtain any oxygen, causing oxidation (which is why blackheads have that black surface look).

Why do we get blackheads?

Blackheads can be a mild form of acne, more commonly found on the face, although it can be present on the back, neck, or even in the ears!

Blackheads happen more often in teenagers than in adults. Blackheads can be stubborn to treat, but they will eventually go away. Blackheads are non-inflammatory, which means there is no infection, and they will not cause pain and discomfort like cysts or pustules. They just look unclean on the surface of the skin.

What causes blackheads?


  • Overstimulation and production of oil in the body
  • Increase of the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria on the skin
  • Aggravation of the hair follicles when dead skin cells do not shed or not exfoliating your skin with a home exfoliant regularly
  • Teenagers go through hormonal changes that cause an increase in sebum production
  • Poor hygiene, like not washing the face
  • Poor diet with overconsumption of sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy.

Portrait of Woman Pointing to Blackheads on the Nose

How to get rid of blackheads?


1. Cleansing + Exfoliating 
This might seem like just a basic step, but regularly washing and exfoliating your skin will help the appearance of blackheads and remove the build-up of dead skin cells, unclogging the black plugs, to allow oxygen to reach the plug.

2. Choose your ingredients wisely
Ingredients like Salicylic Acid, AHA'S, BHA's, Niacinamide, and retinol can help regulate sebum production and enclose clogged plugs or pores. However, a consultation with a Skin Therapist is always recommended when choosing your actives so that you don't end up damaging your skin barrier or dehydrating your skin with (that would only worsen your blackheads and acne concerns).

3. DO NOT overexfoliate
On the other side of the spectrum of not cleansing or exfoliating, there is what we call over exfoliating. That can make your blackheads worse. When you overexfoliate, you overdry (or dehydrate) your skin. The sebaceous glands then need to work hard to replace the sebum you've overdried, which can stimulate even more sebum production, leading to more bacteria and clogged plugs.

4. Professional (NOT at home!) blackhead removal
I know, blackheads are annoying and frustrating, and all you want to do is just squeeze them, but this can cause inflammation or bacteria if not done properly. The best option is to seek a professional to do this procedure.

What is the difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads?


Sebaceous filaments look like blackheads, but they are different. They are most common to appear on the nose.

They are smaller and flat in appearance. Sebaceous filaments are glands that channel the flow of sebum through the pores, which causes the sebum to get clogged in the pore, oxidizes causes the sebaceous filament.

These clogged pores are harder to treat than blackheads. How you can tell the difference is that the pore will become clogged again after being extracted.

Here are the best recommended products to get rid of blackheads

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About The Author

My name is Sari Pols,
I have been in the skincare industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have a good well being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.
I have furthered my knowledge of Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns, and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to bandaid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.

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