Blackheads, a type of acne, are a reality for almost every person at some point in their life as they are the result of natural processes that occur within the skin. To understand how to get rid of blackheads, it’s important to understand what blackheads are and what causes them.
What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads typically begin with clogged hair follicles (aka "pores"). There are millions of hair follicles on the body, including your face. Each of these follicles contains one hair and a sebaceous gland that produces oil to help keep your skin soft. When the skin sheds dead skin cells, they can get into the follicle, mix with the oil and form a plug that pushes to the surface and forms a bump called a comedone.
If the bump over the clogged pore remains closed, the bump is called a whitehead. A blackhead occurs when the skin around the bump opens and air gets in. That causes the oil to turn gray or black, which is why it’s called a "blackhead".
What Causes Blackheads?
The main cause of acne (including blackheads) is hormonal changes in the body that cause excess oil to be produced in the pores. This is a natural process, especially during puberty, which explains why so many teens have blackheads.
How To Get Rid of Blackheads
Blackheads appear most often in the "T-Zone" of the face (forehead, nose, and chin) but may also appear on the back, chest, arms and shoulders. They can occur wherever there is a great density of hair follicles and their attached oil glands.
Topical products that include salicylic acid to clean out pores and benzoyl peroxide to kill the bacteria that causes acne (the p. acnes bacteria) are the most common blackhead treatments. Blackheads should never be removed by picking, squeezing or popping because it will cause inflammation and potential scarring. Some people mistake blackheads for trapped dirt and try to remove them by scrubbing but this can make the condition worse.
Proactiv Products for Blackheads
In addition to Proactiv® Solution and the Proactiv+® 3-Step System, Proactiv makes a number of products designed specifically to treat and remove blackheads including:
- Blackhead Dissolving Gel: This salicylic acid formula is gently formulated to dissolve blackheads, unclog pores, absorb excess oil and deep-clean blemish-causing impurities. It is designed to soothe irritated skin and shrink the appearance of pores for a more radiant, glowing complexion.
- Deep Cleansing Wash: Our Deep Cleansing Wash is a gentle all-over cleanser that’s perfect for the body. Smooth exfoliating beads lift away dead skin cells, while our special formula containing 2% salicylic acid helps unclog pores and reduce oiliness to clear acne and help prevent future breakouts wherever they may occur.
- Mark Correcting Pads: All it takes is a few quick swipes of our Mark Correcting Pads to help give your skin a more even, youthful, brighter-looking complexion! Each convenient, single-use pad helps remove dead skin cells and exfoliate away rough, dull layers, revealing the new, smoother skin below. Our pads are designed to resurface the skin with exfoliating glycolic acid, helping to fade the look of post acne dark marks and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores.
- Skin Purifying Mask: Our potent deep-cleansing sulfur mask is formulated to clear acne blemishes and help prevent new breakouts from forming. This soothing acne treatment helps to absorb excess oil while antioxidant vitamins and botanicals help to soothe, condition, nourish and hydrate the skin. Use the mask as a cleansing ritual two to three times a week to refine the appearance of pores, or as a rapid response overnight spot treatment to clear emerging acne breakouts.
- Pore Cleansing Brush: Take cleansing to the next level with our Pore Cleansing Brush. Designed with a sleek, ergonomic shape and angled head for easy contour handling, this deep cleansing device helps remove dirt, makeup, and other pore-clogging impurities. With 360-degree rotation and super soft charcoal-infused bristles, this dual-speed cleansing brush ensures pore level cleaning that will leave you with noticeably smoother, healthier-looking skin.
Blackheads: The Bottom Line
Because natural hormonal changes in the body lead to excess skin oil, clogged pores and ultimately blackheads, it’s almost impossible to go through life without a few breakouts. Although blackheads are bothersome, they are not a serious condition, and most people can get rid of blackheads with topical products that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.