“Choosing good skincare products is very important"
Blackheads can be annoying because as soon as you get rid of one, you are left with a lot more to deal with.
Thankfully, they are harmless and there are ways to keep them at bay.
Dr Renita Ranjan, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, says:
“Blackheads are classed under comedones, one of the forms of acne, typically a milder form.
“Comedones occur when the duct of the oil gland becomes clogged by debris and degraded keratin.
“It can be an internally driven process, or, it can be externally driven when the occlusion is due to oils, make-up, dust, sweat, and pollutants.”
Dr Ranjan says it is critical to identify the source of your blackheads and then completely eliminate them.
Make sure your skin’s oil levels are balanced as excess oil is a major cause of blackheads.
If it’s genetic, it is recommended to see a dermatologist to figure out what’s causing the recurrence of comedones.
Dr Ranjan advises: “Choosing good skincare products is very important, as a long-term strategy.
“Do ensure you are opting for products that are non-comedogenic.”
It is best to avoid using coconut oil as it is an ingredient that is very comedogenic.
Ingredients such as retinol, bakuchiol, ferulic acid, vitamin C, glycolic acid, and if you’ve got oily skin then salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, are what you need to look out for.
Dr Ranjan says that glycolic acid can make the skin more sensitive compared to salicylic or lactic acid. So, if you’re one to react quickly, then consider the latter two.
Exfoliation is the key to getting rid of blackheads once and for all.
Following a weekly routine is also important when it comes to keeping blackheads at bay.
Dr Ranjan says: “We may not always figure out where the comedones came from, but exfoliation is a simple way to start to get rid of them.
“Chemical exfoliants including lactic and salicylic acids, loosen up the top layers of the skin, unclog pores, and slough off the keratin plugs to give you clearer, less congested skin.
“Salicylic is great for acne-prone skin, lactic acid is great for dry to normal skin with occasional comedones.”
She states that physical scrubs should be avoided as they can worsen the situation.
Intense exfoliation should be done only once a week and mild exfoliation can be done four to five times weekly.
For those with severe blackheads, it is best to leave extractions and peels to the professionals on a bi-monthly or monthly basis.
To some extent, at-home suction devices can be useful, but Dr Ranjan warns that they must be used with extreme caution to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.