Oddly, I do not suffer from blackheads as much as the men in my life always seem to have. Perhaps it is due to the nature of blackhead formation or the nature of my skin, but I spent my youth irritated by pimples or whiteheads and pretty bewildered by blackheads.
After 15 years of marriage, however, I have become intimately familiar with blackheads. My husband gets them under his beard most often and on his back less frequently. They can be almost imperceptible to the eye, or they can grow quite large, and in both cases, my husband always asks me to help him care for them. His expertise is certainly not in the arena of skincare.
Now, this many years into our relationship, he has a solid skincare routine that has seen a tremendous decline in blackheads, even with a beard. And I now feel like an expert on how blackheads form and how they can be prevented.
Table of Contents:
- How Do Blackheads Form?
- 5 Most Effective Ways to Prevent Blackheads
- Wash Twice a Day
- Exfoliate Twice a Week
- Use a Clay Mask
- Be Picky with Your Products
- Why You Should Not Dry Your Skin Out
- Products to Help Prevent Blackheads
How Do Blackheads Form?
Blackheads form as a result of oil clogging hair follicles. Because your hair follicles are always open, they are susceptible to clogging. Once excess oil accumulates into the follicle, and if it is not cleaned quickly enough, a blackhead will form. It appears black as a result of the oxidation process. Essentially, the oil sits at the surface of the follicle and turns brown, like an apple once you cut it open.
In case you were wondering what the difference between a hair follicle and a pore is, there is not one. The medical term for pore is hair follicle. All pores have the potential to grow hair. At the surface, it is merely a tiny opening, but deeper down into the follicle is a hair and an oil gland. Your skin is kept moisturized by the oil gland, and your body is kept warm by the hair. Isn’t science cool?
So, when you produce too much oil, when you fail to wash your skin properly, or when you add too much or the wrong type of oil to your skin, you create optimum circumstances to form blackheads. It is time to build a skincare routine that will help you prevent them.
5 Most Effective Ways to Prevent Blackheads
Wash Twice a Day
The key to clean skin is to keep it clean! I know. Crazy, right? It is, however, true. You might think your skin is clean because you did not apply makeup or you just woke up after cleansing your face the night before, but remember, your skin is producing oil.
The oil in your skin is catching and holding onto dust and dead skin cells, and that dust and dead skin is collecting in your open pores. Wash your face twice a day!
Exfoliate Twice a Week
Twice a week build exfoliation into your routine. It will rid the surface of your skin of excess and stubborn dead skin cells.
Use a Clay Mask
If you struggle with blackheads, invest in a clay mask or two. Clay masks adhere to whatever may be clogging your pores and effectively pull the gunk out. Think of a weekly clay mask treatment as part of your self-care spa routine.
Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized by drinking plenty of water and applying a moisturizer to ensure your skin does not get dry and cracked, creating more dead skin cells and leading to more clogging.
Be Picky with Your Products
Be picky with your products. This last step is crucial to good skin. You cannot simply trust the label or the advertisement that promises good skin. A lot of products have ingredients that can cause long-term damage or oil build-up and clog. Stick to all-natural, plant-based ingredients to protect your skin.
Why You Should Not Dry Your Skin Out
Often, the inclination is to dry out oily skin to prevent clogging pores. This approach, while seeming like common sense, is misguided. We need oil. We need fat. They keep us plump and moisturized. When we lose moisture, our skin can get dry and cracked and even bleed, causing even more damage than we are trying to prevent in the first place. Open wounds lead to infection, and now you have pus and muss. That’s not good.
When you keep your skin hydrated and moisturized, striking that perfect balance, the replacement and restoration process can continue uninterrupted. The top layer of your skin naturally wears out, the cleansing process will wipe those dead skin cells away, and the oils in your skin, with a little help from your favorite moisturizer, will keep your skin fresh and dewy.
Remember, your body knows what to do, as does your skin. Your job is not to fix it or do its work for it. Your job is to support it in its good work. Happy healing!
Products to Help Prevent Blackheads
Below you will find links to all-natural, plant-based products you can feel good about putting on your skin to support its healthy cycle.
Pick and choose among the face wash that might work for you. Keep in mind your favorite plants and fragrances, and what balance you are hoping to create.
I love this face and body scrub for a twice weekly exfoliation, which gently scrubs away excess dirt and stubborn dead skin cells.
Oils can be a great addition to your beauty routine for many reasons. If you find you have dry skin, choose an oil to mix with your favorite moisturizer for a little extra support.
Find your favorite clay mask to remove anything that may be clogging up your pores.
You cannot go wrong with any of the products above. It is really about what feels good to you and your beauty routine.