Blackheads, ey, the scourge of dewy, glowing skin! Embarrassing, unsightly, and often painful, they can be caused by anything from diet and lifestyle to genetics and hormones, making them tricky to treat. And it only gets more complicated as you get older—anti-blemish products are often harsh and drying, which is a bitter pill to swallow as your worries about spots are joined by those about wrinkles and aging.
Feel that you're too old to be getting blackheads? It's a problem more common than you think—statistics show that a massive 50 percent of women are diagnosed with some form of acne/blackhead during their adult lives. Using the wrong products can worsen the problem, and frankly their presence can seem insurmountable.
"All women deal with blackheads to some degree, but some of us are more prone than others," says board-certified dermatologist Jill Javahery, M.D. "Women who wear lots of makeup or who aren't diligent about washing their face before bed tend to have more of an issue with blackheads." But can they ever (as I so ardently believe) be treated? "Yes, I believe they can be. If you're dedicated to cleaning your skin before bed and when you wake up in the morning and start using a retinoid, you'll notice a decrease in the amount of blackheads that pop up."
Still, they're annoying. You can see them. Mostly when you press your nose up close to the mirror. But they're there, and you know it. Your face isn't completely clean. You want to remove blackheads; you want them banished.
What is a blackhead?
Blackheads are small bumps that appear on your skin due to clogged hair follicles. These bumps are called "blackheads" because the surface looks dark or black. Blackheads are a mild type of acne that usually form on the face, but they can also appear on the back, chest, neck, arms, and shoulders. Acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans and is the most common skin disorder in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
As for those pores that drive you crazy because they happen to look like blackheads? Large-appearing pores may be improved utilizing resurfacing procedures like the Fraxel laser or even lighter procedures like the Clear + Brilliant device.
But natural help is at hand. I've found this two-ingredient mask, a very thorough, no-frills facial if you like, to give pores a deep cleanse and exfoliation that draws out impurities and makes extraction easier if you want to go that route. Because who doesn't love a thick, unctuous paste that can be smeared all over? This mask does exactly that and spreads happily across skin before setting into a pore-purging mask? Somebody needs to give me a prize. Hang on...
DIY Blackhead Mask
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Mix together the baking soda and honey in a bowl.
- Stir until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
- Apply the mask to blackhead-y areas.
- Leave on your face for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash clean.