Flawless skin is a goal many people aspire to achieve, but the presence of blackheads can often pose a daunting challenge. While unwelcome, the good news is that removing blackheads is not an insurmountable task. With the right knowledge and appropriate skincare routine, we can effectively say goodbye to these annoying blemishes. This post will delve into practical and proven strategies on how to remove blackheads, providing detailed information on preventative measures and targeted treatments for smoother, clearer skin.


Before embarking on the journey to eliminate blackheads, it is crucial to comprehend their nature, beginning with their technical term, the “open comedone.” Comedones come in two varieties: open and closed, the latter often referred to as whiteheads. Blackheads manifest as diminutive dark bumps on the skin’s surface. According to Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Chicago and the founder of Cheung Aesthetics & Wellness: “They appear when sebum gets trapped with dead skin at the surface of your pores.” 


Blackheads happen when too much oil, dead skin, and dirt build up in hair follicles and pores. They mix with the natural oils of the skin, making a plug that’s like a tiny bump. This can attract bacteria, leading to the formation of what we call blackheads. When this mix reaches the skin’s surface and meets air, it turns dark. Things like family traits, hormone changes, certain medicines, and the environment can make your skin produce too much oil, making it more likely to get blackheads. Not cleaning your skin regularly or using products that can block pores can also make blackheads worse. Knowing about these things is important for finding good ways to stop and deal with blackheads.


If you’re dealing with blackheads, dermatologists recommend effective methods to remove them, and some of these strategies also work as preventive measures.

Use Products With Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a great ingredient for getting rid of blackheads. It’s a type of acid that helps renew skin cells and clear out pores. This acne treatment can also dry up active acne because it’s a gentle chemical that can irritate the acne. Many studies show that salicylic acid is effective against acne. Using a 2% salicylic acid wash for two weeks reduced the number of acne spots. 

Nazanin Saedi, MD, clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University and the department co-chair of the Laser and Aesthetics Surgery Center at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting recommends three thrifty but effective drugstore products with salicylic acid: Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil Free Acne Wash, Neutrogena Gel Cleanser Acne Proofing, and Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense. 

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil Free Acne Wash: The powerful combination of grapefruit and vitamin C creates a potent formula that effectively clears blemishes and blackheads. Specifically designed for acne treatment, it not only targets and removes stains but also eliminates blackheads. The exfoliating action helps in smoothing the skin, getting rid of roughness for a healthier complexion.

Neutrogena Gel Cleanser Acne Proofing: The Neutrogena Acne Proofing Gel Cleanser is made for people with acne and oily skin. It uses ClearDefend technology to safely and effectively solve acne issues. The gel cleanser helps protect your skin from getting more acne and works fast to reduce old acne marks. It’s safe to use on your skin, and top dermatologists around the world recommend it.

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense: This is the first product that mixes Dioic Acid 2% with Hydroxy Acid complex to stop clogged pores, reduce acne, and make wrinkles and uneven skin tone better. It controls extra oil and helps lower sebum by 28% in just one week. It also makes redness, acne scars, and uneven skin tone look better. 

Add a Retinoid to Your Routine

If you want to tackle blackheads, think about adding a retinoid to your skincare routine. Retinoids, such as retinol or stronger ones like tretinoin, come from vitamin A and help make your skin better and stop pores from getting clogged. Start with a small amount once or twice a week after washing your face, then slowly use it more often. After that, put on some moisturizer to keep your skin from getting too dry, and always use sunscreen in the daytime because retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. It might take a few weeks to see a difference, so be patient. Using retinol with salicylic acid can be a good way to fight blackheads and make your skin healthier. The following products are recommended:

ProActiv Adapalene Gel 0.1%: Adapalene doesn’t have benzoyl peroxide. It’s a retinoid gel you use once a day, and it absorbs quickly to treat acne deep within your skin.

Differin Gel: Differin Gel works well against two main reasons for acne: blocked pores and redness. It clears up acne where it begins (deep in pores) and stops new acne from showing up.

Consider Alpha Hydroxy Acids And Beta Hydroxy Acid

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

These are acids that come from fruits and milk and can make your skin look better. AHAs work by removing dead skin cells and opening up clogged pores. You can find them in products like cleansers, toners, or creams. Start slowly, using them once or twice a week, and then you can increase how often you use them. It’s good to follow up with sunscreen during the day because your skin can be more sensitive. Using AHAs, along with other treatments like salicylic acid, can be a helpful way to get rid of blackheads and keep your skin in good shape. You can refer these products:

First Aid Beauty’s FAB Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid AHA 10%: FAB Skin Lab was made for people with sensitive skin. It has 10 percent of 4 alpha-hydroxy acids that work to make rough, dull skin look smoother, brighter, and more even.

Clean and Clear Triple Cleanse Exfoliating Scrub: This everyday acne face scrub fights breakouts by taking away skin oil and gently scrubbing, treating acne, and also calming the skin.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)

Salicylic acid, also called Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), is really good for getting rid of blackheads. It works by cleaning deep into your pores, taking away dead skin cells, extra oil, and dirt. Since it can dissolve the oily stuff in your pores, it stops blackheads from forming. Salicylic acid is also helpful because it reduces redness and swelling linked to blackheads. If you use it regularly, it not only helps with the blackheads you already have but also stops new ones from showing up. It fits well into different skincare routines and goes along with other useful ingredients. Overall, using salicylic acid can keep your pores clear and make your skin smoother. The products below may contain BHA, which works effectively:

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant: This is a cult-favorite product known for its gentle yet effective exfoliation, helping to unclog pores and reduce blackheads.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution: The Ordinary offers an affordable salicylic acid solution that targets blackheads and blemishes. It is a straightforward product with a simple ingredient list.

Pick up a Cleansing brush

If you’re looking to enhance your skincare routine, consider picking up a skin brush. These brushes are designed to gently exfoliate the skin, removing dead cells and promoting a smoother complexion. They can also help with blood circulation and product absorption. When using a skin brush, remember to choose one with soft bristles and to use it gently to avoid irritation. Incorporating a skin brush into your routine a few times a week can leave your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are what you need:

Boie Dry Brush: This brush has a unique design with curved bristles that help to reach into pores and remove blackheads. It also has a built-in massager to improve circulation.

Foreo Luna Mini 3: This facial cleansing brush is made with soft silicone bristles and is gentle on the skin. It has different modes for cleansing, exfoliating, and massaging.

Use a mask

For oily skin types, clay and charcoal masks offer a powerful duo for tackling impurities and achieving a clear complexion. Clay masks act like magnets, drawing out oils and dead skin cells from deep within your pores, while charcoal’s absorbent properties work even deeper, capturing impurities and leaving your skin feeling refreshed and purified. Some clay masks are further boosted with sulfur, which effectively exfoliates and removes dead skin cells, further enhancing your skin’s clarity

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: A clay mask under the Innisfree brand with ingredients containing Jeju island volcanic ash + walnut shell powder and AHA that have the effect of exfoliating. Cleans dead cells, cleans sebum and excess oil, deeply cleans and improves pore problems, helps brighten skin and improve skin elasticity.

Derma clean charcoal facial mask: Use this refreshing face mask with antioxidants to remove dirt from your skin without making it too dry. It peels off imperfections, leaving your skin healthy and radiant. Charcoal in the mask gets rid of impurities and dead skin cells while making your skin firmer. It also gives your face a toned and cool feeling.

Opt for an In-Office Treatment

Going to a dermatologist can really help get rid of blackheads. They have treatments done in their office that make pores look smaller. These treatments can include lasers like Fraxel or Clear + Brilliant, or microneedling. The cost can be different, starting from a few hundred dollars to $1,500 or even more. Some people see good results after just one treatment, but others might need to go for a few sessions to get the results they want.


Using the wrong methods to get rid of blackheads can lead to skin irritation and make the problem worse. One of the worst ways to tackle blackheads is squeezing or picking at them with your fingers. This can cause inflammation, infection, and scarring. It may also push bacteria deeper into the pores, leading to more breakouts.

Another bad approach is using abrasive scrubs with harsh particles. Scrubbing too vigorously can damage the skin, strip away natural oils, and worsen irritation. It’s essential to opt for gentler exfoliants that won’t cause microtears in the skin.

Additionally, overusing strong chemical peels or harsh acids can be detrimental. These treatments can cause excessive dryness, redness, and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s crucial to choose skincare methods that are effective yet gentle to avoid causing harm to your skin in the quest to eliminate blackheads. 


To effectively prevent blackheads on your skin, it’s crucial to establish and adhere to a thorough yet gentle skincare routine. Begin by cleansing your face regularly using a mild cleanser that suits your skin type. This helps to eliminate excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that can contribute to the clogging of pores—a common precursor to blackheads. Perform this cleansing routine twice a day: in the morning and before bedtime. Additionally, if you engage in activities that induce sweating, such as exercising, ensure to cleanse your face afterward to prevent the accumulation of sweat and debris.

To enhance your blackhead prevention strategy, prioritize using non-comedogenic skin care products. These products are formulated to avoid pore-clogging ingredients, reducing the risk of pore clogging and subsequent blackhead development. When choosing cleansers, moisturizers, and other skin care products, check the “non-comedogenic” label to make sure they are suitable for preventing clogged pores. In addition to non-comedogenic products, consider incorporating regular exfoliation into your routine, especially with ingredients like salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). You can refer to the suggested products above.

To bolster your blackhead prevention efforts, it’s essential to adhere to additional detailed practices. Make it a non-negotiable habit to thoroughly remove all makeup before bedtime. Additionally, be mindful of avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands throughout the day. Our hands can harbor dirt and bacteria, and transferring these to your face can contribute to blocked pores. Maintaining overall skin health is integral to blackhead prevention. Stay adequately hydrated to support skin hydration from within and consume a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.


1. How fast do blackheads go away?

Blackheads vanish at different speeds depending on their severity and treatment.. Typically, most blackheads disappear within six to eight weeks.

2. What happens if you don’t remove blackheads?

They are likely to transform into stubborn blackheads and, over time, develop into pimples.

3. Can you have a blackhead for years?

Having a persistent deep blackhead for years is not unusual if you haven’t identified the proper extraction method.

4. What to apply after removing blackheads?

Use a toner that doesn’t have alcohol to tighten your pores. A toner with witch hazel is a good choice, but be careful not to touch the area directly. 

5. Does touching your nose cause blackheads?

Blackheads may appear on your nose if you touch it frequently, as extra dirt and bacteria can enter your pores. Be sure to refrain from touching your face, and make an effort to clean items that regularly come into contact with your face.


Don’t worry about those pesky blackheads—they can be handled! Just follow the tips mentioned earlier, and you can clean your pores and keep blackheads away. The important thing is to be consistent. Make a simple skincare routine and stick to it for the best results. If some blackheads are tough, you might need help from a professional, but most of them can be taken care of with regular self-care. Be patient, be gentle with your skin, and enjoy seeing those annoying blackheads disappear!