Blackheads are small, unsightly, dark-colored bumps, that form when skin pores become blocked with sebum and dead skin cells. The only difference between a blackhead and a pimple (or whitehead), is that blackheads lack a skin covering and are exposed to the air. The surface cells of the sebum plug develop sulfides, which react with oxygen and turn the cells black.
- 1 What Causes Blackheads?
- 1.1 How To Remove Blackheads
- 1.2 Exfoliate With A Simple Sugar Scrub
- 1.3 Egg White Mask
- 1.4 Bentonite Clay Mask
- 1.5 Kasturi Turmeric Paste
- 1.6 Lemon Juice
- 1.7 Oatmeal
- 1.8 Green Tea
- 1.9 Aloe Vera
- 1.10 Aspirin and Honey
- 1.11 Tea Tree Oil
- 1.12 Witch Hazel
- 1.13 Cinnamon and Honey Pore Strips
- 1.14 Castor Oil
- 1.15 Baking Soda
- 1.16 Coconut Oil
- 1.17 Apple Cider Vinegar & Mint Toner
- 1.18 Grapeseed, Lavender and Bergamot Essential Oil Blend
What Causes Blackheads?
Blackheads are not caused by dirt, so no amount of scrubbing with soap and water will get rid of them. Excessive washing will often make the problem worse, because soap and water strip the natural oils from your skin, which stimulates the production of more sebum. And introducing more sebum to already clogged pores is the last thing you want to do!
A main cause of blackheads, is the fluctuation in your body’s hormone levels. Increased levels of certain hormones, cause higher levels of sebum production. That’s why teenagers with wildly fluctuating hormones, are prone to developing blackheads, and why blackheads are an annoying feature of premenstrual syndrome for some women.
Certain cosmetics and skincare products can also be a factor in the development of blackheads. Products with made with mineral oil, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances are known to clog pores and cause blackheads to form.
Eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates along with drinking alcohol and caffeine could be the culprit behind your blackheads. Try cleaning up your diet if you want to clean up your skin.
One habit that we all have, which contributes to blackhead formation, is too much face touching! Every time you touch your face – even with clean hands – you transfer the bacteria and oils from your fingers. It’s a hard habit to break, but if you suffer from a lot of blackheads, then it would be worth making the effort to try to limit the number of times that you touch your face.
How To Remove Blackheads
You might be tempted to try to remove your blackheads by squeezing them, but this isn’t the best idea. Squeezing blackheads encourages inflammation and can introduce infection.
The best way to remove blackheads without causing skin damage, is to gently clean the blocked pores with natural and nourishing treatments. And the good news is that you can do this at home, using simple ingredients from your kitchen cupboards.
Take your pick from our blackhead-busting home remedies.
Exfoliate With A Simple Sugar Scrub
Exfoliation removes pore clogging dead skin cells and improves circulation. Exfoliate once or twice a week – any more could dry out your skin.
- 4 Tablespoons oil – [easyazon_link identifier=”B0019LTGOU” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Jojoba[/easyazon_link], Olive, [easyazon_link identifier=”B0019LVFSU” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Sweet Almond[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link identifier=”B000RZPVV6″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Grapeseed[/easyazon_link]
- 1 cup of sugar
- A clean, airtight glass jar
- Few drops of essential oil for fragrance (optional)
Place the oil and essential oil into the jar, then add the sugar and mix thoroughly.
To use – Wet your face, then scoop out a small amount of scrub and use your fingertips to massage it over your skin. Rinse with water, pat your skin dry, then apply a small amount of a gentle moisturizer. Coconut oil is ideal.
Egg White Mask
Egg whites will remove blackheads and temporarily tighten skin pores, helping to prevent new blackheads from forming. As an added bonus this mask will leave your skin super soft too.
- 1 egg
- A small bowl
First, separate the egg white from the yolk. If you don’t know how to do this go to youtube for a quick demonstration. Then briefly whisk the egg white with a fork to make it easier to use.
Next, apply a thin layer of egg white, onto clean skin and let it dry. Apply a further two layers of egg white, allowing each one to dry before continuing.
Once the mask is dry, use a warm, wet, washcloth to gently remove it, then pat your skin dry and moisturize.
Bentonite Clay Mask
Bentonite clay is rich in minerals and has antibacterial properties. It’s superb at lifting oil and other impurities from blocked pores. Make this mask with water if you have sensitive skin. How long you leave the mask on is up to you, but some people find that allowing the clay to dry completely irritates their skin. Experiment to find out what works best for you.
- 1 tablespoon of Bentonite Clay
- Water or Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Mix the clay with enough water or ACV to form a paste. The paste should be thick not runny. Smooth the paste onto your skin, using your fingertips, then let it sit for fifteen to twenty minutes.
To remove the mask, place a warm, wet washcloth over the clay to soften it, then gently wipe off. Rinse with warm water. Pat skin dry, then moisturize.[easyazon_infoblock align=”none” identifier=”B00N528HIC” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]
Kasturi Turmeric Paste
This isn’t the regular turmeric that you find at the grocery store. Kasturi Turmeric also known as Kasturi Manjal and Wild Turmeric, is a non-edible variety and won’t stain your skin. You may find it locally, if you have a good Indian grocery in your area, but if not, you can find it online.
Kasturi turmeric has strong antibacterial and antiseptic qualities and is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. While the lactic acid in the milk or yogurt helps to break down old skin cells.
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- Yogurt or milk
Mix the turmeric and milk or yogurt into a paste and apply to your skin. Leave for thirty minutes, then wash off. Simple!
The acidic compounds in lemon juice naturally remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Lemon juice is also high in Vitamin C which stimulates Collagen production to improve skin health. Neat lemon juice is too harsh to use alone and can sting the skin.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon yogurt
Mix the ingredients together and apply to the affected area with your fingertips. Leave for 10 minutes then rinse off. The yogurt acts as a natural moisturizer, so you shouldn’t need to use additional products.
Oatmeal calms irritation, soaks up excess oil, removes dead skin cells and softens skin.
Cook a serving of oatmeal in milk or water and let it cool to room temperature before apply to your skin. Leave for 10 – 20 minutes then wash off.
The antioxidants in green tea help to dissolve excess oil and reduce inflammation.
- 8 oz water
- 2 bags green tea
- Cotton balls
Boil the water and steep the tea leaves for one hour. When the tea has cooled, dab the liquid onto your blackheads and let it dry. Rinse with clean water, pat skin dry and moisturize. You can use this treatment daily.
Aloe Vera soothes skin (it’s wonderful on sunburn), cleanses pores and controls excess oil production.
The best way to obtain Aloe Vera is to buy it as a houseplant, then you’ve got fresh, unadulterated gel, on hand whenever you need it. It’s very easy to extract the gel from the leaves.
Take a sharp, clean knife and cut off a section of leaf, an inch or two is sufficient for most uses. Don’t worry about the plant, it will seal the cut and be unharmed.
Then place the leaf section flat on a cutting board and slice along both edges. Next carefully slice away the top and bottom layers, and you’ll be left with a small, transparent block of gel.
Pop the gel into a cup and break it up with a spoon, then it’s ready to use.
Smooth the gel onto your skin, leave for 10 minutes then rinse off with warm water.
Aspirin and Honey
Aspirin contains a compound related to Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is commonly used in commercial preparations to dissolve the oils and dead skin cells that cause blackheads. Honey has impressive antibacterial qualities and has been used medicinally for centuries, it also contains vitamins and minerals to nourish your skin.
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- 2 Aspirin dissolved in a little water
Mix the honey and Aspirin together to form a paste. Use your fingertips to apply the paste to your skin, leave for 15 minutes, then wash off with warm water.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can penetrate into your skin, disinfecting blocked pores and drying out blackheads. While effective, tea tree oil may not be suitable if you have sensitive skin.
Never apply undiluted tea tree oil to your skin. As with most essential oils you should dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil.
The best carrier oil to use is Jojoba oil because it’s very similar to the sebum naturally produced by your skin. But other oils work equally well. Try olive, coconut, or sweet almond oils.
- 1 tablespoon jojoba or other carrier oil
- 3 drops tea tree oil
Simply mix the two oils together, apply to your skin, leave for 10 minutes, then wash off, pat skin dry and moisturize.
Be careful to keep tea tree oil away from your mouth since it should never be ingested.
Another easy way to get the blackhead-busting-benefits of tea tree oil, is to use a tea tree oil liquid soap – Dr Bronner’s is a good one – as part of your daily skincare routine.
Witch Hazel is known for its astringent (causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues) and antiseptic qualities. It kills bacteria on the skin and reduces the apparent size of skin pores.
You can purchase Witch Hazel ready to use. Simply dab it onto affected areas with a cotton ball and leave it to dry. No need to wash it off.
Cinnamon and Honey Pore Strips
Pore strips are sticky strips that you press onto your skin. They’re usually used on the forehead, nose and chin. When you whip them off again, they pull the plug of sebum and dead skin cells away, leaving your skin blackhead free. While this is the quickest way to deal with blackheads, they’re too harsh for daily use. Use once a week for best results.
You can buy pore strips, but they’re easy and inexpensive to make at home and you won’t have to worry about commercial adhesives hurting your skin.
In this recipe, honey provides antibacterial properties as well as the stickiness to pull the blackheads and other pore clogging debris away from your skin. Cinnamon improves circulation and tightens pores, giving your skin a healthy glow.
- Strips of cloth or gauze
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Mix the honey and cinnamon together to form a paste. Use your fingertips to apply a layer of paste onto the are you are going to treat. Press a strip of cotton or gauze firmly onto the paste, then let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes, before removing and washing your face. Follow up with a soothing moisturizer.
Castor Oil absorbs skin impurities and clears away the dead cells clogging your pores. It will leave your skin soft and clean.
Apply a thin layer of castor oil over your face, let it soak in for 20 – 30 minutes, then use a warm washcloth to wipe it off. You can use this treatment daily.
Baking soda acts as a mild exfoliant to clear away dead skin cells. It’s also antibacterial and antifungal.
Simply mix a little baking soda with water to form a smooth paste and apply it to your face with your fingertips. Massage using small, circular motions then leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off with clean water.
Baking soda is drying to the skin so make sure to follow up with a rich moisturizer.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which is a potent antibacterial agent. Daily use of coconut oil will help to prevent blackheads and it’s an excellent moisturizer too.
Apply a layer of oil to the affected area and rub in, you don’t need to wash it off.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Mint Toner
Apple Cider vinegar cleans your pores and kills bacteria. The addition of mint, soothes inflammation and makes it easier for your pores to release the debris clogging them.
- 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 8 oz water
- 3 tablespoons fresh, crushed mint leaves or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Cotton balls
- Clean glass jar
If you’re using peppermint essential oil, simply combine it with the apple cider vinegar and water, then apply to your face with a cotton ball. Leave for a few hours or overnight. Rinse skin with water and moisturize.
If you’re using fresh mint, then you need to let the leaves infuse the vinegar with their skin healing properties. This takes time, but it’s very easy to make an infusion.
Take the apple cider vinegar and mint leaves and place them in the jar. Pop the lid on, then leave it to sit in a cool, dark place for one week. Then strain the mixture to remove the leaves. Add the water and give the jar a shake to mix. Use as above. Store the toner in your fridge for up to one week, then discard any leftovers and make a fresh batch.
Grapeseed, Lavender and Bergamot Essential Oil Blend
Essential oils truly are one of the best additions you can make to your home remedy kit. Plant oils provide a remedy for a staggering number of the viral, bacterial and fungal conditions that plague us, as well as supplying potent anti-inflammatories and painkillers. They smell amazing too.
Why makes essential oils so potent? – Plants have had to develop complex defense strategies, to protect themselves from a whole host of infections and attacks. And luckily for us those defense strategies involve the production of complex compounds that we can extract, concentrate and use ourselves.
When you use essential oils, you’re getting millions of years of Mother Nature’s know how.
Unlike the simple disinfectants and antibacterial agents commercially produced today – which have one or two active ingredients – essential plant oils contain hundreds of substances, that work synergistically, each one enhancing the effects of the others.
In this essential oil we’re going to combine Lavender and [easyazon_link identifier=”B003TMA3DU” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Bergamot essential oils[/easyazon_link] with a grapeseed carrier oil.
Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils and it’s also very gentle, making it one of the few that you can use undiluted on your skin. Its antibacterial and cleansing properties will penetrate into your skin and unclog your pores. While its anti-inflammatory properties, calm skin and help it release impurities.
Bergamot is especially useful in treating blackheads because it kills bacteria and works to control excess sebum production.
Grapeseed oil is a light carrier oil, high in the antioxidants, Vitamins C and E.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops bergamot essential oil
Simply mix the oils together and apply wherever you have a blackhead problem. If you have oil left over, just rub it onto the rest of your body. It smells wonderfully fresh and is a unisex fragrance blend.
Since the remedies listed above are so quick, easy and inexpensive to make, you can afford to experiment with them and find the ones that are most effective for your needs.