Getting Rid of Blackheads for Good

Megan Dominion

Blackheads, or sebaceous filaments, are caused by an accumulation of oil and dead skin cells within the pores in the skin. When the top of whiteheads oxidise, they become blackheads due to their appearance, but essentially whiteheads and blackheads are caused by the same thing. They are extremely common, and are often found particularly on and around the nose.

Getting rid of blackheads can be an extremely frustrating journey. Especially when we reach for products that claim to cure blackheads, but end up being very sripping on the skin, and causing other issues such as overly dry skin, irritated skin, or don’t effectively get rid of those pesky blackheads at all! So this list is here to provide details around the specific ingredients that science has shown to be effective in getting rid of blackheads, so you can pick your products accordingly, and have the flexibility to choose products that work well with your particular skin.

Top 5 solutions to get rid of blackheads

5. Pore Strips

Pore strips are a way to quickly and painlessly remove blackheads from the skin. They use a gentle adhesive to attach themselves to blackheads, pulling them out of the pore when removed. They are incredibly popular and can be a very satisfying experience.

However, they are my least favourite option to remove blackheads. Frequent use of pore strips means you are constantly removing oil from your skin too. Oils contribute to keeping your skin healthy, soft and moisturised. So pore strips should not really be your only solution to blackheads, but rather an occassional treatment if and when necessary (not more than once a month). They are also not going to solve the initial problem of why the blackheads are there in the first place.


4. Green Tea

The benefits of Green Tea for your skin seem to be boundless! It is high in antioxidants which can help to protect the skin against free radicals that can cause build-up of sebum (oil) which can result in blackheads. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components of green tea can also help to reduce bacteria and inflammation associated with blackheads.

You can apply a green tea-infused product directly to the affected area as a topical treatment, or find products with green tea in them, such as agreen tea toner, to add into your routine.

Additionally, drinking green tea can help to deliver antioxidants and nutrients to the skin through the bloodstream, helping to promote healthy skin overall as well as many other health benefits, including stress reduction!


3. Niacinamide

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is an active ingredient found in many skincare products. It’s a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of skin issues including blackheads. Research suggests that niacinamide helps to reduce excessive oil production, reduce inflammation, and unclog pores which can all help reduce the appearance of blackheads. It also has the ability to reduce hyperpigmentation caused by skin damage and can help even out skin tone.

So, by adding this ingredient to your skincare routine, not only will you be addressing the issue of blackheads, but get many other benefits along the way! Niacinamide is commonly found in many skincare products, so finding one to fit into your routine should’nt be very tricky.

I don’t recommend adding niacinamide to your skincare routine in the form of a face wash, and rather using something that will stay on your skin, such as a serum, moisturiser or even your sunscreen, to get the most out of this amazing ingredient.

2. Retinols

Retinols are topical medications derived from vitamin A that are used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, wrinkles, and blackheads. Retinols or retinoids work by unclogging pores, reducing inflammation, and increasing cell turnover, which helps reduce the appearance of blackheads. When applied directly to the affected area, retinoids can help reduce levels of sebum and bacteria that contribute to the formation of blackheads. They can also help reduce the visibility of existing blackheads and prevent future blackheads from forming.

Retinols can be very irritating to the skin when you first start using them, so it’s a good idea to start off slowly, every third day or so, and with a lower percentage to allow your skin to get used to the product.

Generally you should always use this ingredient at night, and follow with a sunscreen in the morning as it does make your skin more photosensitive. If you find retinols are too harsh, you can try bakuchiol, which has the same benefits of retinols, but is much gentler on the skin.

1. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is my top recommendation in getting rid of blackheads! It is a type of beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used to treat acne and other skin blemishes. It works by gently exfoliating and dissolving the skin around blackheads, allowing the underlying bacteria and oil to be removed.

Salicylic acid can also reduce sebum production, helping to reduce the number of blackheads that occur. Regular use of a salicylic acid-based product can help keep skin clear, improve skin tone, and help prevent future blackhead formation.

A great way to add salicylic acid to your routine is to add a facewash or toner that contains salicylic acid. It is a chemical exfoliant, so depending on the strength of the salicylic acid, try stick to once a day at first and see how your skin reacts before trying twice a day.

How to get rid of blackheads permanently!

Your battle with blackheads does not need to be limited to picking just one of the above solutions! I highly recommend trying to add any or all of the above one at a time, so you can watch how your skin reacts to the new products you introduce.

First, have a look at the products that you already use, there may be some of the above ingredients in them already. Then have a look at what ingredients you still want to add into your routine. It does not mean your routine needs to be 7 steps long. Stick to a Skinimalism routine and create a basic skincare routine that includes some of these blackhead fighting ingredients that you’ll stick to. Consistency is the key to seeing results when it comes to skincare.

Your blackhead fighting skincare routine could eventually look something along the lines of:

  • salicylic acid cleanser
  • green tea toner
  • retinol serum (at night)
  • niacinamide moisturiser
  • Sunscreen (in the morning)

woman washing her face and smiling

I recommend trying to introduce one thing at a time slowly, patch testing anything new, and discontinuing anything that gives you an adverse reaction. Remember to be patient, and it’s always a good idea to chat to a dermatologist or skin aesthetician if you are unsure, have any questions or concerns.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.