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The best anti-blackhead skin care products

While I may not know you, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time engrossed in pimple-popping videos on TikTok. Most of these videos depict blackheads, often quite substantial ones, being released from pores in a satisfyingly horrifying (or should I say, satisfying) close-up. Our collective fascination with blackheads shows no signs of diminishing, and rightfully so, as they are a common skin concern. Google Trends data reveals a 50% increase in searches for “blackhead treatment” in the past 30 days, with a staggering 11.8 billion views for the term “blackhead removal” on TikTok.

Blackheads are a type of acne, filled with a plug of sebum (or oil) and dead skin cells. They appear black due to the oxidation of melanin within the plug. People with oily skin and larger pores are more prone to blackheads, but they can affect anyone.

How to Effectively Treat Blackheads

While, yes, replicating techniques seen on TikTok can be tempting, experts unanimously agree that extractions are best done by professionals. Overly aggressive attempts at blackhead removal can cause irritation, inflammation, and, in some cases, scarring. It’s recommended to use products at home that aid in accelerating skin renewal while gently exfoliating and unclogging pores.

Ingredients to consider include retinol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and alpha-hydroxy acids. A good skincare routine is essential—properly cleanse your face, exfoliate gently two to three times a week, removing dead skin and debris. Look for non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products.

Treatment Options to Explore

A robust skincare routine is crucial, but several clinic treatments can also help rapidly reduce the appearance of blackheads. Dr. Granite recommends Hydrafacial, a suction-based treatment that combines extractions, exfoliation, and cleansing in one device for clearer, healthier skin.

“In the clinic, I use professional-strength salicylic acid peels, coupled with hydradermabrasion and manual extractions to remove sebum plugs from pores,” explains facialist Debbie Thomas. She then focuses on reducing the skin’s oil production. “The ADVATx laser has excellent settings to zap oil glands, temporarily reducing oil production,” she says. “Another great pre-event pore-cleansing treatment is carbon laser peel, involving applying a black carbon-based peel on the skin, letting it dry, and adhering to sticky sebum. You then use a laser to evaporate it, leaving pores clean. I’ve undergone this treatment myself, and it sounds worse than it actually is—your skin looks and feels fantastic afterward.”

While enlarged pores may make blackheads more noticeable, the only way to reduce them is by boosting underlying collagen to make them less apparent. For this, Thomas also recommends Fotona Laser’s fractional skin resurfacing, triggering the immediate production of vital collagen.

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