Blackheads are more of a nuisance than a health problem, and I’m sure the majority of us would prefer to be rid of them (I know I was). Thankfully, there are some simple homemade remedies you can use to help reverse and prevent blackheads from appearing in the future without needing chemical-filled cosmetics or harming your delicate skin in the process. (An added bonus: each remedy mentioned is safe and healthy to use on the skin, and can actually improve your skins’ overall appearance!)
What Causes Blackheads?
Good question. Blackheads are often caused by clogged pores, resulting from a build-up of dead skin cells and excess oil from your skin. The difference between whiteheads and blackheads is whiteheads are clogs in a closed pore, while blackheads are clogs in an open pore. The exposure to air causes the clog to turn a black colour.
As blackheads are actually caused by oil in the skin, not dirt or debris, washing your face too much can actually bring about more blackheads! This is because skin that has been overwashed can dry out and cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce even more oil to counteract this dryness. Some other causes of blackheads include:
- An overabundance of bacteria on the skin
- Hormonal changes, which can trigger the overproduction of oil on the skin
- Irritation of the pore
- Oily skin
Ways to Prevent Blackheads
As the main cause of blackheads is a build-up of dead skin cells and oil causing clogged pores, the best way to reduce this is to:
- Stop over-cleansing. Stripping away the natural oils on your skin only causes your pores to produce more oil to compensate (it just becomes a vicious cycle). It results in overly oily skin which can cause more blackheads (not something you want).
- Think about using the oil cleansing method. Cleansing your skin with oil instead helps to remove build-up without drying out the skin (it’s a win-win!). Oil cleansing starts off by removing build-up, then it moisturises the skin so it doesn’t continue to produce an excess amount of oil.
- Splash cool water on your face after cleansing. This helps to close the pores so gunk is less likely to get in and clog your pores up again.
- Try using apple cider vinegar as a toner (or jojoba oil as a moisturiser). When the acid coating of the skin is disturbed, the pH level becomes off and this can allow bacteria to grow (which may result in more blackheads). Using raw, unpasturised apple cider vinegar as a toner can help in rebalancing the pH of the skin. Simply mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water (I use filtered water) and apply lightly to the face with a cotton ball. You can use this a few times a day, ideally after cleansing. Just a word of caution though: this treatment may dry out certain skin types. If your skin feels too dry after using this remedy, try using a quality jojoba oil instead, applied to the skin undiluted. Jojoba oil has numerous benefits, including its ability to support the natural pH balance of the skin, and makes a wonderful moisturiser too.
- Wear makeup less often or switch to brands that are mineral or food-based. Using natural or mineral-based makeup can help enhance the look of the skin without causing blackheads or acne.
DIY Remedies to Remove Blackheads
Squeezing blackheads can be very tempting and is one of the ways most people handle them, but the downside to this is it can spread bacteria that was in the pore to the skin and may cause a small infection or pimples to appear.
These are some homemade remedies that can help in removing blackheads that are also gentle on the skin.
Honey is an amazing all-round remedy (I’ve used it in the past to help heal skin infections), and can be used on the skin to help remove blackheads. Honey has antiseptic properties so it can help remove dead skin cells as well as kill bacteria that clog up your pores.
To Use: Dab some raw, filtered honey onto any blackheads and allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes. Remove with a warm, damp cloth. The reason it’s a good idea to use filtered honey is because the filtering process removes any beeswax that may have been present in the honey prior. Beeswax may cause clogged pores, which is why filtered honey is preferable.
This duo is a great blackhead remover as the salt helps remove bacteria in the pores, and the lemon juice helps to brighten the skin (due to the citric acid present in the juice) and aids in killing bacteria.
To Use: Mix together 1 tbsp sea salt with 1/2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp filtered water. Apply to affected area and gently massage in for a few minutes. Rinse off the scrub with warm water. If this scrub dries out your skin, add more water to the mix or moisturise with jojoba oil at the end.
Bentonite clay is great for helping to detox the body from the inside out. When wet, it has an electrical charge that helps to draw out toxins from the body. It’s best to use on normal to oily skin. When applied topically, it helps to eliminate bacteria and remove toxins directly from the skin.
To Use: Mix together bentonite clay and water until it forms a paste. Spread on the skin and allow it to dry for around 15 minutes. Once it’s dry, wet the clay on your skin again to rehydrate it by either wetting your hands and dabbing the clay or using a warm, wet washcloth and gently rest the washcloth on the clay until it becomes moist again. Once it’s rehydrated, gently remove the clay with the wet washcloth.
The egg white mask has been used by many in removing blackheads as, when the mask dries, it binds to the gunk in the pores and pulls it out. Another benefit of this mask is it’s great for skin complexion and health as eggs contain vitamins A,D and E which are beneficial for skin health.
To Use: Whisk some egg whites together, then, on a clean face, spread the egg whites all over using your fingers or a paintbrush. Start with one thin layer and let it dry briefly. Then spread a second layer over the top and let the whole thing dry completely. Add a third layer specifically on the blackhead areas. Allow this mask to dry for 15 minutes. Your face will feel tight and pull a bit, which is good. Once the 15 minutes has passed, scrub the egg whites off your face very gently with a warm, wet washcloth. Another option is to add a bit of raw (filtered) honey to the egg mixture. Adding honey to the mixture helps moisturise your skin and kill bacteria.
Since blackheads are clogged pores, it’s important that you still exfoliate your skin to remove blackheads. Conventional exfoliators often include microbeads and other synthetic materials that help to scrub your face. However, these are very harmful to the environment and can damage your skin. Here are some DIY exfoliants to help naturally clean your skin:
- Nutmeg and milk
- Honey and baking soda
To Use: Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until the consistency reaches that similar to wet sand. Gently massage into the skin for a few minutes and rinse off with warm water.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that can assist in soothing skin and reducing pores. Plus, the antioxidants present in turmeric help to give the skin a natural, healthy glow. Adding honey to this recipe helps to clear dead skin cells and bacteria from the pores with its stickiness.
To Use: Make a paste combining 2 parts honey and 1 part powdered turmeric and dab on the affected area.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.
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Do you use any other natural remedies to help remove blackheads? Share in the comments below! I’d love to know!
Wells, Katie. (January 8, 2019). Natural Ways to Get Rid of Blackheads. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/347042/blackhead-removal/
Crunchy Betty. (August 2, 2017). 5 Natural Ways to Remove Blackheads. Crunchy Betty. Retrieved from https://crunchybetty.com/remove-blackheads/
Patterson, Susan. (September 29, 2016). 12 Best Home Remedies For Blackheads Backed By Science. Natural Living Ideas. Retrieved from https://www.naturallivingideas.com/home-remedies-for-blackheads/