Many people believe that if they scrub, wash, or use enough masks that it will eventually cure them of blackheads. While some maintenance is required for clear skin, your effort to be pore-less might actually be your problem.
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In case you weren’t aware, blackheads are not dirt, and they don’t come from your “pores.” Pores are virtually unseen by the naked eye and they produce sweat rather than oil.
Much larger than the pores are your follicles. This is where your sebum (or oil) comes from.
Our oil has carotene in it. If you think of carrots when you hear that word, you’re correct in your thinking as carrots have lots of carotene. And what happens to carrots when they go bad? They turn black.
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The same happens to our own oil. When exposed to air and sunlight for prolonged periods of time, it turns black. It’s a process called “oxidization” and it’s responsible for blackheads.
Depending on your skin type and health, blackheads can be a really apparent or less apparent, but most everyone has them.
How do you get rid of them?
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Getting rid of blackheads requires an understanding of how they form in the first place.
In a perfect world, sweat and oil come together and create a soft fluid layer called the acid mantle. This protective layer moisturizes and balances the pH levels of your skin Without proper balance or sweat, the skin becomes dry and sebum hardens. This makes it difficult for the sebum to pass through the follicle.
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This traps it and creates continuous blackhead formations.
There are many things you can do to remove them temporarily, but without addressing the cause, they will return.
Why do they occur?
Most commonly, blackheads form due to lack of sweat or using products that are too harsh.
Going to the sauna and regular exercise are really easy ways to clear blackheads. They require a little more work or free time, but they make it virtually impossible for blackheads to form.
In addition, cleansing is another way to perform blackhead maintenance. Cleansing helps to stimulate your glands and get them moving along.
Unfortunately, many cleansing products on the market are too harsh. They are often times the reason your skin is dry and producing blackheads in the first place. Avoid products that use sulfates or detergents These penetrate deep into the skin and strip away precious moisture your skin has on reserve for later.
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One way of knowing if your cleanser is too harsh is if your skin feels tight after using it. If it feels tight, your cleanser likely just robbed your skin of the ability to protect itself and stay clear.
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There is hype on the internet about using baking soda and lemon juice, or that apple cider vinegar has a homemade remedy to clear blackheads. I do not recommend trying these. These ingredients are too harsh for the skin and disrupt your acid mantle’s natural pH level. Peel-away mask and strips are also more of a gimmick than they are helpful. These methods will not cure blackheads.
Using a gentle exfoliant twice a week and a clay based mask every so often, maybe once a week or twice a month, will not completely cure blockheads, but they do encourage clear and healthy skin so I strongly recommend them.