There are plenty of underlying causes (and treatments) for acne, but when it comes to blackheads, they’re more of a cosmetic nuisance than a deep health problem. Still, blackheads are unsightly and I’m sure we all would prefer not to have them! Luckily these homemade blackhead removal ideas can help reverse and prevent blackheads without harming delicate facial skin.
What Causes Blackheads?
Blackheads are basically clogged pores. These clogs are made up of dead skin cells and excess oil from your skin. While whiteheads are clogs in a closed pore, blackheads are clogs in an open pore (exposure to air turns the clog to a black color).
Since blackheads are actually caused by oil in the skin (not dirt or other debris) washing the face too much can actually cause more blackheads! That’s because overwashed skin can dry out and cause the sebaceous glands to produce too much oil. Other causes of blackheads include:
excess bacteria on the skin
irritation of the pore
hormonal changes (which can trigger excess oil production)
How to Prevent Blackheads
Since the main cause of blackheads is a build up of oil and dead skin cells, the best natural prevention will reduce the oil and dead skin cells that create the clog in the first place. Here are some easy ways to reduce blackheads:
Don’t over-cleanse. Stripping away the natural oils will only cause the pores to produce even more oil to compensate. This can cause overly oily skin which can cause more blackheads!
Consider the oil cleansing method. Cleansing with oil is a great way to remove build up without drying out the skin. Oil cleansing works by first removing build-up (like dissolves like). Oil cleansing then moisturizes the skin so it doesn’t overcompensate with oil production.
Wear makeup less often and/or switch to a brand that is mineral or food-based (or make homemade makeup!). When I quit covering blemishes with conventional makeup I immediately noticed a dip in the number of blemishes. Natural mineral or food-based makeup can help enhance the look of the skin without causing acne or blackheads.
Consider using an apple cider vinegar toner (or jojoba oil for a more moisturizing option). When the acid mantle of the skin is disrupted, the pH balance becomes off and can allow bacteria to grow (which causes blackheads). Raw apple cider vinegar can be used to balance the pH of the skin. To use, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts filtered water and apply lightly to face with a cotton ball. This remedy can be used a few times a day, preferably after cleansing. Be cautious though: this treatment may be too drying for certain skin types. Try a quality jojoba oil instead, applied to the skin undiluted. Like ACV, jojoba has lots of benefits like supporting the natural pH balance of the skin and is moisturizing as well.
Splash the face with cool water after cleansing. This helps close the pores so gunk is less likely to get in there and cause blackheads.
Homemade Blackhead Removal Ideas
Even with all the prevention in the world, an occasional blackhead is tough to avoid. Squeezing blackheads is tempting and probably how most people manage them but this can spread bacteria from the pore to the skin and may cause a small infection or full-blown pimple.
Here are some homemade blackhead removal techniques that are also gentle on the skin (no squeezing required!).
Bentonite clay is a powerful tool to detox the body from the inside out and can be used as an effective blackhead removal technique. It’s best for normal to oily skin, and has an electrical charge that actually helps remove toxins from the body. In this case, bentonite clay removes toxins directly from the skin when applied topically. It also helps eliminate bacteria which can worsen blackheads.
How to Use: Mix a paste of bentonite clay with water. Spread on the skin and allow to dry for about 15 minutes. When dry, rehydrate the clay by wetting hands and dabbing the clay or using a warm, wet washcloth and gently resting the washcloth on the clay. When rehydrated, gently remove the clay with the wet washcloth.
Honey is an amazing all around natural remedy and can, unsurprisingly, be used on the skin too. I even “wash” my face with it sometimes!
How to Use: Dab raw, filtered honey on the area that is affected by blackheads. The dabbing motion and the stickiness of the honey will remove the blackheads. Honey also has antiseptic properties so it can help remove dead skin cells/gunk as well as kill bacteria that clog pores.
A note about filtered honey: Filtering takes the beeswax out of the honey. Beeswax may cause clogged pores so it makes sense to use honey without beeswax in it. You can find raw filtered honey online or at most natural food stores.
Turmeric and Honey Gel
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe skin and reduce pores. The antioxidants can also give skin a healthy glow. The addition of honey helps to clear the gunk from the pores (by sticking to dead skin cells as well as killing bacteria) and keep it from returning.
How to Use: Make a paste of honey and powdered turmeric (2 parts honey to 1 part turmeric) and dab on the affected area.
Lemon and salt is a great combo that is not as harsh as it sounds! Salt helps to rid pores of bacteria. Lemon juice helps fight bacteria and brightens the skin (thanks to citric acid).
How to Use: To make a scrub, mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt with 1 teaspoon of water and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to the area and massage in for a few minutes. Then rinse with warm water. If this combo is drying to the skin, add more water the mixture or follow up with jojoba oil.
The idea with the egg white mask is that as the egg white dries, it latches onto the gunk in the pore and pulls it out. Eggs also contain vitamins A, D, and E which are excellent for skin health.
How to Use: Whisk some egg whites and apply to the face. When it feels tight and dry (about 10 minutes) gently rinse with warm water. Another variation is to add a bit of raw (filtered) honey to the egg mixture. The addition of honey helps moisturize and kill bacteria.
Since blackheads are really clogged pores, it’s important to exfoliate the skin to reduce blackheads. Over-the-counter exfoliators often include microbeads and other synthetic “scrubbers” that can cause environmental problems (and can be especially harsh on skin). As usual … natural is the way to go!
Here are some easy ideas and DIY recipes for natural exfoliating:
Gentle Oatmeal Lavender Facial Scrub
Antioxidant Cumin Facial Scrub
Basic Sugar Scrub
nutmeg and milk
honey and baking soda
How to Use: Simply mix the ingredients together to the consistency of wet sand. Gently work into the skin for a few minutes and rinse with warm water.
Blackhead Removal: Bottom Line
Let’s be honest, blackheads aren’t that noticeable unless you’re looking very closely. Other people probably don’t notice them half as much as we do (if at all). But, they’re still there and can be quite annoying! These natural blackhead removal ideas should help rid the skin of blackheads and reduce the oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells that cause them. Bonus: Each remedy is safe and healthy for the skin and can improve its overall appearance!
Have you found a natural solution to blackheads? I’m all ears! Let me know in the comments.