No matter what I do, I will most likely always have blackheads. Unlike acne, blackheads are more of a cosmetic nuisance than a sign of an underlying health imbalance. That doesn’t make them any less annoying. But it does make them relatively easy to get rid of at home using ingredients from your pantry. Not only can kitchen staples like milk, honey and nutmeg help as a blackheads remedy, they may help prevent them from popping up in the first place.
If you’re looking for a simple blackheads remedy, here are 10 of the best ways to tackle blackheads and get clearer, more radiant looking skin.
Blackheads are essentially just clogged pores that have been exposed to air, making them appear black. They can show up on anyone, anywhere, but they’re super common on skin that’s prone to sweating and excess oil production, like the chin, nose or cheeks.
While it’s true that blackheads and oily skin go hand in hand, washing your face too often can actually make the problem worse. Stripping skin of much-needed moisture causes the body to compensate by producing more oil, not less. And more oil leads to more clogged pores. It’s the ultimate catch-22.
Once blackheads crop up, they can be pretty tough to get rid of. And because they’re so stubborn, prevention is often easier than treatment. In some cases, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from forming in the first place:
- Oil cleanse. Washing your face with oil is a great way to remove oily buildup without drying out your skin. While adding oil may seem counter-intuitive, just remember that water repels oil, often forcing it deeper into pores, while oil dissolves oil, carrying it and other impurities away. Oil cleansing also moisturizes the skin so your body doesn’t produce extra oil to compensate.
- Don’t wear as much makeup. Full-cover concealer and foundation is notorious for clogging pores. I was skeptical about this until I tried it myself, but it works. My skin improved drastically when I stopped wearing makeup every day and started letting my skin breathe.
- Keep pH balance in mind. Our skin is naturally acidic. But when this acid mantle gets disturbed, it allows bacteria to flourish, which in turn causes blackheads and breakouts. Applying a slightly acidic toner to blackhead prone areas can help keep breakouts away. To make your own toner, mix ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar with ½ cup water and apply using a cotton ball twice a day.
No matter how often I cleanse my skin, tackle dirt and oil or overhaul my diet, my blackheads keep coming back. I chalk it up to genetics and environment—I have naturally oily skin and Virginia weather is often hot and humid. There’s not much I can do about it. While I may never get rid of them completely, through trial and error I have learned how to minimize their appearance and keep the worst flare-ups at bay. And if I’m super vigilant, you’d probably never know I had blackheads to begin with.
Here are 10 blackhead remedies I swear by.
10 Blackhead Remedies to Try at Home
Wherever you find blackheads, you’ll also find oil-production on overdrive. Bentonite clay works by absorbing dirt, oil and impurities from deep within pores and carrying them away. Because bentonite clay can be somewhat drying, it’s best if you only use it once a week. For especially troubled skin, you can use it as a spot-treatment twice a week as a blackheads remedy, but be sure to take a break if you see any redness or peeling.
When used correctly, baking soda polishes away blackheads and keeps pores clear without irritating sensitive skin. Combine 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Apply as a thick paste and gently massage for 3-4 minutes. For added blackhead fighting power, let dry for 5 additional minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water
Raw honey can help unclog pores while simultaneously soothing irritation, killing bacteria and moisturizing dry skin. Apply a thin layer of honey to blackhead-prone areas and use your fingers to massage in a circular motion. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, then gently rinse it off with warm water.
Lemon + salt scrub
Lemon juice acts as an astringent, which helps loosen blackheads and disinfect pores, while salt removes dead skin cells and buffs away embedded gunk. Mix 1 teaspoon salt with 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small bowl. Apply to skin and gently massage in a light, circular motion for 60 seconds. Be careful not to scrub too hard or you risk damaging your skin’s moisture barrier and making breakouts worse. Rinse off and follow up with a light moisturizer.
The main ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid, sinks into pores and helps break down blackheads quickly. Simply crush an aspirin tablet using the back of a spoon and mix it with a few drops of water. Apply to blackheads and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off.
Egg whites can remove blackheads just like store-bought pore strips, but for much, much cheaper. Take an egg, and separate the yolk from the whites. Pour the whites into a bowl and beat them slightly with a fork. Then take a small piece of toilet paper and dip it in the egg white until it’s completely saturated. Lay it on top of the blackheads and let dry for 15 minutes. Using both hands, gently pull off the strip and, hopefully, the blackheads along with it.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works by restoring skin’s pH balance, removing dead skin cells and rinsing away other impurities that can cause clogged pores. To use as a spot treatment, simply pour raw ACV on a cotton ball and dab on the affected area. For use on the entire face, combine ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with ½ cup water and apply twice daily. Let dry completely without rinsing.
A facial steam helps soften blackheads and dead skin cells so they can be removed more easily. Pour piping hot water into a shallow bowl. Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl so that your face is about 12 inches from the water. Allow the steam to sink into pores for roughly five minutes. Gently pat your face dry, then attempt to remove blackheads with a blackhead extractor, pore strips or any other method you choose.
Milk + nutmeg
Apply a mixture of 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg to blackheads and massage gently using your fingertips. The lactic acid in milk helps break down dead skin cells so you can rinse them away. And nutmeg absorbs oil and gently scrubs away dirt and grime, leaving behind radiantly smooth skin. To kick this blackheads remedy up a notch, try buttermilk instead of regular milk (it contains significantly more lactic acid).