Blackheads can put a dark cloud over your complexion. These tiny black bumps are a combination of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria that get into your skin and clog your pores. The area turns black when the air hits it; otherwise, these elements stay under the skin and turn into a pimple or whitehead. Squeezing the blackhead using your fingertips or an extraction tool is never a good idea because an unsightly scab could appear on the pore. When this happens, however, there are things you can do to encourage the scab to fall off.
Turn the shower to a hot water setting and close the door. Step inside the shower when it is filled with steam. The steam helps soften the skin around the blackhead scab.
Pump a dollop of acne-fighting facial cleanser featuring benzoyl peroxide onto a soft washcloth. Gently wash the scab using small circles. Rinse your face well, and finish the rest of your shower. The cleanser keeps further bacteria and oil at bay while the washcloth is used as a gentle exfoliator to loosen the scab, if it is ready to come off.
Pat your body and face dry with a clean towel. Dab an acne-fighting product featuring salicylic acid onto the scab and surrounding area. This unplugs the blocked blackhead pores and helps wipe out bacteria under the scab. It also works to soften the skin even further so the scab can fall off.
Apply a soothing, topical antibiotic ointment to the scab twice throughout the day until it falls off. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shannon Humphrey, scabs heal better when moist. This can also help reduce inflammation and keep other dirt, oil and bacteria at bay.
Repeat the steps above until you've successfully removed the blackhead scab. Once it falls off, dip a cotton swab into petroleum jelly. Dab the petroleum directly onto the fresh skin to help prevent scaring. Do this after your cleansing routine for one week.
Place a cold, wet washcloth on the scab to relieve itching.
Refrain from using any scrubs or electronic facial brushes; they can pull the scab off before it's ready.
Benzoyl peroxide can stain sheets, towels and clothing. Allow ample time for your face to dry before touching these things.
Stay out of the sun and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30. Ultra-violet rays can cause discoloration at the point where the scab was.
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.