According to the Mayo Clinic, blackheads occur when the openings of hair follicles become blocked by dead skin cells and bacteria. The end result is a small black mark on the skin. One culprit that may also be causing blackheads is oil secretions seeping from enlarged pores. During puberty, the pores on the skin, especially around the nose, begin to enlarge to accommodate the excess production of oil. There are several ways to both shrink the pores and reduce the amount of blackheads.
Mash one tomato with a fork and apply the contents to the face. Allow the mash to remain for 10 minutes before rinsing it away with cold water. The alpha hydroxy acid in tomato juice is said to reduce the size of pores.
Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser that contains vitamin C or alpha hydroxy acid. These antioxidants increase the production of elastin and collagen in the skin, which will loosen dirt and oil from the pores, effectively reducing their size and minimizing the number of blackheads.
Exfoliate three to four times a week with a facial exfoliating scrub or wash. This will reduce the size of pores and remove blackheads by cleaning out the oils that may lead to blackhead formation.
Apply a clay mask once a week to the face. Allow the mask to sit for 10 to 20 minutes and rinse with cold water. The clay will reduce the size of pores, which, in turn, will lessen the amount of blackheads that appear on the face. These masks can be purchased at most drug or beauty supply stores.
Use an over-the-counter acne medication. These medications contain products, such as salicylic acid, that will remove acne-causing bacteria and dead skin cells that are causing the pores to clog.
Apply blackhead-removing strips, such as Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, to the face. These strips can be applied to the nose, cheeks and forehead, and work by pulling the blackheads out of the skin.
Apply a pre-foundation skin primer before applying foundation to the skin. This primer will reduce the appearance of large pores, which makes the skin appear smoother.
Speak to a dermatologist about prescription products that can reduce the number of blackheads. Products that contain retionoids, such as Retin-A, promote cell growth and turnover, which reduces blockage of the pores.