Blackheads are bothersome as they clog your pores with oil and dead skin cells. Ironically, this type of acne can still have lasting effects even after the blackhead is removed. Also called blackhead holes, these enlarged pores may fail to shrink once they have been plugged up. In spite of some beauty product claims, it's not possible to completely eliminate blackhead holes. But you can minimize the appearance of these pesky pits by tightening your pores and using techniques to prevent the holes from clogging again.
Reduce the Appearance
Unclog blackhead holes with a retinoid treatment. While many of these vitamin-A derivatives are available as prescriptions, there are also plenty of over-the-counter options. Retinoids are also effective in reducing sebum (oil) and dead skin cells that can lead to another blackhead formation. It's possible to see results within four to six weeks of regular use.
Follow up every cleansing with a salicylic-acid toner. This ingredient helps to remove excess oil to get rid of blackheads and clear out enlarged pores. Since salicylic acid can be a drying agent, you should start out using the product once a day and gradually increase use to twice a day to prevent irritation.
Make a pore-friendly paste out of baking soda and water. Not only is this method wallet-friendly, but the baking soda is effective in eliminating blackheads. Furthermore, the natural exfoliation also decreases the look of blackhead holes.
Prevent Future Clogs
Use a clay mask two to three times a week. Unlike moisturizing masks, clay versions tighten your pores and may prevent new blackheads from forming. Regular use can also reduce the appearance of enlarged pores from old blackheads. For best results, use consistently -- otherwise oil will accumulate and make blackhead holes look bigger.
Use pore strips to directly target clogged pores. Unlike blackhead extractors, these over-the-counter strips are less likely to irritate and enlarge pores.
Invest in a microdermabrasion kit for occasional deep exfoliation. Dermatologists use professional dermabrasion to improve enlarged pores. While microdermabrasion is not as harsh, the exfoliation can prevent clogs. It also has the potential for improving texture over time, even when you have enlarged pores.
Contact your dermatologist for prescription medications if home remedies fail to minimize blackhead holes. In severe cases, your doctor might suggest a type of surgery called a punch biopsy to physically close pores.
Enlarged pores are more prone to blockage. However, you should refrain from popping new blackheads. Doing so will only cause redness and swelling. Severe cases can lead to scars and infections.
Kristeen Cherney began writing healthy lifestyle and education articles in 2008. Since then, her work has appeared in various online publications, including Healthline.com, Ideallhealth.com and FindCollegeInfo.com. Cherney holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English.