Blackheads form when a pore becomes clogged with dirt and oil. Everybody gets them and everybody hates them! Contrary to popular belief, blackheads affect people of all ages, not just teenagers. A diet heavy in sugars and fats, while not desirable by any stretch of the imagination, also has no direct relationship to blackhead formation. No matter what your mother told you, drinking soda and eating pizza does not make you develop blackheads. The way that you take care of your skin is the only factor in blackhead development. While it is very difficult, even impossible to keep your face blackhead-free forever, if you diligently follow a strict skincare regimen, you will see huge improvements in your skin.
Find a good aesthetician. The first step in avoiding blackheads is to remove any that you already have. Then, you can focus on the task of making sure they do not form in the future. Get a facial with extractions and you will be able to start your skincare regimen with a clean slate. Aestheticians have special tools to get the little buggers out and are experts on the proper technique. They will also be able to extract blackheads that you either can't see or can't get to, such as those inside the ears. Be sure to tell the aesthetician that you need extractions when you make the appointment. Many don't do them or won't be thorough about the job. If you are clear about your expectations up front, you will not be disappointed with your service. Facials can be pricey, so if cost is a factor, call local beauty schools to find out if you can participate in a student clinic.
Exfoliate 3-4 times per week. Exfoliation helps to clear away dead skin cells, dirt, oil and other impurites, all of which can clog pores and help blackheads to form. Even the cheapest facial scrubs will help to combat blackheads, but the pricier brands, with the finest grains are the best for the health of your skin. Resist the temptation to scrub your face raw every day. I promise, you won't be able to scrub the blackheads completely off. What will happen is you will do serious damage to your skin by scrubbing too hard or too frequently. Just a few quick strokes over the problem areas, once per day, 3 times per week is ideal. If you have followed these directions for a month and are still seeing blackheads form, you can then be assured that your blackheads are putting up a fight and increase exfoliation to 5 times per week.
Wash your face thoroughly morning and night. Again, be gentle. The type of cleanser that you use depends upon your skin's sensitivity and dryness. Having blackheads does not necessarily mean that a strong, drying cleanser is right for you. Take the needs of the rest of your face into consideration. A cleanser formulated for oily skin will often contain salicylic acid. This acid is an exfoliating agent that helps to unclog pores and break down impurities. It is a great tool for fighting blackheads, but can be very drying. If you have combination skin, use the salicylic acid containing cleanser on the problem areas and something else for the rest of your face. This way, the skin on your cheeks will not peel off and cause you to resemble Freddy Krueger.
Follow your cleansing with a specially formulated moisturizer. Many people are tempted to skip this step, reasoning that moisturizer will make the skin more oily and increase blackheads. This is not true. In fact, if your skin is dried out, it will attempt to remedy the situation by producing more oil. Increased oil production leads to...you got it...more blackheads. So don't skip the moisture. Choose a moisturizer that is formulated for oily or problem skin. Look for the words "non-comodogenic." This is fancy scientist talk for "won't clog pores." There are several combination skin moisturizers available that are fantastic. They work by adding more moisture to the dry areas and absorbing the oil in the problem areas. Magical.
Use other tools sparingly. Facial strips, mud masks and topical acne medication can help you in your blackhead battle as long as they are used wisely. Think of these things as you would body glitter. Every day is way too often but once in awhile can be great. The reason is that masks, acne creams and facial strips are very drying. Furthermore, facial strips remove the top layer of your skin and it can't be completely renewed every day. The bravest can try using the same, scary looking tool that an aesthetician uses. These extraction tools can be purchased at any professional beauty supply store. Be very careful if you choose to use one as you can do damage to your face if you aren't. Make sure that you have steamed your skin thoroughly with a hot, wet washcloth before beginning.
Minimize your skin's contact with potentially impure surfaces. Change your pillowcases frequently to keep them free of dirt and oil. Keep your hair back off of your face. Oils that naturally occur in your hair, as well as styling products and sweat can clog your pores. If you find that you tend to get blackheads around your hairline or other places where your hair touches your face, this is probably the reason. Finally, don't touch your face unless you have first washed your hands.