Little black dots that appear around the lip line are no insurmountable acne problem — these blackheads are the direct result of clogged pores. You can get rid of the blackheads you have and keep them from coming back by letting oil flow freely, uninterrupted by debris, through your pores.
When pores overproduce oil, it gets backed up inside the pore and mixes with dead skin cells, preventing them from shedding. Whiteheads remain white because a layer of skin grows over the clogged pore. In blackheads, this mixture turns black once oxidized, or exposed to the air at the top of the pore.
To make the blackheads you have appear less noticeable, look for blackhead facial strips, also known as pore strips, at any beauty supply store or drugstore. These paper strips feature a mild adhesive on one side, which binds to pore debris. Once pulled away from the skin, the paper retains some of the debris.
Cut the strips to fit your lip line and apply them. Leave the strips on for 10 to 15 minutes, then peel them off. This temporarily removes the dark upper layer of the blackhead.
You can also exfoliate once weekly with a gentle lip scrub to clean some of the debris out of your pores.
Although comedone extraction is safer if performed by a professional esthetician or dermatologist, you can perform it yourself with a comedone extractor, or pore extractor. Found at any beauty supply store, this thin metal tool features a flat, looped end that helps make blackhead removal much less damaging to the skin than popping with fingers alone.
- Wash your lip area with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry.
- Dab an alcohol-free toner just on the skin around the lips, not the lips themselves.
- Place a warm, damp cloth over the blackhead for two to three minutes, then pat the area dry.
- Hold the end of the comedone extractor over the blackhead, then press down and pull forward simultaneously to remove the debris.
- Cover the ends of your fingers with clean tissues and press gently on the sides of the blackhead to remove any remaining debris. Do not apply too much pressure.
Keep your pores as debris-free as possible with a regular cleansing routine.
- Remove any makeup before you go to bed. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Apply a light, oil-free moisturizing product to the skin around your lips. Avoid heavy creams.
- Blot the area periodically with blotting paper to remove excess oil.
Lipsticks and balms often contain pore-clogging ingredients, such as Red D&C dyes or thick emollients, that contribute to blackhead formation. Choose only non-comedogenic lip products instead.