There’s nothing that can ruin your mood faster than looking in the mirror and realizing that your nose and chin are suddenly covered with blackheads. Where do those things come from so quickly, anyway? Once you learn more about comedones, how they form, what you can do about them, and how blackhead removal tools work you won’t feel at their mercy when they appear.

On this page:
What is a Blackhead?
Top Tools For Removing Blackheads
Blackhead Removal Strips
Blackhead Removal Masks
How to Use a Blackhead Instrument

What Is a Comedone/Blackhead?

By staffCC BY 3.0]
By staffCC BY 3.0]

Comedones, known more commonly as blackheads, are a type of pimple in which sebum blocks one of the ducts in your skin. Unlike other types of pimples, blackheads don’t tend to swell up too much or to come to a head on their own. Instead the center of the pimple forms a dark spot, hence the name blackhead. Many people think that the dark spot in the center of a blackhead is dirt, but that’s not the case. Also, blackheads can be any shade from yellow to dark brown or black.

Blackheads form when sebum, an oily excretion from sebaceous glands, gets overproduced and plugs up pores. This typically happens on the nose, around the mouth, and around the chin. It’s important to note though that blackheads can actually occur anywhere on your skin. Sebum has a positive role in keeping your skin hydrated and smooth, but when it’s overproduced, there’s nowhere for the excess sebum to go. Once the sebum settles in the pores, it becomes more solid and it oxidizes, which is where the darker color comes from.

Blackheads don’t tend to become infected, which means that they’re not as obvious as inflammatory acne is but they can still be embarrassing. Quite often blackheads on their own aren’t a cause for concern, medically speaking, and they fall under the category of “mild acne.” But you know they’re there, and to you they’re really obvious. So the next thing to do is to remove them. Avoid picking or pinching them yourself, since that can cause further damage to your skin. There are other options that are much better for your skin.

The Best Blackhead Removal Tool

The very best blackhead extractor is similar to the ones used by dermatologists. They’re small metal tools with a flattened center and two loops on either end. Usually the loops are different sizes to accommodate blackheads of different sizes.

This type of tool is considered one of the best styles of tool to use because it puts even pressure onto the blackhead without causing damage to the skin around the blackhead. This type of tool is also very easy to clean and to sterilize before you use it. That’s always important when you’re dealing with tools you use on your face to resolve problems with acne. Find it on Amazon.

could use a blackhead tool hereWhile the double-looped tool is the best kind of blackhead extractor to use, it’s by no means the only style available for you to use at home. Another common style is pen-shaped and has a hole in one end. At the other, you can control a suction device that can help to pull the blackhead out of the pore. This type of tool can take a little bit more practice than the simpler looped tool does, so it’s probably best to use this style once you have a little more skill with using an extractor.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Blackheads

Some people just aren’t up to using a tool to remove blackheads on their face, and that’s fine. Your esthetician has training regarding skin, skin care, and using these types of tools. You can always go to your choice of cosmetology schools online or off to learn these skills on your own, but if you’re wanting to get rid of blackheads right now, that may not be the most timely option.

Blackhead Removal Strips – Blackhead removal strips are one way that you can remove blackheads on your own at home. This is an inexpensive option and it’s easy to use the strips any time that you have a few minutes and want to get rid of some pesky comedones. While there are a huge variety of strips on the market, they all pretty much work the same way.

The strips are individually-wrapped and you remove them from their package carefully. Dampen the strip with water. Some strips take a little more water than others do, so this can be a bit of a learning curve. You place the strip over the affected area, smooth it down over your skin, and then wait for it to dry. The time this takes varies, even from one use to another. You can find blackhead removal strips for your nose, your chin, and your forehead. Each different style is shaped so that it fits better onto the affected area.

Some people find that the strips take too long to dry or never seem to dry enough. This can actually make the strips a little more difficult to remove since they don’t hold onto the blackhead as firmly and they stay kind of “gummy.” If you run into this problem, you can try waiting to use strips on less humid days or you can try using your hair dryer on a cool setting to blow air for a few seconds at a time onto the strip when it’s almost dry.

Many companies have jumped into the blackhead removal strip scene. Here are just a few different brands you might want to try:

  • Bioré
  • Boscia
  • Purederm
  • Vktech
  • Nad’s

Blackhead Removal Masks – Blackhead removal masks are another really popular tool to rid yourself of blackheads forever. The masks are less complicated for some people than strips are since you simply spread the mask on your face and then remove it according to the directions. You’re likely to find tow types of maks:

  • Peel-off masks
  • Wash-off masks

Peel-off masks are the sort that you spread onto your skin and then allow them to dry completely. Once the mask is dry, you start at one edge and start slowly peeling the mask away from your skin. Depending on the amount of residue left once you remove the mask, you may also need to rinse your face with fresh water.

Wash-off masks are the type that you spread onto your skin and then wash off after they’ve dried completely. Depending on the ingredients, these types of masks can take quite a while to dry, even if you apply them in a thin layer.

When you’re looking to remove blackheads with a mask, you’re going to be interested in products that offer chemical exfoliation. This means that the mask will have ingredients like salicylic acid or other types of acid. These acids break down the oil and other impurities while they help to remove dead skin cells.

You may also want to look for ingredients in your blackhead removal masks that help to kill off bacteria and nourish your skin. The mask will be in contact with your skin for quite a while, so you want to get all the benefits out of it that you can.

Brands to try include:

  • Leoni
  • Proactiv
  • Bioré
  • Amara Organics

If you’re the type of person who needs to see how something is done, this YouTube video can help.

How to Use a Comedone Remover

Often home users are intimidated by a blackhead removing instrument because it looks so different from anything else they may have used. In reality, they’re very simple to use.

  • Start out by prepping your skin. After a hot shower is a great time to try using a blackhead tool because your skin is warm and supple. If that’s not an option, hold a warm, damp washcloth over the area for a few minutes to warm the skin.
  • Use an alcohol pad to sterilize the area around the blackhead. Use a second alcohol pad to sterilize the blackhead tool itself.
  • Place the loop of the extractor directly over the blackhead. Gently rock the tool while applying some light pressure to the area. Be careful not to press too hard or to dig at your skin with the tool because you can damage your skin.
  • Once the blackhead slides out, apply alcohol to the area to sterilize it again.•If the blackhead doesn’t come out, try using the warm washcloth again or try after a shower.
  • Repeat the process for each blackhead that you want to remove with the tool. Remember to wipe the blackhead instrument down with a fresh alcohol pad in between each extraction. This helps to ensure that you’re not spreading bacteria around all over your skin.

Some people find it tough to locate a comedone remover, but it’s not as difficult as you might first think. Try looking at your local Walgreens, at Walmart, or even eBayonline. All of these places carry the tools and some even have different varieties so you can find the exact one for you.

Once you get the hang of using a blackhead extractor, you may find that you get quite good with it very quickly. If you’re really an expert, you might want to consider putting your skills to good use and check out esthetician schools or even makeup schools where you can learn even more about skin care.