Serious question: why don’t magnifying mirrors come with warning labels?
Raise your hand if you’ve been here before: you’re walking by the mirror, you’re feeling good, hair is on point, cute new outfit, fresh manicure. You feel unstoppable — until something in your reflection stops you in your tracks.
Slowly, you flip the mirror over to the magnifying side and observe, to your horror, an invasion of tiny black dots have invaded your chin. Your stomach drops to your feet: you’ve got blackheads. How long have these things been there, and how in the world will you get rid of them?!
Not only are blackheads a startling distraction from your otherwise smooth and beautiful skin, they’re just plain gross. These nasty little dirt and grime pockets burrow into your poor little pores, exaggerating pore size and making it look as though you haven’t washed your face, well… ever.
The great news is, you have a lot of options for removal – many of which can be found right in your kitchen! Soon your pores will be clean, smooth, and invisible. To the kitchen!
How to Get Rid of Clogged Pores
First, let’s define the difference between a normal clogged pore and a blackhead. Most of your pores, whether or not they have any discoloration, have some gunk in them – it’s actually pretty normal.
And if you’ve ever noticed that your pores seem more noticeable after exfoliating or using a mask, it’s not that they magically grew in size — you just removed some of the debris, oil, and other matter that can start to accumulate in your pores and hair follicles. And as soon as they’re cleaned out, they’re going to fill right back up again – and that’s where the problems begin.
So what’s a blackhead?
Basically, it’s acne. Except that instead of a closed sort of bubble, like the protruding pimples we normally associate with acne, a blackhead is open at the surface.
This means that the debris of dead skin cells, pus, oil and other matter that normally stays trapped inside of a zit is totally exposed.
And when air hits it, that gunky stuff oxidizes, which makes it turn that blackish color. It even starts to develop a little hard resilient cap, making it pretty impossible to clean out of your poor little pores.
You might notice that you have a mixture of blackheads and whiteheads mixed up with no rhyme or reason – help! This is partially because they’re caused by the same bacterium – more on that in a moment.
But wait, can’t you just scrub or squeeze out the blackheads and whiteheads like everyone on YouTube says you can? Well, not exactly. For one thing, although it’s tempting to just rip them out faster than you can say “brazilian wax”, that black dot on a blackhead is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you’ve ever undertaken the dismal task of squeezing one (NOT recommended) then you know that the stuff that comes out is actually the same kind of gross white/yellow matter you normally observe lurking within a pimple.
It makes sense, since blackheads are acne –– but it also means there’s a lot more beneath the surface, and further inflaming that area by squeezing it will most likely just make it angrier.
Squeezing or scrubbing runs the risk of creating trauma, worsening inflammation, and introducing bacterial exposure, without actually getting the job done.
Remember, those blackheads didn’t appear overnight: removal and prevention is going to take consistency and patience. Take a deep breath, visualize yourself with clear, glowing skin, and read on:
Your DIY kitchen guide to banishing bumps, blackheads, and blemishes
First things first: no heavy metal. What does that mean? Well, it means you need to resist the urge to get mess with those crazy pokey metal sticks called “blackhead remover tools”.
Of course, you want those blackheads outta there. But for now, resist your urge to head straight to your Amazon cart and swoop up every shiny silver tool you see.
Props to you for not squeezing with your nails, as this method can totally scar and create a whole new bunch of problems — but mechanical extraction should definitely be a last resort.
While there are some larger, more prominent blackheads which may justify a mechanical intervention, you need to know this: for the most part, using tools can make a way bigger mess than an annoying black speck on your skin.
Those little blackheads may look tiny from the top, but they go way deeper than you can gauge from the surface. And no matter how much you sanitize your tools and wash your face, bacteria is ubiquitous on your skin.
Poking around in your pores is the perfect way to spread it even more. In fact, the bacterium that tends to cause acne, called Propionibacterium acnes, is actually part of the reason you have the blackheads to begin with. So instead of popping, poking, and potentially opening a Pandora’s box of pimples, let’s take a slower approach.
How to get rid of whiteheads on chin
Remember how each little blackhead has a resilient cap, trapping all of the old skin cells and oxidized matter inside your pores? Those caps are the first obstacles preventing you from having clean pores.
Before you can get inside your pores to clean them out, the caps must be dissolved – and you need an acid to make that happen.
Good news: you don’t have to go and buy some overpriced, heavily-perfumed salicylic acid Special Acne Treatment from the drugstore. Not only are these store-bought treatments usually way too harsh, it’s highly likely that you have a superior source of acid sitting right in your pantry: apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar’s unique acetic acid can perform the same action of dissolving those stubborn caps on top of the blackhead, but more gently; it also has the added benefit of maintaining an appropriate pH balance for your skin, which can help your overall tone and dispel the pathogenic bacteria that made this mess in the first place.
It’ll address those pesky whiteheads too, so grab a mist bottle and spray away. If you prefer, you can use a washcloth or cotton swab to apply the apple cider vinegar. Whatever method you use, just make sure it’s convenient enough to be able to perform at least two times a day.
How to get rid of Chin Acne
After your skin is feeling toned and refreshed from the vinegar, it’s time to get sticky with it. Remember that sweet delicious goop that you squeezed into your mug of green tea this morning? It’s just what you need on your skin.
That’s right: it’s honey, honey! If the thought of globbing honey onto your face is freaking you out, it’s time to get over it — seriously, you need that honey on your face, stat.
There are so many reasons why honey is going to be your skin’s newest BFF that pretty soon you’ll be slathering yourself in it.
For one thing, it should be pretty obvious why honey banishes blackheads — its supremely oozy stickiness is just the ticket for getting deep into those hard-to-reach crevasses.
But hold the phone (or don’t, because your hands are covered with honey), did you realize that honey is antimicrobial?
That’s right! In fact, honey has been used as a natural antibiotic for centuries. And if you are lucky enough to find a jar of honey that happens to be centuries old – hey, it could happen! – it would still be totally fine to eat.
That’s how amazingly bacteria-resistant it is. In fact, honey’s superlative wound-healing properties have been successfully used in hospitals to treat large burn areas and even antibiotic-resistant flesh-eating bacteria infections.
So don’t be afraid to get gooey; basically, you’re just going to use the honey as a mask. You can apply it with a spoon or your fingers.
Also, make sure that it’s raw: the enzymes in raw honey are still present after processing, and they’ll help to dissolve the stubborn blackhead caps. But honey that has been treated with heat won’t have as much potency in this regard, so just opt for the raw kind.
Next, slather that golden goodness all over your face, focusing on the areas where blackheads and whiteheads are more prevalent. You can do this while taking a bath so that you don’t have to worry about leaving a honey trail behind you. Let it sit on your face for about 10-15 minutes.
You might notice a little bit of pulling or tightening sensation, but it shouldn’t be unpleasant. As you let it work, think about its incredible peroxidic activity, bubbling through your pores and scrubbing every little nook and cranny – truly amazing! Oh, and one more fun factoid?
Not only is honey totally amazing at cleaning out those stubborn spots, but it moisturizes while it disinfects. That’s because honey is a humectant, which means it holds onto humidity, instead of allowing it to evaporate away from your skin.
This moisturizing effect will be soothing – and that’s definitely something your skin will like use while you attack your acne.
Don’t make a dermal desert
Retaining moisture is key in preventing future acne issues as well, so don’t make the rookie mistake of neglecting the moisturizing step for your skin.
While it may seem counterintuitive to add moisturizer to oily skin, blemish-prone skin, skipping this step can actually exacerbate imbalanced oil production.
Sometimes when your skin is producing more oil, it’s actually trying to combat the very dryness you think it needs! Replenish it with moisturizers that still allow it to breathe.
You want to avoid drying out your skin too much, so for now, avoid scrubbing with baking soda or other harsh exfoliants. While baking soda can have some wonderful topical applications, it also has a drying effect that’s too intense for your skin in its current sensitive state.
Forcing your skin to dry out might seem like a great solution, but dry skin patches are just a breeding ground for – you guessed it – more bacteria. So don’t skip the moisturizer.
If you can’t find one that works for your skin type, try thinning out some honey and misting it on with a spray bottle, for a convenient moisturizing dew. Among its many amazing properties, honey is still gentle enough to use every day – gee, no wonder bees are such big fans of this stuff!
Yo, where you at?
For your final act in kicking those blackheads to the curb, cruise on over to the fridge and grab yourself some plain yogurt. No, it’s not time for a smoothie – at least not one you’ll be eating! Instead, you’re going to smooth it right onto your skin, and after this last step, you’ll be loving your smooth, bump-free skin in no time.
If it seems too weird to work, consider the logic for a moment. Remember that whole “pathogenic bacteria causes acne” business?
Well, the fact is that bacteria gets a bad rap: a lot of strains are actually quite friendly! What’s true for your gut is true for your skin, too. And healthy skin really needs friendly bugs in order to be at its best.
Wondering about that antibacterial soap you’ve been so faithful to over the years? Yeah, that’s definitely not your skin’s friend. The thing about bacteria is that they reproduce fast – really fast.
So even if you’re using antibacterial soap, some of the nastiest strains can survive – and to them, a clean face just looks like prime real estate to procreate.
Plain yogurt is chock full of friendly bugs that will crowd out the baddies, so pitch the antibacterial stuff in the trash on your way to the fridge and slather it on.
Once you’re done, rinse with water and mist with either the honey water or apple cider vinegar spray. You’ll be ready to glow in no time.
So there you have it: a cheap, easy process to free your pores and let them breathe again, and the best part? It’s gentle enough to do every single day. Fear the magnifying mirror no more!