How to Remove Blackheads the Right Way

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Blackheads are stubborn, numerous, and frustratingly persistent.

No matter how promising the latest “hack” sounds, not everything works to successfully get rid of blackheads—which means unclogging the pores instantly and preventing the plugs from coming back.

Fear not: with the right blackhead remover products, tools, and tips, clearing your skin is possible—instantly and long term.

Everything you need is on this page:

  1. How (and Why) to Use a Blackhead Extractor Tool
  2. Best Blackhead Products
  3. Blackhead Removal Tips
  4. Frequently Asked Questions About Blackheads (FAQs)

1. Use a Blackhead Extractor Tool

Photo of Skin Care Tool

This first step for successful blackhead removal is extracting the ones that already exist. This is instant blackhead removal.

Let’s face it, we’ve all dealt with those big deep blackheads that do not go away no matter how many scrubs, masks, and steams you do.

Some comedones are harder to remove than others. It is those ones we want to clear out straight away. Truly, the only way to get rid of them is to remove them forcefully (but gently).

So, let’s get into how to do that exactly—without damaging your pores.

Using a blackhead extractor is one of the easiest, quickest ways to remove those annoying plugs

These cheap small stainless steel tools are an easy thing to add to your “blackhead eliminating” routine.

Professionals often use them in facials to quickly extract a large area. They are less damaging to the skin than squeezing, and a lot easier to handle.

Especially good for nose blackheads, you don’t have to use awkward fingers so you won’t end up with a misshapen nose at the end of it. you Simply press the small metal loop into the side of the nose.

More details on how to use these tools below (and see the video after these instructions for a visual demonstration).

How to Use A Blackhead Extractor

Always remember – be gentle.

  1. Cleanse your face with warm water and pat dry. Hold a warm face cloth to the area for several seconds to open the pores. Optional: steam your over a bowl of hot water.
  2. Your blackhead extractor will have two ends, one that is a small metal loop. Place this loop end of the extractor over the blackhead you want to extract.
  3. Gently press down on one side of the pore.  Gently press and move the tool across the top (like spreading icing on a cake…)

Important: don’t press the loop straight down. Simply pressing down is why blackhead removers don’t work for some people.

Use gentle pressure from one side and ease out the plug—this action forces it out as you move the tool over the top.

You should be able to feel tiny pressure as you press down, and the blockage will come out as a plug.

  1. Once you have removed all the comedones you want, gently cleanse your skin again. Apply a toner to help soothe and close the pores. An astringent like witch hazel works well.
  2. Remove any gunk from the tool, then wash it in hot soapy water or wipe with alcohol/hand sanitizer. Cleaning is important to prevent bacteria growth.

You can get a good blackhead extractor here. They really are cheap little tools!

Here is a good demonstration video (starts at 18secs):

Nose Blackhead Removal

To use an extractor for nose blackheads, you need to adjust the angle. It can be difficult to place the whole loop over blockages in the side of your nose. So, use the edge of the loop and ease it out.

Again, using the “scraping” movement with gentle pressure across the top. The plug should “pop” out.

A Fast Way to Remove Blackheads

Once you get the hang of it, a blackhead extractor tool is a fast way to remove a lot at once.

You can also use it for ear blackheads or small whiteheads on the skin.

Warning: this can be slightly addicting! Once you get the hang of using this tool you might wonder where it’s been all your life.

For more details on squeezing blackheads see this article.

2. Best Blackhead Removal Products

The products below will help shrink your pores, prevent deep blackheads, and possibly clear up your skin entirely with consistent use:

Biore Charcoal Cleanser

The Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser is one of the best products for blackheads available. Use it twice a day and gently massage into any clogged areas for several seconds.

It leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean, and you can often see a difference after just a few days of consistent use.

Highly recommended.

Best Face Mask for Blackheads

The best mask you can use for blackheads will contain kaolin clay. This natural clay is deeply purifying and helps to detox pores by controlling oil and drawing out impurities.

Combine this with skin-calming zinc oxide and charcoal and you have a power mask.

Image of Kaolin Face Mask

This Acne Free Kaolin Clay Detox Mask is a quality product you can use a few times a week for 20minutes.

One great tip is to apply a small amount to heavily clogged areas (like the nose) overnight. You might be surprised at how well this controls oils and clears up your skin.

Do Blackhead Removal Strips Work?

Image of Box of Pore Strips

Blackhead removal strips look fun, but they don’t really work.

Unfortunately, they tend to do more damage than good (or simply do nothing at all). They can’t selectively stick to the blackheads only so you end up taking skin cells with it. This might not sound like a big deal, but it can cause redness and irritation for sensitive skins.

And often the blackheads don’t move. A bit useless right?

The best tool is an extractor and the best products are above. You don’t need other gimmicks to get rid of blackheads.

3. Blackhead Removal Tips

  1. Do you wear glasses? Sometimes sweat and product build up can inadvertently “slide” down on your nose and cause blockages. Keep some alcohol wipes handy and give your glasses a quick wipe at least once a day.
  2. Sunscreen and makeup: while these two things are important they can be greasy and cause build up in pores. The good news is unless you notice your skin reacting to a certain product (for example you start developing deeper pimples or skin is noticeably oilier) simply making sure you are cleansing very well in the evening can help keep it clear.
  3. If your skin is very oily and you notice blackheads look more obvious as the day goes on—oil builds up in pores and can make them appear larger—keep a bottle of witch hazel or other astringent with you and apply several times a day. If you wear makeup, simply reapply it after. It is worth the effort.

4. Blackhead FAQs

Should you remove blackheads?

Yes. Blackheads are a skin care problem that requires proactivity, so you should remove them.

They rarely go away naturally unless something has changed in your skin care or body. Some changes include hormonal (for example pregnancy, the pill, or the teenage years), a skin care product that increases oiliness and blockages in your skin, or diet/health/illness.

Unlike whiteheads or “normal” pimples, the body doesn’t get rid of blackheads by itself because they are not a threat. Pimples are inflamed and red because your body is actively fighting the infection/blockage in the pore.  This is also why pimples only last several days if left alone.

Blackheads on the other hand, “sit” in the pores and stick around way past their welcome. So remove them to clear your skin and kick start a prevention routine.

Bottom line: even if your body is going through something that is causing an influx of blackheads, you should still remove them (the right way… which is on this page).

What exactly are blackheads?

Blackheads are a combination of sebum and dead skin cells which hardens and forms a plug in a skin care pore.

They don’t close over like pimples—they are also called open comedones—and so this plug oxidizes on exposure to the outside air. This is why blackheads are, well, black. (A sliced apple turns brown/black when it oxidizes, same sort of process).

Do blackhead vacuums work?

If only! Blackheads are sticky plugs of dead skin cells and sebum—trying to suck them out with a vacuum might work for a few loose ones but otherwise there are far more successful and cheaper ways to get rid of them!

My extractor left dents in my skin, is this permanent damage?

A blackhead extractor can definitely leave loop shaped dents on your skin. These are temporary. However it is really important to be gentle; you don’t need a lot of pressure.

If on a particular blackhead you are finding you need to really press down to get any thing to move…. stop. Carry on with cleansing and exfoliating for a few days and come back to that one!

It is better to be safe than sorry here. These tools are metal after all and do have the potential to make a bigger dent than intended.

How do you get rid of deep stubborn blackheads?

Deep blackheads usually form in larger pores. They can stick around for a long time and therefore the “plug” can be extra hard and stubborn so might take extra care:

  1. Use a glycolic acid product for several days before attempting to extract deep blackheads. This will help soften the plug by dissolving some of the dead skin and sebum.
  2. Steam your face for a few minutes or try the squeeze after a hot shower.
  3. This is where an extractor tool comes in handy. Because these pores are larger and deeper you want to be extra careful to not damage the surrounding skin, and a tool will help you.
  4. Sometimes the left-over hole is shocking! It might be obvious even after applying makeup. You can lessen the appearance of large pores, especially ones “stretched” by a large blockage.

What about home remedies for blackheads?

One of the better home remedies for blackheads is baking soda. You can make a paste with water and apply as a mask for 10minutes. For extra opmh you can mix it with lemon juice instead of water, but use caution as this is strong.

However, baking soda can be irritating for skin and doesn’t actually “dissolve” blackheads or even scrub them out.

Here is an article detailing baking soda for acne. But really, you are better sticking to the steps and products on this page.

Does toothpaste get rid of blackheads?

No. Toothpaste can work for pimples, mainly by drying them out. But toothpaste does not work for blackheads.

We don’t want to dry them out—we want to soften them and remove them.


9 thoughts on “How to Remove Blackheads the Right Way”

  1. i just bought one and it works really well on those small blackheads on the nose at 1st the black comes out and then white like a piece of string.No more using the fingers or blood.

    • Yes you can do it safely at home. If you’re thinking of doing it at as service for other people it would be best to check any regulations or certifications you may need. You’d also want to be extra careful about cleaning and sterilizing any tools you use. Good luck!

    • In New Mexico, only a certified cosmetologist or someone certified through the medical state board such as M.D, Dermatologists, LPN, ect, ect can do this legally as a service. State and local laws do not always coincide such as the city or local requiring a special certification or permit but the state may not. It’s best to do some simple google searches on the laws and ordinances where you live.

  2. I have bought myself these blackhead remover tools but I’m not to sure how to get rid of the one on my upper lip ?
    Could you maybe help me ?

    • A blackhead on the upper lip may be easier to remove without a tool, that’s an awkward area for sure. Try using a tissue and very gently squeezing from either side. It’s a good idea to exfoliate before hand to make this easier, a warm wash cloth held over the area can also help loosen it up. If it’s a really stubborn one, you could try using a small amount of old fashioned drawing salve, it really does work!

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