How to Get Rid of Blackheads FAQs

Everything you ever wanted to know about those stubborn plugs

Blackheads are the most annoying skin condition due to sheer stubbornness. They are somewhat of a mystery… until now. This page has the answer to every question you will ever have about how to get rid of blackheads, for good!

Redheaded lady looking sideways

Browse all questions on this page—it is full of blackhead gold! Or, jump to whatever section or question you need by clicking on it below:

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Blackheads 101/General

What happens if you don’t remove blackheads?

Nothing much. Blackheads aren’t like pimples, which are a combination of bacteria, dead skin cells, and sebum in a skins pore. This leads to inflammation in the form of a whitehead and redness. This is also why pimples go away on their own (if you can leave them alone!), the body has to deal with infection.

Blackheads, on the other-hand, aren’t a “threat” to your body. So if you don’t remove them, they can sit there indefinitely. Some might get larger, most just sit patiently in your skin.

Do blackheads go away on their own?

We saw above that blackheads mostly just sit around indefinitely. Because they can. It is possible, however, for them to go away on their own. This is usually due to a change in diet, environment, or simple aging/change in hormones. But, the bottom line is: blackheads generally will stay until you actively do something about them.

What is the difference between blackheads and whiteheads?

Whiteheads and other types of pimples are an infection in a skins pore. This leads to inflammation, which is the body’s response to the invasion. And while the inflammation (redness, pain) looks and feels bad, it is there to get rid of the pimple—and will do so.

Pimples are also “closed”, and hence sometimes called “closed comedones.” This is why they scar easily if popped or squeezed—you have to break the skin. Blackheads are not closed (“open comedones”), and are basically a plug of oil and dead skin cells in an open pore. When this plug is exposed to air it oxidizes and turns black.

What are blackheads?

Basically a plug in the skins pore. They usually form in larger pores, as more dead skin cells and oil/sebum can get in and block them.

Why do blackheads leave holes?

Blackheads can leave holes in your skin because once you remove that “plug” the pore remains. Sometimes the pore is large to start with, and will remain that way. So if there is no plug in it, it will just be a “hole” or open pore.

Usually though, a plug will slightly stretch the pore, and immediately after squeezing or extracting a blackhead there is no oil or dead skin cells left, so the hole will be obvious and often quite deep.

Most of the time these holes usually shrink, or fill in with another blackhead! This is why it’s important to not only extract blackheads (if at all) but also treat and prevent them.

Why do blackheads come back?

Blackheads form in the first place by plugging a skins pore. That pore was open, and blackhead forming “stuff” got in. So when you remove one plug, it will usually just fill up again for the same reason. This is why it is important to concentrate on treating and preventing blackheads, not just extracting.

How to get out stubborn blackheads?

Stubborn blackheads happen for a number of reasons. They can be extra large or sticky. Sometimes the plug is a little larger at the bottom than the top, which makes it hard to squeeze out through the pore.

To get out stubborn blackheads you really need to soften the plug and pore first. You can do this by cleanings and steaming your face, however the most successful way is to use a chemical exfoliator consistently for at least a week before trying to extract. This will breakdown and help dissolve the stubborn plug. And may get rid of it entirely without the need for extraction.

Different Body Parts

Why do I have so many blackheads on my nose?

The nose is a tricky area. All those nooks and crannies. And blackheads just love to form in the sides—dead skin cells, oil, sebum, products, sweat… can all accumulate easily here and go to town.

Other reason for numerous nose blackheads: you wear glasses (sweat and other dirt can gather), naturally larger pores or oily skin here, the nose “sticks out” from the face and is more exposed to grime, touching your nose because of allergies or habit…

How to get rid of blackheads on the nose?

The best way to get rid of blackheads on your nose is by using a chemical exfoliator consistently, being careful about which products you use here (you may need to avoid moisturizing or use a different one on your nose), and careful extraction.

How to get rid of blackheads on shoulder and chest?

The same way you get rid of them on your face—cleanse, exfoliate, and extract if needed. The difference in this area is clothing.

What causes blackheads in ears?

The trickiest area for blackheads is definitely your ears! Blackheads just love to accumulate here. Most of us have oily ears, which means pores are large enough for blackheads to form. Plus, they are hard to clean, your hair likely contributes oils and product residue, ear wax is oily and might contribute more… plenty of reasons.

How to get rid of ear blackheads?

So how to handle ear blackheads? Use a chemical exfoliator on a Q tip daily. Carefully apply some of the flat part of your ear (avoid the canal), leave on, them rinse with another wet Q tip or cotton ball. See this article for more details and tips on ear blackheads.

How do I clear my chin of blackheads?

Blackheads just love to form on the chin. This is part of the T zone—the area on your face which is usually oilier and has larger pores.

How to remove a blackhead under the skin?

Blackheads “under the skin” happen when a layer of skin forms over the top. You can still see it is a blackhead, it just appears to be underneath, maybe lighter looking or just deeper.

You need to soften the skin first to prevent scarring and make removal easier. The safest way to remove under the skin blackheads is the patient approach: consistent cleansing and exfoliation. However, you can very carefully “scratch” the top layer of skin with a clean needle and ease the plug out.

Who to get rid of blackheads around my lips?

Lips themselves don’t have pores (which is why they get so dry), but the area around them certainly does. It can be hard to prevent blackheads in this area because of lip balms, lipsticks, food, touching, you name it.

How to get rid of blackheads on legs and thighs?

Removing and Preventing Blackheads

Woman with clay mask on face

How to get rid of blackheads instantly?

The only way to get rid of blackheads instantly is to squeeze them out (or cover them with makeup!).

Why do BHAs prevent blackheads?

BHAs—particularly salicylic acid—are chemical exfoliators that have molecules small enough to get deep into pores, where they can dissolve oil, dead skin cells, sebum, and other gunk. This exfoliation action also happens on the skins surface which helps refine pores, preventing blackheads from forming in the first place or getting larger.

How to fill in holes after blackheads?

See those little holes in your skin after squeezing blackheads? Luckily they are temporary—immediately after popping a blackhead the pore is completely clear, and doesn’t “bounce back” straight away. So you’re left with what looks like pin pricks on your face.

First: use a toner or astringent such as witch hazel to help clear and disinfect the pore. Then, ideally, wait at least 30minutes before trying to fill to the hole.

How to fill in blackhead “holes” with makeup:

Pore refining primers can work to smooth over holes and reduce their appearance, especially under makeup. Make sure you give the primer at least 5 minutes to set.

Apply concealer or foundation in a dabbing motion, then dab again with a sponge or finger. The idea is to dab and force the concealer to cover the pore, rather than just wipe over it which can make it appear larger. You might need to dab for a while in different directions.

Set with a powder and soft brush by using tiny circles.

How to get rid of blackheads from face without scarring?

Luckily removing blackheads doesn’t cause scarring as easily as popping pimples does. Squeezing a pimple requires breaking the skin, and it is this that causes a scar. But, removing blackheads does need to be done properly.

Be sure to soften skin first—but not too much as then your skin will break easier! The idea is to soften the plug, so it comes out easier. Then, any squeezing should be done very gently, and as soon as you feel any resistance stop. See this article for details about squeezing blackheads.

How to prevent blackheads from coming back?

Consistency with skin care is the key. As long as the pore is open and as long as your skin produces oil and dead skin cells (always), blackheads coming back are a possibility.

To prevent the automatic refill, use a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid regularly and consistently. This will help prevent blackheads by dissolving oil and dead skin cells, reducing the formation of a plug.

How to squeeze out blackheads?

Carefully! Should you squeeze blackheads? Yes, it can be helpful to clear skin. Make sure you follow the steps on this page to do it right.

How to extract blackheads? (with a tool)

A blackheads extractor tool is a easy and satisfying way to remove a lot of blackheads at once. These tools require some technique to remove the plug easily and prevent damage to skin (in tool shaped dents). For instructions and recommended tools, see this article about using a blackhead extractor.

How to get rid of deep blackheads?

Deep blackheads are stubborn and tough to get rid of. Simply giving a good squeeze isn’t enough. The plug is usually “old” and therefore hard, and sometimes it is bigger at the bottom so difficult to remove from the pore.

Make sure you loosen up the plug before trying to remove a deep blackhead. A salicylic acid exfoliator or salicylic acid peel works well.

Usually the blackhead will look “ready” to come out—it might appear to be slightly above the surface of skin, or just look looser. Then, you can squeeze it carefully!

How often should I remove blackheads?

As often as needed, with one caution. Too much removal can damage skin, even if its just temporary damage. That never looks good.

The better approach is to concentrate on a blackhead-clearing skin routine, and limit any squeezing to once a week. And then only the ones that look ready to come out.

What to do after removing blackheads?

First: use a toner or astringent like witch hazel to clear skin and provide some disinfectant. This will also help close the pore as much as possible.

Second: be very gentle on your skin. It can help to apply a cool wash cloth or even an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel to reduce inflammation. A clay mask also helps.

You can cover any holes with makeup after removing. Just be sure to cleanse thoroughly at the end of the day. Also, be sure to moisturize the area—it seems counterintuitive but if the area gets too dry dead skin cells and excess oil will build up to compensate, leading to more blackheads.

Can you make blackheads disappear overnight?

Hmm. While there is no product or treatment which will “dissolve” blackheads overnight, you can reduce their appearance on waking the next day.

Before going to bed, apply salicylic acid. This will help remove any excess oil, dead skin cells, grime and sebum. The pores can then stay healthy and happy over night, and by morning any blackheads should look less obvious.

Consistent use of this can make blackheads disappear over several nights.


Does tea tree oil with blackheads?

Tea tree oil is better for acne and breakouts, because it is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. But it is also helpful for blackheads. The best way to use it is to apply a drop to your moisturizer.

What is the best face scrub for blackheads?

Manual grainy face scrubs usually don’t work well for blackheads because they just scrap the surface of skin. Blackheads are inside pores, so those grainy beads just can’t do much.

But if you like the feeling of a manual face scrub, look for one with salicylic acid like Biore Acne Scrub. Then you get the benefits of the grain and the blackhead clearing acid.

How long does salicylic acid take to work on blackheads?

Salicylic acid can work immediately to reduce the appearance of blackheads, since it is able to get into pores and dissolve dead skin cells and oil. Then, after about a week you should notice some blackheads have significantly shrunk, and some smaller ones disappeared.

For the best results, you may have to wait about 30days.

What is the best face cleanser/wash for blackheads?

One that removes oil, makeup, and grime without being too harsh. If you strip your skin with harsh cleansers, it will compensate by producing more oil and dry dead skin cells will accumulate—which means more blackheads.

You don’t need to use a specific “blackhead cleanser” or even acne cleanser—treat blackheads with an exfoliating toner after cleansing instead. That is much more successful.

Try E.l.f.’s Bounce Back for a good, cheap product. Or LaRoche Hydrating Cleanser to keep skin happy. You can also use Micellar Water for acne and blackheads, as this cleans skin without the need for water.

How to use nose strips for blackheads?

Nose strips are not the best product for removing blackheads. While they can work better than using tape or glue (don’t do this—see questions below), they still don’t work well. Anything you apply to your skin will stick to your skin, and not just the plugged pores you are trying to remove. It’s common sense if you think about.

Blackhead strips usually leave an irritated area in the size and shape of the strip. And often leave the blackheads behind, so what good is that? There are far better ways to remove blackheads. See this page for all the blackhead removal details you need.

What oil is good for blackheads?

Jojoba oil is great for acne and blackheads because it hydrates skin without clogging pores. Avoid coconut oil as it is heavy and can cause breakouts.

How to cover blackheads with makeup?

Luckily, blackheads are easily covered with makeup. You really can make the disappear. Because they aren’t inflamed like pimples, and are “flush” with the skins surface, just covering up the “blackness” works really well.

Some require more technique to truly hide, as they can be slightly indented, which still shows up under makeup. The techniques here also work for men.

DIY Home and Natural Treatments

How do I make a peel off face mask for blackheads?


How to remove blackheads with toothpaste?

You don’t. Toothpaste can work for pimples though. The teeth polish has an ingredient in it that dries out skin, which can help speed up a pimples lifespan.

How to reduce blackheads on face naturally?

If by “natural” you mean no products, concentrate on diet and lifestyle. Believe it or not, diet plays a big role in blackheads.

Ever noticed how they are more obvious after a day or two of salty, sugary, junk food, or a night of alcohol? These things increase inflammation in the skin which leads to excess oil production.

If you want to reduce blackheads naturally, try to reduce junk food as much as possible and notice the difference in your skin.

What essential oils remove blackheads?

Essential oils are great for skin, and removing blackheads! 5 of the best are:

  1. Cedarwood
  2. Lavender
  3. Eucalyptus
  4. Rosemary
  5. Cinnamon

This article has all the details and steps you need for using essential oils for blackheads.

How to remove blackheads with tape?

Don’t do it! Removing blackheads with sticky tape or duct tape sounds like it should work, but it does not. Worse, it will likely just damage your skin and leave you with a tape-shaped, red, irritated area.

Contrary to popular belief, blackheads can’t just be “lifted” out by somehow sticking to the plug but not the skin. Anything you apply to your skin will stick to your skin too, and may not even touch the plug you’re trying to remove.

How to get rid of blackheads with Vaseline?

You don’t. While Vaseline is good for under your eyes to help prevent wrinkles, and to rehydrate and protect skin, it isn’t ideal for blackhead removal.

Vaseline doesn’t necessarily clog skin because the molecules are too big. But, it doesn’t do anything to unclog skin either. Remember, blackheads are a plug in the skins pore, so anything that just sits on the surface can’t do much.

Having said that: Vaseline can help soften skin. So you can try massaging a small amount into clogged area, for at least a minute, then cleanse skin and see if that makes blackheads easier to extract.

How to use hydrogen peroxide to remove blackheads?


How to get rid of blackheads with glue?

Same as tape—do not try to get rid of blackheads with glue. Not only is this bad for your skin, the glue will stick to your skin not just the plug. So when you try to remove, you will remove a layer of skin and very likely end up with a red, angry, irritated patch (which still has blackheads).

How to make a homemade facial mask for blackheads?


How to remove blackheads with baking soda?


How to remove blackheads with egg white mask?


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