Blackheads may not be fully formed pimples just yet but everyone can agree that they are very stubborn and much unwanted. But don’t fret and keep your hands away from these blemishes: blackheads are very much treatable and it doesn’t even have to involve painful extractions. It’s all in the right ingredients, using them correctly and consistently, and understanding why we get blackheads in the first place.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are formed in open pores when excess sebum combines with bacteria and dead skin cells. The reason for their black appearance is because the debris has oxidized from being exposed in the air– not because there is dirt in the pores, as is commonly believed.
As for the causes, some people are genetically prone to getting blackheads and acne, while those with oily skin tend to have more. Blackheads can also occur due to hormonal changes like during puberty, or in the case of women, during menstruation or when starting new hormonal birth control. Using thick moisturizers or heavy makeup can also make blackheads worse.
You may consider seeing a dermatologist so you can have your blackheads treated, but it’s always worth trying to treat them at home first. Here are the top blackhead-fighting ingredients you should look for in your skincare products:
- Salicylic acid
This powerful beta-hydroxy acid helps keep pores clear. An effective exfoliant, salicylic acid helps clear pores by exfoliating from inside the hair follicles of the skin. Salicylic acid is related to aspirin and its anti-inflammatory properties that make it more tolerable for the skin than glycolic acid. When looking for products to add to your acne arsenal, consider products with a 2 percent salicylic acid component.
- Benzoyl Peroxide
Dirt is one of the main causes of acne and blemishes, and benzoyl peroxide helps address the stress it gives to your skin. Known for its antibacterial properties, this ingredient helps kill acne-causing bacteria, remove excess oil from the skin, and removes dead skin cells that can clog pores. This is one of the more popular blackhead solutions because it’s easily available but it can be drying and even harsh on sensitive complexions. If you’re opting for this treatment, spot treat on a small patch of skin first to check for any adverse reactions.
- Glycolic acid
This ingredient is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid with a smaller molecule, making it better at penetrating the pores to dissolve excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells. Glycolic acid also supports cell turnover, helping your skin create new, healthier skin cells. Take care when incorporating this ingredient to your routine; introduce the glycolic acid product slowly. When you see that your skin tolerates it, that’s when you start increasing the frequency.
- Azelaic acid
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid found in grains like wheat and barley, though nowadays it is synthesized in a lab. This ingredient is a comedolytic, which means it helps break down existing blockages and prevents new ones from forming. Azelaic acid is also a gentle exfoliant, compared to other topical treatments like retinoids.
Another popular blackhead-busting ingredient is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, a key nutrient that the skin requires to stimulate cell turnover. It boosts collagen and elastin production, which results in firmer skin and pores and in turn, reduces pore blockages that lead to blackheads and acne. Retinol also unclogs pores by clearing away excess sebum and bacteria, treating existing blackheads and reducing chances of breakouts.
Fight acne and blackheads from within
One way you can get rid and further prevent blackhead causes is by taking Lactoferrin + d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate + Zinc (Lactezin). Lactoferrin, combined with Vitamin E and Zinc can help treat different types of acne breakouts, including blackheads in as early as 2 weeks with regular use (results may vary).
Lactoferrin + d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate + Zinc is the generic name of Lactezin. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
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