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Ugh, blackheads. It’s not enough that they typically appear in clusters, they’re also some of the most noticeable pores that mar our complexion.
So what are you to do? Well, you’ll have to get to the root of the issue, of course. We all know that blackheads are just clogged oil and dead skin that’s been oxidised (hence the ‘black’ in ‘blackheads’) so the trick is to clear out your pores. And with this guide, you’ll be well on your way to achieving clearer skin.
1. Get cleaning the right way
It might seem too basic a step to even mention but it’s one of utmost importance so we’re here to make sure you’re doing it right. Or should we say, choosing it right.
Beauty junkies will probably know to keep a lookout for benzoyl peroxide in the ingredients list, and it’s true – benzoyl gets the job done quick.
However, for all you sensitive skinned women, opt for cleansers that include salicylic acid instead. It might be a slower (and gentler) alternative to benzoyl peroxide, but the ingredient aids in skin-cell turnover which translates to unclogged pores. We did say we were tackling the root of the issue!
Be sure to get a cleanser that is in line with your skin’s sensitivity, however. Salicylic acid usually make up 0.5 to 2 per cent of the product, so it goes without saying that the more sensitive your skin is, the less concentrated your cleanser should be.
2. Keep it all on
Stop right there. There’s no need to rinse off your cleanser just yet. Instead, try leaving it on your face as a makeshift mask. Why? Well, it’s simple. The longer the product stays on your face, the more time it has to work its magic.
This is where you’ll need to start taking note, though, because the time it stays on your skin is entirely dependent on how concentrated your chosen product is and just how sensitive your skin is.
For women with combination or sensitive skin, be sure to avoid the drier or more sensitive parts of your face, applying it where you need it most instead. (Yes, we mean the T-zone.)
And if you feel your skin becoming too dry or irritated, scale down the frequency with which you use the product or swap our your cleanser for one that has a lower salicylic acid concentration.
Don’t forget: Results take time so don’t over-compensate by applying more. Less is more, ladies!
3. Strip once a week
We know how satisfying those pore strips can be, so we’re extremely sorry to deliver the news that they don’t do anything to help with your blackhead situation except, well, to pull them out with sheer force.
So following that logic, it would make sense that overusing our favourite strips might lead to skin irritation or even strip (heh) your skin of its natural oils. And yes, that will result in the production of more oil to make up for it, which means more blemishes, more strips and, well, you get the drift.
So here’s what we’re proposing: Limit your use to just once a week, but make it count. And how would you do that? By using our beauty editor-approved hack that helps you remove the most blackheads out of your nose with that one pore strip, of course!
4. Retinol to the rescue
You’ve probably heard about retinol but if you haven’t, well, allow us to introduce you to this skincare hero. Much like salicylic acid, retinol helps to increase your skin’s cellular turnover rate but they also hold anti-aging properties. (As if you needed more reason to include it in your skincare regime!)
However, just as with salicylic acid, you have to take care not to overuse it. And if you’re a believer in layering your beauty products, then you’ll need to know this: While there is no consensus on whether using both retinol and salicylic acid at the same time harms your skin, it might be wise to heed caution and avoid including both in your beauty routine.
You can never be too safe when it comes to your face, after all!
5. Mask it
Look, we love our masks. Whether it’s products that hydrate and plump up our skin or customisable masks that promise to target our different skin concerns (at the same time, no less!), we are just plainly obsessed.
So for our next tip, we’re happy to say that it’s time to whip out those masks. Or, well, specifically, clay masks. A good clay mask will bring out the impurities and soak up any trace of dirt while brightening up dull or tired skin. Plus, it makes for the perfect touch to an evening of pampering.
6. Slather up!
Finally, lock all that goodness in with your hydrating product of choice. It doesn’t matter if you’re opting for facial oils (which, yes, we still swear by) or an anti-ageing moisturiser, what matters is that you replenish any moisture that may have been stripped off your face.