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How to Get Rid of Blackheads – Superdrug
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How to Get Rid of Blackheads

Close up of female with blackhead pore cleansing strip on her nose

Blackheads breakouts … you are not welcome here! Unfortunately, we cannot banish blackheads forever, but we can help you to manage them.  Follow our expert advice and try these at-home blackhead removal tips for a clearer looking complexion.

What Are Blackheads & How Are They Caused?

In order to treat something, it’s best to understand what causes them. So, here’s a quick lesson on what causes blackheads…

Blackheads are caused when a combination of naturally occurring oil (or sebum) and dead skin cells clog your hair follicle. As the skin attempts to secrete and shed sebum and dead cells, the bacteria come into contact with oxygen at the opening of the pore, which then turns black.

How Are Blackheads Different to Whiteheads?

With blackheads, the pore remains open. Whereas with a white head, the pore is closed. Simple!

How to get rid of blackheads

Blackhead Removal Tips

1. Exfoliate your skin

By exfoliating your skin with a face scrub, you are effectively removing the top layer of dead skin cells, dirt and makeup which can block your pores.

Remember to be gentle on your skin when exfoliating so you don’t push what’s clogging your pores further into your skin, causing further inflammation. If you have blemish or acne prone skin, exfoliating just once a week should be enough.

2. Try using a chemical peel

Another super effective way of exfoliating your skin is by applying a chemical peel. Don’t be put off by the term ‘chemical’, we’re talking about your lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids.

Your AHAs (alpha-hydroxy-acids) are brilliant for treating blackheads, so that’s your glycolic and your lactic acids. Then your BHAs (beta-hydroxy-acids), such as salicylic acid, dissolve the layer of dead skin cells and unblock your pores.

Although these are very beneficial for your skin, avoid keeping formulas on for too long and if you notice any flaking, give your skin a break.

3. Draw out toxins with clay

Adding a facemask into your skincare routine is not just for the relaxation benefits it brings. Using a clay mask once a week will help draw out the impurities in your pores.  It’s so effective you should actually be able to see excess sebum as it surfaces on the clay.

4. Use oil-free products

One of the causes of blackheads is excess oil, so if you’re suffering from blackheads it’s best to incorporate oil-free or noncomedogenic makeup and skincare products in your regime.

5. Try retinol & retinoids

Usually associated with anti-ageing, retinol products and retinoids are also recognised by dermatologists for removing blackheads. Without over-stripping, these products keep skin cells turning over and replenishing efficiently.

6. Don’t skip out on the moisturiser

If you’re undergoing deep exfoliation and cleansing treatments in a bid to banish blackheads, it’s likely all the oil-stripping methods will dry out the skin. But, it’s vital to keep the balance right and provide nourishment with the help of a moisturiser. If you’re worried about adding oil, always opt for a non-comedogenic moisturiser.

Woman with a mask on her face

The Blackhead-Busting Routine


Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, with an oil-free cleanser that’s formulated to target blackheads.


Use a face scrub twice a week to remove dead skin cells and opt for one that contains lactic acid to help absorb excess oil.


Treat your skin to a detoxifying facemask once a week to cleanse the skin of dirt and bacteria thoroughly. Clay masks stimulate the blood flow and draw out impurities – you’ll be able to see excess sebum as it surfaces on the clay.

Removing Blackheads With Pore Strips

Pore strips can help you remove blackheads with one quick movement - and some people find them ridiculously satisfying to use!

Start by washing your face with a deep-cleansing electronic face brush to loosen any sebum and dead skin cells that might be blocking pores. Then wet your nose (the strip won’t stick otherwise) and apply the strip, smoothing it down as you go and making sure there are no lumps. Once the strip has dried, slowly peel it off, starting at the edges.

Close up of female with blackhead pore cleansing strip on her nose

Should you squeeze blackheads?

We know how tempting it is to squeeze blackheads, but it’s important not to squeeze every single one you see. Remember that squeezing can increase the risk of scarring!

Focus on the oldest blackheads – they tend to be darker in colour and will be easier to remove. If you try to squeeze newer blackheads, you risk damaging the pore walls, which allows the bacteria to spread to the surrounding tissue and cause spots to form.

Start the process by holding your head over a bowl of hot water or having a hot shower – the steam helps to soften the pores. Then wrap a tissue around the fingers you’ll be squeezing with, to help stop the bacteria spreading, and gently push down on either side of the blackhead, slowly moving your fingers around so you’re not constantly putting pressure on the same area of skin.

The blackhead should come out fairly easily; if it doesn’t, leave it for another day. Once you’re finished, apply a clay mask to the affected area to help reduce the inflammation.

Book in for a facial extraction

If you are not comfortable trying to remove black heads yourself, if blackheads are a reoccurring problem and you need professional help, book an appointment with an expert.

They will steam your skin to loosen the oil in your pores and they will use a blackhead extractor tool to physically squeeze them out.

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