Five natural ways to get rid of blackheads

Blackheads are a visible sign that all is not well with your skin. You can take a trip to your local beautician, who will take great pleasure in extracting your pore-blocking invaders. Or you can do it yourself at home.

But first, a note of caution. As with any home remedy, there’s a chance it won’t work and the risk that it could damage to your skin. Remember, your skin is different from Sarah-next-door’s; what works for her may not for you. As with any treatment, you know your skin best, so proceed with caution.

What is a blackhead?

It’s commonly thought that blackheads are dirt in your pores. But that’s not true. It’s actually a pore that’s been clogged by sebum, our skin’s natural oil. The pore is stretched open and is exposed to air, then the trapped sebum turns black.

A whitehead is the same thing, except the pore closes, trapping the sebum inside and keeping it white.

Any ‘cure’ for blackheads needs to open that pore and draw out the trapped sebum. Beauticians cleanse the face, steam it to soften the pores and then use a tool to remove the blackhead manually. However, if not done right this can cause more problems and damage the skin. The following methods are gentler and don’t need professional training.

Green tea

We know the health benefits of drinking green tea, but there’s evidence it could be helpful when applied topically too. It has EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in it, which is a polyphenol that can reduce oil and help to stop acne.[1] It’s anti-androgenic, so it helps to decrease the production of skin oils. It’s also an antioxidant (which is why we drink it), anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.

To utilise these qualities, make a cup of green tea and leave it to steep for an hour. Remove the tea bag or drain the tea and extract the leaves. Make a paste using 1 tbsp of honey and the crushed green tea leaves (if it’s too thick, a few drops of water will make it spreadable). Apply over your skin and leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off. Repeat this once or twice a week.

Remove skin oil with…oil

It seems counter-intuitive to fight oil with oil, but some say this is incredibly effective. Cleansing with a non-comedogenic oil (doesn’t block pores) can help to clear oil and dirt from the skin. It’s gentle, healthy for the skin barrier and appears to help remove blackheads - after all, like attracts like.

Find a non-comedogenic oil that is good for your skin. Argan oil and jojoba are great. Pop a few drops on your palm, then use your fingertips to massage gently into your face for one or two minutes - up to five minutes if you wish. Gently wash away the oil using a damp, warm facecloth. Pat dry and moisturise. 

Switch to an oil-based cleanser

The simplest way to remove and avoid blackheads is to update your daily skincare regime with Okana’s oil-based cleanser. Used morning and night in a double-cleansing ritual, this deliciously smooth cleanser dissolves sebum, makeup and perspiration, allowing you to achieve a higher level of clean - but without leaving it dry and tight. Oil cleansers are a revelation; you’ll never go back. 

Skin gritting

This sounds very rough, but it’s actually quite a gentle process. Start with the oil cleanse, as above. This softens the pores. Then, apply a layer of bentonite clay mask. Bentonite is absorbent and helps to draw any impurities and oil blockages to the surface. It’s also abrasive, so it removes dead skin cells. Leave the mask on until it starts to crack and then rinse it off.

Cleanse again using oil, which dislodges the blackheads that have been drawn to the surface. You’ll feel ‘grittiness’ under your fingers, hopefully. That’s your blackheads on their way out. Do this three times a week maximum, as it’s very drying. You can oil cleanse every day though, which helps to soften the pores and release the blackheads.

Mellow your skin with yellow turmeric

Indians have been using turmeric as part of ayurvedic practices for thousands of years. There are varying degrees of modern research into the product as a health and skincare treatment, with more studies underway. Some studies report that shows it has an anti-acne effect.

Try a turmeric facemask to see if it helps your blackheads. Just be aware that turmeric can stain the skin, so don’t do it within 24 hours of needing to be somewhere that doesn’t require you to look like Malibu Barbie.

To create a face mask, mix a tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of turmeric powder. If it’s too solid, a few drops of warm water will help the honey to loosen. Apply to your face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off, pat dry and apply moisturiser.

Natural doesn’t always equal good

Just like you’re wary of man-made products, you should be hesitant about some natural ingredients too. There are a few natural products that we think you should steer clear of.

  • Lemon is highly acidic, which disrupts your natural pH levels. It can make your skin sensitive and damage the skin barrier.
  • Egg whites can carry salmonella, so applying raw egg white can make you ill if your skin is broken (a cut or pimple) or if you get it in your mouth. Also, there’s no research to suggest egg whites achieve anything positive.
  • Apple cider vinegar has many devotees, but the acidity destroys your skin’s natural barrier. It can cause itching and rashes.
  • Sugar or baking soda scrubs are rough on your skin. It might feel good, like you’re scrubbing away impurities, but it’s damaging the skin and ultimately not helping with blackheads or acne.

Be gentle

If you do need to remove blackheads, be gentle and kind to your skin. Try a few of these treatments and see which one works for you. Once the blackheads are gone, maintain the treatment as it will help to stop more from forming. Don’t be tempted to try DIY extraction with a tool, as you could damage your skin and make things worse.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384166/

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1. What is your policy on animal testing?

Okana do not test on animals and do not ask others to do so.

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All of Okana formulations are made by our in-house team of bio-chemists and materials-chemists in our own lab.

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