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Banish Blackheads for Good With These Detox Face Masks

Bestproducts.com Logo By Jennifer Hussein, Katie McBroom of Bestproducts.com | Slide 1 of 14: PSA: As satisfying as it may feel in the moment, you shouldn't be picking at your blackheads. But, what are we supposed to do to our skin when we see a pesky black spot pop up, just ignore it? While playing the waiting game on a blemish to disappear is objectively annoying, there is a way to speed up the process to evict that blemish from your precious pores: slather on a good ol' blackhead face mask to tackle clogged pores.What are Blackheads?Before we dive into how to get rid of blackheads, let's clear the air on what a blackhead exactly is first."Blackheads are also referred to as closed comedones. They appear as small bumps on the skin and are due to clogged hair follicles," says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. "The skin around the bump (comedone) formed from a blackhead is open not closed therefore allowing air to get into the pore. When air combines with bacteria, sebum, and dirt, it turns black."Like most acne, Dr. Green notes that there are an array of causes for blackheads. “There are many forms of acne — however, the main cause of acne is overproduction of sebum and clogged pores,” she says. “Acne is not selective and anyone can get it, and some are genetically predisposed.”Can Blackheads Be Treated at Home?Here's some good news if you have blackheads: Dr. Green says that all forms of acne are treatable. However, some take longer to treat than others, so if you don't see improvement in your skin at the first go of your new skincare routine, don't feel defeated! All it takes is the right concoction of skincare to help your skin.But, how do we actually create a skincare routine targeted at blackheads? Dr. Green suggests starting with the basics: your face washing routine. “Use a cleanser to cleanse the skin and remove all trace makeup and bacteria,” she says. “Use a cleanser and lukewarm water to wash your face. If you are acne-prone, select a gel-based cleanser, which is best for this skin type to get your skin nice and clean.”Some cleansers that Dr. Green recommends for blackheads include Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, and the MGSkinLabs Pore Minimizing Cleanser.But we're not done at just cleansing, of course. After cleansing, Dr. Green suggests applying a toner. "This step sets the pace as it opens the pores after cleansing," she says. "Select a toner with alpha hydroxy, salicylic or glycolic acid. Using a toner is an additional step to cleanse the pores and remove any excess oil build-up and bacteria after cleansing."After toner, Dr. Green says to moisturize. "Moisturizing replenishes the skin cells and also protects the skin barrier," she says. "Ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acid and gel or lightweight formulas if you are acne prone or have oily skin."If you feel so inclined, you can also add a pore strip into the mix. "Pore strips are a great at-home alternative as they get rid of built-up dirt, oil and blackheads," says Dr. Green. "If used routinely, they may reduce the overall appearance of pores."Best Ingredients for Treating BlackheadsSome over the counter skincare ingredients that Dr. Green recommends for treating blackheads include:Salicylic Acid: Dr. Green notes that this particular ingredient has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also exfoliates and unclogs pores, eliminating whiteheads and blackheads. This natural exfoliant encourages dead skin cells to loosen and shed so they cannot combine with oil and clog the pores. Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient controls sebum production and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores. Dr. Green says benzoyl peroxide products are effective for getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads because this ingredient kills the bacteria that cause acne and inhibits the production of oil.Glycolic Acid: If you have acne-prone skin, then Dr. Green says products containing glycolic acid are great for your skin. This exfoliating acid is known for reducing excess sebum production. Niacinamide: "This is a powerful antioxidant derived from vitamin B-3," says Dr. Green. "This ingredient fights acne by reducing inflammation and dark spots."Azelaic Acid: Dr. Green recommends this ingredient for its ability to unclog pores, lighten dark spots, soothe inflammation, and reduce redness in your skin. Before you go head-first into these skincare ingredients, here are a few things to note: first off, Dr. Green recommends using these products at nighttime, as many of these are active ingredients and can lead to sensitivity or irritation if worn during the daylight (especially if you're skipping sunscreen, which you shouldn't be doing anyway). Also, if your blackheads are severe, you may want to talk to a dermatologist before you add anything new to your routine."For severe cases of blackheads, you should see a dermatologist to prevent scarring," says Dr. Green. "Tretinoin, which is a derived form of vitamin A (available only via prescription) is known for controlling sebum production and clogged pores. Tretinoin also works to reduce unwanted pigmentation and improves your overall skin texture. Your doctor will determine if this treatment option is best suited for your skin."Best Blackhead Face MasksBest Overall: Boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal MaskAmazon Best Seller: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing MaskWorks in One Minute: Bioré Charcoal Instant Warming Clay MaskMade from Lava: Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay MaskBest Mask Duo: Eminence Organic Skin Care Balancing Masque DuoBest for Sensitive Skin Types: Tata Harper Resurfacing BHA Glow MaskHighly Rated: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal MaskPrevents Blackheads: The Body Shop Tea Tree 3-in-1 MaskAnti-Aging Benefits: Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud MaskTreats Acne Too: Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud MaskFun to Use: GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Activated Charcoal TreatmentHas Salicylic Acid: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor MaskBest Sheet Mask: Erno Laszlo Exfoliate & Detox Detoxifying Hydrogel MaskIf you want to take your blackhead-banishing skincare routine up a notch, try grabbing some of our favorite detoxifying face masks. These masks are formulated with some of the great skincare ingredients Dr. Green listed above, and then some more to really give your complexion a much-needed refresh.

PSA: As satisfying as it may feel in the moment, you shouldn't be picking at your blackheads. But, what are we supposed to do to our skin when we see a pesky black spot pop up, just ignore it? While playing the waiting game on a blemish to disappear is objectively annoying, there is a way to speed up the process to evict that blemish from your precious pores: slather on a good ol' blackhead face mask to tackle clogged pores.

What are Blackheads?

Before we dive into how to get rid of blackheads, let's clear the air on what a blackhead exactly is first.

"Blackheads are also referred to as closed comedones. They appear as small bumps on the skin and are due to clogged hair follicles," says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. "The skin around the bump (comedone) formed from a blackhead is open not closed therefore allowing air to get into the pore. When air combines with bacteria, sebum, and dirt, it turns black."

Like most acne, Dr. Green notes that there are an array of causes for blackheads. “There are many forms of acne — however, the main cause of acne is overproduction of sebum and clogged pores,” she says. “Acne is not selective and anyone can get it, and some are genetically predisposed.”

Can Blackheads Be Treated at Home?

Here's some good news if you have blackheads: Dr. Green says that all forms of acne are treatable. However, some take longer to treat than others, so if you don't see improvement in your skin at the first go of your new skincare routine, don't feel defeated! All it takes is the right concoction of skincare to help your skin.

But, how do we actually create a skincare routine targeted at blackheads? Dr. Green suggests starting with the basics: your face washing routine.

“Use a cleanser to cleanse the skin and remove all trace makeup and bacteria,” she says. “Use a cleanser and lukewarm water to wash your face. If you are acne-prone, select a gel-based cleanser, which is best for this skin type to get your skin nice and clean.”

Some cleansers that Dr. Green recommends for blackheads include Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, and the MGSkinLabs Pore Minimizing Cleanser.

But we're not done at just cleansing, of course. After cleansing, Dr. Green suggests applying a toner. "This step sets the pace as it opens the pores after cleansing," she says. "Select a toner with alpha hydroxy, salicylic or glycolic acid. Using a toner is an additional step to cleanse the pores and remove any excess oil build-up and bacteria after cleansing."

After toner, Dr. Green says to moisturize. "Moisturizing replenishes the skin cells and also protects the skin barrier," she says. "Ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acid and gel or lightweight formulas if you are acne prone or have oily skin."

If you feel so inclined, you can also add a pore strip into the mix. "Pore strips are a great at-home alternative as they get rid of built-up dirt, oil and blackheads," says Dr. Green. "If used routinely, they may reduce the overall appearance of pores."

Best Ingredients for Treating Blackheads

Some over the counter skincare ingredients that Dr. Green recommends for treating blackheads include:

  • Salicylic Acid: Dr. Green notes that this particular ingredient has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also exfoliates and unclogs pores, eliminating whiteheads and blackheads. This natural exfoliant encourages dead skin cells to loosen and shed so they cannot combine with oil and clog the pores.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient controls sebum production and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores. Dr. Green says benzoyl peroxide products are effective for getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads because this ingredient kills the bacteria that cause acne and inhibits the production of oil.
  • Glycolic Acid: If you have acne-prone skin, then Dr. Green says products containing glycolic acid are great for your skin. This exfoliating acid is known for reducing excess sebum production.
  • Niacinamide: "This is a powerful antioxidant derived from vitamin B-3," says Dr. Green. "This ingredient fights acne by reducing inflammation and dark spots."
  • Azelaic Acid: Dr. Green recommends this ingredient for its ability to unclog pores, lighten dark spots, soothe inflammation, and reduce redness in your skin.

Before you go head-first into these skincare ingredients, here are a few things to note: first off, Dr. Green recommends using these products at nighttime, as many of these are active ingredients and can lead to sensitivity or irritation if worn during the daylight (especially if you're skipping sunscreen, which you shouldn't be doing anyway). Also, if your blackheads are severe, you may want to talk to a dermatologist before you add anything new to your routine.

"For severe cases of blackheads, you should see a dermatologist to prevent scarring," says Dr. Green. "Tretinoin, which is a derived form of vitamin A (available only via prescription) is known for controlling sebum production and clogged pores. Tretinoin also works to reduce unwanted pigmentation and improves your overall skin texture. Your doctor will determine if this treatment option is best suited for your skin."

Best Blackhead Face Masks

If you want to take your blackhead-banishing skincare routine up a notch, try grabbing some of our favorite detoxifying face masks. These masks are formulated with some of the great skincare ingredients Dr. Green listed above, and then some more to really give your complexion a much-needed refresh.

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