Blemishes can send an otherwise level-headed girl into a big mood. If you take good care of your skin, waking up to whiteheads and blackheads can be frustrating.
It’s in our DNA to try to “fix” our blemishes on our own by squeezing, picking, and popping, but it never helps and only makes our skin look worse. Blackheads can be especially irritating, because they are often harder to get rid off than whiteheads.
If you’ve ever wasted half an hour of your life in front of the mirror trying desperately to pop your blackheads, we feel you.
Let’s step away from the mirror and have a conversation about why blackheads form, why you should never pop them, and what you can do to get rid of them.
What Causes Blackheads?
All acne bumps are caused by clogged pores. Your skin produces a naturally lubricating oil, called sebum, that keeps your skin protected and hydrated. Sometimes, your skin produces too much sebum. When this happens, sebum can mix with dirt and dead skin cells and clog your pores.
Clogged pores can become four different types of blemishes.
- Nodules and cysts. These types of blemishes are large and sometimes under the skin. They can feel hard and hot, and appear red and sensitive to touch. These types of bumps rarely develop a head because they are so deep in your skin.
- Papules. These types of bumps are small and red. Sometimes they develop whiteheads. These types of bumps often appear in clusters and resemble a rash.
- Whiteheads. Whiteheads are pimples that have a whitish or yellowish head on the top. The top of the pimple is white because it is closed off. You can check out tips on getting rid of whiteheads here.
- Blackheads. Blackheads are clogged pores with an open top. Because a blackhead is open, the oil and dead skin cells are exposed to oxygen, giving them a dark color.
Blackheads are very common. More than 50 million people in the U.S. have some form of acne, including blackheads. Blackheads can be caused by several different factors.
The size of your pores is genetic, and pore size has a lot to do with the development of blackheads. If your pores are larger (i.e. visible with the naked eye) you’ll have a higher chance of developing blackheads.
Genetics also plays a role in how much oil your skin produces, so if you come from a long line of oily skinned relatives, you may have oily skin also.
If one or both of your parents developed blackheads or still have them, it’s more likely you’ll develop blackheads, too.
Improper Skin Care
Taking good care of your skin is essential for maintaining skin that is blemish-free. It’s important to use high quality, natural skin care products that are gentle on your skin. Look for plant-based skin care products that won’t strip your skin of natural moisture.
A great skin care routine can help keep your skin clean, exfoliated, and hydrated. When your skin gets the ingredients it needs to stay healthy and hydrated, it will produce less sebum and lower your risk of developing blackheads.
Your hormones change during your monthly cycle, and some of these changes can trigger a breakout.
When your testosterone levels increase during the ovulation phase of your monthly cycle, it also triggers additional sebum production. The sebum produced is also thicker and stickier, making it easier for it to pick up dead skin cells and dirt that clog your pores.
You might also notice breakouts before your period starts, during the luteal phase of your cycle. Sebum production increases during this phase, too, triggering more bumps and blemishes.
Should You Pop Blackheads?
Even though it’s tempting, you should never try to pop your blackheads. They are notoriously difficult to remove and should only be extracted by a professional, like an aesthetician or dermatologist.
Here are three reasons you should keep your fingers away from your face.
1. You’ll Never Get Them All
Blackheads tend to come in clusters and cover large areas of skin, like your entire nose, or your cheeks. Once you begin to pick or poke at them, it can be impossible to get them all and you’ll end up with swollen, irritated skin.
It’s also virtually impossible for you to get all the clogged oil and dirt from the pore. Because blackheads are buried in your skin, you’ll likely end up only getting the top portion of the blackhead removed.
2. You Could Spread Bacteria
If you attempt to pop a blackhead, you’ll probably end up spreading bacteria around your skin. When you squeeze a blackhead, the bacteria in the bottom of the pore could be pushed further into your skin, creating a nodule.
Additionally, when you put your fingers on your skin, you naturally spread whatever is on them onto your skin. Even if you touch your face with clean hands, the bacteria from the blackhead and you squeeze could get into surrounding pores and cause an even worse breakout.
3. You Could Cause a Scar
Anytime you squeeze or pop a pimple or blackhead, you irritate the skin and create the potential for a scar. Squeezing a blackhead can break the skin, which can lead to formation of a scab. If you pick at the scab, you could end up with a permanent scar. A scar is way worse than dealing with a blackhead for a few days.
It goes without saying you should never use an object to pop or squeeze a pimple. You could seriously damage your skin and wind up with a scar that is very noticeable.
How To Deal With Blackheads
There are much less invasive solutions for dealing with blackheads instead of popping them. These methods are easy, effective, and won’t leave you with a bigger breakout or a permanent scar.
Pimple patches are one of the easiest ways to deal with your bumps and blemishes. Pimple patches are small, transparent stickers you place over your blackheads to remove them. They work by using hydrocolloid technology that gently absorbs pus, oil, and dirt.
Pimple patches are also helpful, because they protect your pores from additional dirt and oil. They’re also great for making sure your fingers don’t find their way to your skin to pick and pop.
No matter what kind of bump or blemish you’re dealing with, there’s a pimple patch to help.
- Whiteheads. For single whitehead bumps, go for the Invisible Spot Cover. These covers are designed to fit securely and invisibly over your bump and delete it in a matter of hours.
- Blackheads and papules. For clusters of blackheads or papules, the Spot Control Cover works like magic. Designed to inconspicuously conceal larger areas of bumps or cluster-type breakouts, these covers work like magic to reduce irritation and make your blackheads disappear.
- Cysts and nodules. Under-the-skin bumps can be painful and hard to cover up. The Microcrystal Spot Cover is formulated with tea tree oil, totarol, and hyaluronic acid to dive deep into your pores, break up the blemish, and gently remove it.
Using spots covers is a great way to shorten the length of time you experience a breakout and keep your skin looking clarified and healthy.
Just before your period it can feel like you’re battling breakouts all over your face. When this happens, a sheet mask can be your best friend.
Sheet masks are infused with healing ingredients that battle oil and dirt and help keep your skin clear. Rael’s Tea Tree Oil Facial Mask is perfect for battling pre-period oily skin. Plus, it’s a great way to practice self care when you need it most.
Stay Away From the Mirror
Seriously, stay away! If you find yourself wandering toward the mirror out of boredom, try keeping yourself busy with another activity. If you use a magnifying mirror, put it out of sight until your blackheads have cleared up.
Spending too much time in front of the mirror can cause you to pick more and more, making an already bad situation much worse. Do your best to limit your mirror time so you aren’t tempted to irritate your skin.
Blackheads can be frustrating, but you can deal with them when you have the right products. Picking your skin never works, for blackheads or any other type of blemish. Using methods like pimple patches and sheet masks help keep your skin protected from your hands, and also help give your clearer, healthier skin.
Rael is already your go-to source for holistic period care products you can trust to give you the protection you want without any harsh chemicals. Our skin care and acne treatments are equally as gentle, chemical-free, and effective on tough breakouts.
Love your skin and your period, with the best products from Rael.