The truth is, everyone deals with blackheads. “They certainly are frustrating,” celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau says. “While there’s no miracle product that removes them from the skin, there are definitely things you can do to discourage their formation.” From at-home extraction tips to helpful products, Rouleau offers a step-by-step guide to dealing with the common problem, above!
The first step? Unclog your pores. Whether you remove blackheads yourself (gently, of course) or have a professional facial, manual extraction is a must. In a professional facial, your esthetician will raise the temperature of the skin by applying warm steam and performing a facial massage to “melt” the hardened oil within the pores to make for easier extractions. For do-it-yourself extractions, it’s best to remove blackheads after a shower since your skin’s temperature is higher than usual.
If you’re going the DIY route, apply a thin coat of the heaviest moisturizer you have to your skin post-shower. The rich moisturizer creates a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin (which is necessary for extractions). Next, cover the area with plastic wrap and apply warm, damp towels on top for five minutes.
Remove the plastic and wrap tissue over each forefinger before gently squeezing to remove blackheads. To avoid creating squeeze marks, go easy and be sure to relocate the position of your fingers often. For example, position fingers at 3:00 and 9:00 and then 5:00 and 10:00. Afterward, apply a cooling gel mask to reduce any redness.
Once your pores are clean, it’s important to incorporate products into your routine that use acids, such as AHA’s and BHA’s, to absorb directly into the pores and keep them clean, as well as preventing the oil from filling back up so quickly. Skincare products with acids, include cleansers with beta hydroxys such as salicylic acid, serums, and at-home pore cleaning peels, are worthy investments. (Be sure the products are gentle and do not contain SD alcohol 40 or denatured alcohol.)
Note: Do not use any acid-based products for at least 24 hours after manual extractions.
Lastly, you want to prevent oil from oxidizing. Perhaps not surprising, given their name, that’s what antioxidants do. Think of it like this: When you cut an apple into pieces, you can apply lemon juice, which is high in vitamin C, to prevent it from turning brown. The same rule applies to the skin and blackheads.
This rich balm makes a great nighttime moisturizer in the winter.
This moisturizer contains kiwi extract, which boosts cellular renewal, and organic carob extract, which supports collagen production.
This classic moisturizer is great for sensitive skin.
This gel mask actually reduces the skin’s temperature, plumping, moisturizing, and fighting dark spots by reducing melatonin.
Our go-to post-sunburn mask, this calming gel will cool over-heated skin, reduce redness, and even help your face recover from a hard workout if you’re in a rush.
A mix of glycolic, citric, and lactic acid, this immediately evens skintone and reduces the appearance of pores.
Formulated for acne-prone skin, this gel has licorice and aloe for anti-aging benefits alongside its soothing, hyperpigmentation-fighting abilities.
Sprinkle a bit of this powder into your daily moisturizer for added protection against the elements.
A hardworking serum that fights free radicals (UVA, UVB, and infrared damage), while replenishing lipids.
This cream is packed with tocotrienol, basically the best kind of vitamin E, for instant hydration.
Renee Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment ($63) will keep oil from oxidizing, plus it's great for sensitive skin.