Blackheads are a common skin problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is not a health concern but more of a cosmetic problem, and a very frustrating one, for that matter. Blackheads usually show up where they are least wanted- around the nose, on the forehead, on the chin and on the cheeks. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to get rid of them naturally.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are one of several types of acne. They are known as open comedones. While pimples can appear almost anywhere on the body, blackheads mainly affect the face and the shoulders.
Blackheads are closed follicles that contain keratin and other materials that are secreted from the glands found in the skin. Their characteristic dark brown or black color comes from oxidation of the materials accumulated in follicles. They are very similar to whiteheads, whose color remains yellowish-white because, thanks to a small opening, the oxidation does not occur.
As for the cause of blackheads, many people mistakenly believe that poor hygiene is their main cause. This is not true because blackheads, just like whiteheads, are the result of wide and open pores and increased secretion from the glands.
How to treat blackheads naturally
There is a wide choice of commercially manufactured, chemical-based products for blackhead removal, most of them containing salicylic acid, retinoid and various exfoliants. However, it is always better to treat skin ailments with natural remedies, as they are often much more gentle to the skin and have little or no side effects.
The best way to treat blackheads is to prevent them from appearing in the first place. The face should be washed on daily basis, preferably twice a day, using a gentle, pH neutral soap, and gently scrubbing the face dry with a clean, soft towel. This will clean the pores and remove dirt particles and excess oil.
Clay masks and face steaming
Clay masks are highly recommended for people who are prone to blackheads. These masks absorb excess oil and help shrink the pores. In addition, they tone the skin and keep it elastic.
Steaming the face two or three times a week is also a great remedy against blackheads. It softens the skin and opens the pores so the accumulated material can easily be removed with a washcloth.
Lemon and baking soda
Lemon is a very good remedy against blackheads. It prevents or cures bacterial infections and inflammatory conditions of the skin and prevents the secretion of excess oil. The simplest way to use it is to cut a lemon in half and rub the skin gently with it for a few minutes.
A paste made of baking soda is also very effective against blackheads. It should be applied to the affected areas using a cotton swab and left to dry before rinsing it with some warm water.