Going down the blackhead rabbit hole is the worst! You know what I mean—you tackle one blackhead just to find dozens more. The best thing you can do for your skin’s health is to keep your hands away from your blackheads. You will only inflame your skin if you try to simply squeeze those pesky blackheads. You’ll also want to steer clear of abrasive exfoliators, and stick to retinol and chemical peels.

What exactly are blackheads, anyways?

Nix the idea that blackheads are there because you’re “dirty.” Everyone has them, and they’re simply a mix of oil and dead skin cells sitting in your pores. Exposure to air causes them to oxidize and turn black.

Salicylic Acid

Simply applying an over-the-counter salicylic acid will begin to dissolve your blackheads. You’re better off using a leave-on topical paste so the salicylic acid has time to really sink into the skin.


Retinoids work wonders for blackheads. Low-strength retinoids are easier on the skin, and even someone with the most sensitive skin can handle them. A great low-strength retinoid product to use for blackheads is Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels not only reduce blackheads, but they also reverse breakouts, cast off dull surface cells, improve fine lines, acne, discoloration, and more. Chemical peels are much more affordable than laser treatments. With a chemical peel, in minutes acids lift away dead cells and trigger collagen and hyaluronic production.

Exfoliate the right way

Avoid harsh exfoliating masks and try a dual-action exfoliator that smooths and polishes the skin too. ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is a bestselling exfoliator with face scrubbing natural exfoliants that don’t dry the skin out. Lactic acid and fruit enzymes from papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin reveal a brighter complexion and smoother skin. Use this product in the shower so the steam can help activate the enzymes and make them more effective.

Don’t forget to moisturize

As you try one of these methods to tackle your blackheads, your skin will struggle to stay moisturized. These methods are very drying, so make sure as you exfoliate that you also moisturize your skin daily. If a retinoid is too drying, try applying it over moisturizer, or in between layers of moisturizer. Choose noncomedogenic moisturizers so they don’t clog your pores all over again.