Dear eNotAlone: I'm a teenager and I have blackheads all over my face. I'm embarrassed about it and really want to get rid of them, but I don't know what to do. Everyone says that I should use some sort of facial cleanser or scrub, but nothing seems to work. I feel like I'm stuck with these embarrassing blackheads and I don't know what to do.
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If you're feeling embarrassed by the amount of blackheads on your face, there are steps you can take to help minimize the appearance of them. Blackheads, which are dark spots typically appearing on the nose, chin, and forehead, form when a build-up of oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. The good news is that with a few simple changes to your daily skincare routine, you can help prevent them from forming.
The first and most important step in getting rid of blackheads is to keep your skin clean. This may seem obvious, but to properly get rid of the blackheads and prevent new ones from forming, you must cleanse your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Cleansers that contain salicylic acid can be particularly effective in unclogging pores and removing excess oil. It's also important to moisturize your skin because dry skin can lead to more blackheads. Look for water-based formulas that contain glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
In addition to maintaining a proper skin care routine, exfoliation is key when it comes to tackling blackheads. Exfoliating products containing either alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids help remove dead skin cells that can cause a buildup of dirt and oil in your pores. But don't overdo it – exfoliate no more than two or three times a week. Any more than that can irritate your skin.
Making sure you're getting enough sleep is also critical to keeping blackheads away. When you don't get enough sleep, your body starts to produce stress hormones like cortisol, which can stimulate your sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum (oil) that can build up and cause blackheads. So try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
It's worth mentioning that if you're still having trouble with blackheads, consult with a dermatologist to discuss further treatments such as chemical peels, laser treatments, and medications. A dermatologist can best assess your skin and recommend a course of action.
If you want to get rid of blackheads, the key is to maintain a proper skincare routine and make sure you're getting enough sleep. While over-the-counter remedies like facial cleansers and exfoliants can help, seeing a dermatologist may be the best way to go in order to get to the root of the problem.