Here's What You Need To Know Before Removing Blackheads

Even if you have smooth, clear skin, you're bound to get a blackhead at one point or another. Blackheads, which are the opening point of a hair follicle that has become clogged with a mix of dead skin cells and oil, are unsightly at best, gross at worst (via Allure). And if the urge to dig them out is driving you crazy, here's what you need to know before removing blackheads.

Blackheads are super common. In fact, it's estimated that around 50 million people suffer from this skin disorder, which is actually a form of acne (via Healthline). Their dark appearance is the result of air exposure. Even if you wash your face all day, every day, you might still be at risk for getting blackheads, since they can be caused by your body producing too much oil, sweating, hormonal changes, or even taking certain medications (via Medical News Today).

And because they're more visible for some people than, say, a whitehead, you might be tempted to try to banish any blackheads from your skin. It might seem like taking two fingers and squeezing would be the easiest and effective way to get rid of a blackhead, but it's not always the safest. Why? Well, all of that picking and prodding of your skin can actually stretch out the pores, and make them bigger (via Clinique). Unfortunately, once it's wider, it won't snap back into its original size and shape. Plus, you can even scar your skin or cause it to become inflamed and infected, which can actually lead to more breakouts.

But here are some ways to beat those blackheads

So what's the solution? If you can get your hands on a comedone extractor tool, that's a good place to start (via Insider). The metal rod has a loop at the end which allows you to push the skin around the blackhead back without injuring it. You could also try using pore strips to try and rip away the blackhead, but be warned: they can hurt and also only remove the top layer of dead skin cells...and maybe not the blackhead itself.

Another answer is to try salicylic acid, which can penetrate your pores and break up all the gunk that's in there (via Good Housekeeping). Even retinoids and retinol can prevent pores from getting clogged in the first place. But if you're looking for something steamier, you can always hop into the shower to help open up your pores. Then, you can use the comedone extractor to bring the blackheads to the surface. And if all else fails, you can always make an appointment with your dermatologist for blackheads that are too deep to dig out on your own.

Blackheads might not be what you want to see on your skin, but there are many ways to remove them. Just make sure that you choose the safest option to prevent potential scarring and infection, and it should be clear skies (and skin) going forward.