Blackheads occur when a pore is clogged by a combination of sebum and dead skin cells. The top of the pore stays open, despite the rest of it being clogged. This results in the characteristic black color seen on the surface.

Blackheads are simply whiteheads that have opened and widened. When the contents of a whitehead are exposed to air, they darken.

Causes of Blackheads

Certain factors do make you more vulnerable to blackheads:

  • Oily skin is more likely to develop blackheads, because there’s more oil available to become trapped in your pores.
  • Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, can cause your skin to produce more oil. Some medications may also affect your hormones.
  • Skincare products such as moisturisers can make your complexion oilier. This doesn’t mean you have to skip moisturiser, though. Instead, choose a product marked ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’.
  • Poor skincare habits: If you sleep in your makeup, allow sweat and pollutants to remain on your skin, or use oil-based cosmetics on an oily or acne-prone complexion, you’ll be more vulnerable to blackheads.
  • Dry skin would seem to protect you from blackheads, but that’s not always the case. When your skin becomes dehydrated, your skin may overreact by producing too much oil. This oil can get trapped in your pores along with dead skin, producing blackheads and flaky, dry skin.



Chemical Peels – Salycilic and or Glycolic acid

Chemical peels also remove clogs and get rid of the dead skins cells that contribute to blackheads. During a peel, a strong chemical solution of salicylic acid and glycolic acid is applied to the skin. Over time, the top layers of the skin peel off, revealing smoother skin underneath.

Laser and Light therapy (Laser acne treatment)

Laser and light therapies use tiny beams of intense light to decrease oil production or kill bacteria. Both lasers and light beams reach below the surface of the skin to treat blackheads and acne without damaging the top layers of the skin.


This professional method of exfoliation “can help a great deal. Your doctor can also provide chemical peel treatments and comedone extractions which are office-based procedures known to help improve skin texture and appearance. The Hydrafacial does wonders here.


This vitamin A derivative is “the absolute best way to clear clogged pores and prevent blackheads from forming. Prescription-strength formulations are the most effective. These work on receptors in the skin to improve the way skin grows and sheds so that it is less likely to form acne. Sometimes there is noticeable peeling but after regular use three to seven times weekly for four to six weeks, the side effects lessen and the skin appears more radiant and clear.