Go to any cosmetic store and you’ll find plenty of products designed to reduce or eliminate blackheads. These products can work, but if you’re an au naturel type of gal, you probably shudder at the thought of putting these harsh or chemical-laden lotions, gels, masks and washes on your face. A better route for the modern lady is to use items you have at home in your kitchen to attack your blackhead problem.
Opening Your Pores
Blackheads are a combination of trapped sebum (skin oil), dirt and dead skin, along with residues from cleansers and makeup. Even though your skin desperately needs relief from the nastiness in your pores that’s creating your blackhead problem, all the blackhead gunk is pretty sticky and stubborn. Your skin has to break away from it a little before you can draw out the blackheads naturally. The best way to make this happen is to use gentle heat and steam. Soak a clean washcloth in water that’s hot but not hot enough to burn or scald you. Kick back on the couch or your bed for a few minutes with the cloth over your face. If you prefer, you can take a warm shower, too. The heat and steam will let your skin relax and open up your pores.
Homemade Pore Strips
A homeopathic alternative to pores strips you buy is to make your own strips from a cup of sugar, 1/3 cup honey and juice from half a lemon. Combine everything in a saucepan and heat it on high heat. Wait until the mixture is cool enough to work with and then put a thin layer on the area of skin plagued with the pesky blackheads. Put strips of cloth—even a clean old T-shirt can be the source of your strips—over the wax and let it stiffen as it cools. You also can use regular waxing paper if you want, which is available at most stores that sell cosmetics and skin care products. Quickly pull off the cloth or paper. This trick works because honey will stick to everything in the pore and pull it out. Sugar is a good antibacterial exfoliant, and lemon juice is a natural exfoliant and astringent. Rinse your face well afterward with warm water to remove any leftover residue and then close your pores back up with a few splashes of cold water.
Exfoliating Wash and Scrub
Drawing out and eliminating blackheads might be as simple as using baking soda as a wash or scrub. Baking soda is a very fine powder capable of exfoliating without hurting your skin. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a bowl of warm water and rinse your face with it. Rinse your face with fresh water to remove any baking soda residue. If you’re in the mood to treat your skin to a scrub, mix one part water to three parts baking soda to make a paste. Put the paste on your skin and rub it gently in a circular motion to dig out your blackheads. Rinse off the paste and pat your skin dry.
Using a facial mask is a great way to cleanse your skin of blackheads while relaxing or doing other things around the house. The list of homeopathic items you can include in blackhead-clearing masks is enormous, but in general, you can use any fruit, vegetable, spice, nut or juice that contains high amounts of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the same ingredient you’ll find in most acne products. It has the ability to dissolve blackheads and is an exfoliant. Examples of things to try in a homemade mask include strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, apples and mandarins. Most fruits and vegetables also have antioxidants that fight skin cell damage. Turmeric, found in curry powder, has high salicylic acid, too, and has been used in skin care in India for centuries. Oregano, rosemary and thyme make the cut, as well. Because there are so many items with salicylic acid, you can shop around until you find the right recipe to work with your skin.
Moisturizing is an important part of getting rid of blackheads. If your skin is dry, your skin will go into overdrive and produce way more oil than it needs. Hydrated skin also doesn’t “turn over” or die quite so fast because it stays plump and healthy. Use a good facial moisturizer after any blackhead treatment such as aloe vera gel.
No matter what natural remedy you use to extract and clear up blackheads, open pores are essential. You have a wide variety of options at your disposal, including regular washes, scrubs, pore strips and masks. Moisturizing is a good option after any facial treatment.