Out of all of the actives for treating blackheads, beta hydroxy acid ranks as the most impactful. It is a chemical exfoliant that helps remove built up dead skin that would normally mix with oil in the pore and risk turning into a blackhead. This makes it effective for treating the blackheads you see now, as well as helping prevent future blackheads from forming (when used consistently).
Consider adding niacinamide to your anti-blackhead routine. Niacinamide helps improve pore functionality and re-establishes a normal flow of oil out of the pore lining. Why is this important? When too much oil is produced inside the pore, it has difficulty flowing freely to the surface. As the flow of oil gets backed up, it mixes with the built-up dead skin and oxidises, forming a blackhead. Daily use of a concentrated niacinamide product helps mitigate that.
Take blackhead reduction a step further by using an oil-absorbing mask that contains key ingredients like porous charcoal, natural clays (kaolin and bentonite), and tapioca starch. These can improve your odds against blackheads and may help dislodge stubborn debris within pores.
Proper cleansing is essential. Steer clear of abrasive face scrubs—these are not advised because blackheads are too deep in the pore to be removed by surface scrubbing. And the vast majority of scrubs contain hard, coarse particles that can irritate and damage your skin. Face washes that leave skin feeling stripped dry are equally bad as they put skin in a compromised state, and the irritation they incite can trigger increased sebum production, which in turn equals more blackheads. Lose-lose!
Another key step for blackhead-prone skin is to get hydration without using overly emollient or greasy moisturisers that won’t clog pores. Opt for gel and light fluid lotion types of moisturisers instead of rich creams (the base ingredients that give creams their thick consistency can clog pores). Alternatively, you can also get your daily dose of hydration from a toner that’s loaded with hydrating substances like hyaluronic acid, instead of a traditional moisturiser.