How to Get Rid of Blackheads in Your Ear

Blackheads are annoying, small clusters of black dots clogging your pores. The dark material that makes up a blackhead isn’t actually dirt, but a mixture of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Exposure to air is what causes them to oxidize and darken in color. 

You’ve probably experienced blackheads on your face, nose, or chin at one time or another. Did you know you can get blackheads inside your ears too? Although Bioré products are designed for powerful blackhead removal and prevention on your face, we didn’t want to leave your ears out in the cold! Use this article to figure out what’s causing blackheads in your ears and how to get rid of them.

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What Causes Ear Blackheads?

Blackheads are non-inflammatory acne lesions caused by dead skin cells and oil that get trapped inside your pores. Ears are surprisingly vulnerable to developing blackheads because the skin inside the ear canal is covered with hundreds of tiny hair follicles and glands that produce oil and earwax. If these glands produce too much oil, your skin breaks out and you’re stuck with unsightly acne and blackheads. 

Here are a few ways you could be inviting these annoying imperfections into your ears and some tips to stop blackheads from forming in your ears:

  • Residual Earwax and Grime on Your Earbuds or Headphones: Oil and earwax cling to your earbuds, so clean them off at least once a week and avoid wearing them for long periods of time.
  • Dirt and Bacteria on Your Pillowcase: If you’re struggling with blackheads in your ears, your pillowcase could be to blame. Wash your pillowcase at least once a week to avoid a build-up of bacteria and impurities. These nasties can transfer back onto your skin overnight and cause irritation and acne.
  • Oil and Bacteria from Your Cell Phone: Did you know your cellphone can carry more germs than the average toilet seat? Ew! Invest in a container of disinfecting wipes to clean your phone of germs, grit, grime, and grease.
  • Touching Your Ears: Just like your face, touching your ears too often can cause bacteria from your hands to get into the pores in your ears.
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How to Get Rid of Blackheads in Ears

Ear Blackheads happen, but don’t worry, you can kick them to the curb with this easy step-by-step guide:

  1. Find a cleanser with salicylic acid. Find a cleanser that contains salicylic acid. This acne-fighting ingredient acts as an exfoliant to dissolve excess oil and dead skin cells on your skin.
  2. Use a cotton ball to carefully clean the skin on your ears. Take a clean cotton ball and saturate it with your salicylic acid cleanser. Gently rub your ears with the cotton ball, focusing on the area with blackheads. To keep the cleanser from dripping, tilt your ear to the side being careful not to let the solution enter your inner ear. Let it soak for about 10 seconds (or follow the instructions on the package).
  3. Thoroughly rinse off the cleanser with a clean cotton ball. The skin on your ears is sensitive. So, you might need to take time to build up a tolerance to salicylic cleanser. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after each application. To gently remove the cleanser, take a second clean cotton ball, saturate it with warm water, and rinse your ear to neutralize the cleanser.
  4. Cleanse your skin daily. For best results, repeat these steps once or twice daily. After about a week, you may start to notice a reduction in the size and number of blackheads in your ears.
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At Home Treatments for Ear Blackheads

Here are a few ways you can get rid of ear blackheads in the comfort of your home:

  • Use a deep cleaning clay mask. For extra cleansing, try a nutrient-rich, deep cleaning clay mask. These masks gently draw out impurities by absorbing excess oil that can cause blackheads.
  • Try a facial cleanser. Facial cleansers often contain salicylic acid and may be used as an alternative to glycolic acid, which can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Salicylic acid is a blackhead’s worst nightmare. It exfoliates inside pores to help loosen clogs and allow the body’s natural oils to flow more freely.
  • Apply witch hazel toner. For ear blackheads, look for a witch hazel toner to cleanse and disinfect the skin around your ears. Witch hazel is a common ingredient in cleansers, toners, and even pore strips due to its powerful disinfecting properties! Apply toner to the skin around your ears to control oil and deep clean your pores.

Professional Treatments to Get Rid of Ear Blackheads

For severe cases of blackheads in your ears, it may be time to call in the professionals. An extraction procedure is relatively simple and non-invasive. A dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon uses a blackhead extractor tool to remove the build-up trapped under your skin in your ear. This is a unique tool designed to remove toxins from the surface of your skin without causing significant damage.

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How to Prevent Ear Blackheads

The best way to prevent future blackheads is to keep your ears clean and free of excess oil. Here are a few tips for keeping your ears squeaky clean and blackhead free:

  • Wash your ears daily with a clean, warm washcloth and mild salicylic cleanser. 
  • If you have long hair and don’t wash it every day, use a dry shampoo to keep oils from transferring into the ears.
  • Keep unwashed hair tied back to prevent excess oil from getting into your ears.
  • Stop touching your ears throughout the day to avoid triggering a breakout.
  • Wash anything and everything that touches your ears (e.g., earbuds, cell phones, fingers, pillowcases, etc.).
  • Only use lotions and sunscreens that are specially formulated not to clog pores.

Extra Tips for Preventing and Getting Rid of Ear Blackheads

To avoid blackheads from forming, or getting worse, follow these tips:

  • Don’t pick at or squeeze the blackheads in your ears, this can lead to inflammation, bleeding, infection, and scarring.
  • Don’t apply acne products more than recommended, this can overdry your skin, lead to an overproduction of oil, and may actually make your acne and blackheads worse.
  • When applying sunscreen or lotion to your ears, use noncomedogenic products. These types of products are specially formulated to avoid clogging pores.

Key Takeaways

  • Blackheads are annoying, but you don’t have to live with them!
  • Clean ears once or twice daily with salicylic acid to loosen clogged pores.
  • Sanitize anything that touches your ears like earbuds, pillowcases, cell phones every few days to avoid a build-up of bacteria, oils, grit, and grime. 
  • Say ‘no!’ to picking and popping blackheads in ears, which can lead to inflammation, bleeding, infection and scarring.
  • If you have severe blackheads in your ears, talk to your dermatologist about prescription medication or professional extractions. 
girl with forehead blackheads

How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Forehead

Blackheads on your forehead are frustrating and annoying, but getting rid of them can be a breeze with the right tips and tricks. Compared to other forms of acne, blackheads are a less inflammatory form known as open comedones.

To quickly remove trapped dirt and oil in the pores on your forehead, use a facial pore strip at home. After using a pore strip, gently rinse your face with lukewarm water, and dab a witch hazel toner on your skin for additional cleansing. To help prevent future blackheads, wash your face twice a day and exfoliate weekly to avoid excess dirt and oil from getting into your pores.

Avoid squeezing and popping your own blackheads! Doing so can irritate your skin and lead to even more breakouts. Instead, make an appointment with a dermatologist or esthetician for professional extractions.

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What Causes Blackheads on Forehead

Your forehead is part of the T-Zone, a part of your face that also includes your nose and chin. Your T-Zone typically produces more oil than the rest of your face, so blackheads are more likely to form in this area. Blackheads on your forehead (and all over your body) are most often caused by dirt, oil, and dead skin cells clogging your pores. Some of the oil on your skin is known as sebum, and is naturally produced by your skin to hydrate and protect itself. 

Some people produce more oil than others. If you have naturally oily skin, you are typically more prone to blackheads. Oily hair and hair product residue can also lead to blackheads by seeping down from your scalp and clogging the pores on your forehead. Unfortunately, constantly washing your face during the day to remove excess oil is not the answer. Washing your face too often can cause your skin to overproduce oil because it thinks that it’s too dry. Avoid washing your skin more than twice a day to prevent overwashing.

On the other hand, if you have dry skin, blackheads on your forehead may be caused by dead skin getting trapped in your pores. In this case, gently exfoliate your skin once a week in addition to cleansing and moisturizing your skin daily.

To review, the primary causes of blackheads on your forehead are:

  • Excess oil naturally produced by your skin
  • Pore-clogging products like sunscreen and makeup
  • Not washing your face after a sweaty workout
  • Residue from hair products like leave-in conditioner and hair serums settling on your forehead
  • Dry, flaky skin clogging your pores


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How to Remove Blackheads on Forehead

Pore strips are a great go-to for removing blackheads because they’re effective and simple to use. While pore strips are most commonly used for blackheads on your nose, larger face pore strips are ideal for blackheads on your forehead.


Manual extractions can be another one of the more immediate ways to remove blackheads, but be careful if you’re trying to do them on your own. DIY extractions without the right tools and techniques can damage your skin and increase the severity of your blackheads. We recommend scheduling an appointment with a skincare professional. 

If your skin is dry, excess dead skin cells can get trapped in your pores. Using a gentle exfoliator is good for removing the buildup of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that can lead to blackheads.  A baking soda acne scrub is an excellent way to add exfoliation to your routine while not over scrubbing. 

Combating Blackheads on Your Forehead

There are many treatments and practices that can help get rid of blackheads and keep dirt and oil under control.  Adding the right products and changes to your skincare routine can help free your skin of blackheads. 

Over-the-Counter Treatments: There are many over-the-counter treatments that will treat blackheads, clean out your pores, and remove excess oil from your skin. Try cleansing your skin twice a day with an acne clearing cleanser with salicylic acid and finish with a witch hazel toner to help shrink the appearance of your pores. When shopping for products to fight blackheads, look for products containing acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid.

Facial Masks: For deep pore cleaning, to target the dirt and oil that can lead to blackheads, use a purifying charcoal mask 2-3 times a week. A facial mask can soothe and condition your skin and helps lift away pore-clogging dirt and oil while also detoxing your skin.

Prescription Medication: If stubborn blackheads aren’t going away with over-the-counter treatments, talk with your doctor about prescription medication. Prescription retinoids help prevent pore plugs from forming and improve skin health by promoting a more rapid turnover of skin cells.

Laser and Light Procedures: These treatments are more effective for inflammatory acne, such as pimples, but can also work for blackheads. Consult with your dermatologist to see if this treatment would be a good fit for your skin. 

Chemical Peels: Many professional facials offer chemical peels as part of their treatment menu and you can also find gentle chemical peels that you can do at home. Chemical peels remove the top layers of skin to reveal smoother skin below.  

Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure offered by skincare professionals that uses a tool to sand away rough, dead skin on your face. It can help with blackheads as well as wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone.  

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How to Help Prevent Blackheads on Your Forehead

Your forehead goes through a lot. From sun exposure to hair product residue to sweaty workouts, it’s no wonder that blackheads are appearing on your forehead. To prevent blackheads, you need to be diligent about your skincare routine. 

For daily care, wash your face twice a day—once in the morning and once at night. After cleansing, apply toner with salicylic acid for an additional blackhead-fighting kick. If you workout, excess sweat and dirt can form on your forehead, so use a cleansing cloth as soon as you can after your workout is complete.


If you have naturally oily hair or if you use a lot of hair products, help prevent blackheads by keeping your hair out of your face. Hair product residue can easily seep down onto your forehead and clog your pores. Help prevent blackheads on your forehead by tying your hair back in a ponytail or keeping your hair off your face with a headband.

It’s also important to prevent excessive dry skin from forming on your forehead, as this build up of dead skin can clog your pores and form blackheads. Fight dryness by moisturizing and using oil-free sunscreen to hydrate your skin and protect it from harmful UV rays from the sun. 

Certain makeup can clog your pores, so choose your products wisely and check the label when shopping. Look for makeup that describes their formulas as non-comedogenic, meaning it’s specifically designed not to clog your pores.  

Lastly, don’t touch your face! You touch a lot of things during the day, so prevent excess dirt and grime from making its way onto your face by avoiding touching your face.

Key Takeaways

  • Blackheads on your forehead are most commonly caused by excess oil, dead skin, makeup, and sweat.
  • If you use a lot of hair products, your forehead blackheads might be caused by product residue.
  • Effective solutions for targeting blackheads on your forehead include facial pore strips, cleansing and toning your skin, and exfoliating.
  • If standard treatments aren’t working for you, try professional treatments like extractions, laser and light therapy, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.
  • Wear non-comedogenic sunscreen and makeup. 
  • Avoid touching your forehead and face.
woman applying lotion

How To Get Rid of Blackheads

You are about to go out for an important event when you notice small black bumps forming around your nose. It is at this moment you likely ask yourself, “What are blackheads and why are they so annoying?”

Blackheads are the result of hair follicles getting clogged. Once these hair follicles are clogged, they tend to turn into small, dark bumps. Blackheads are a form of acne and can develop anywhere on the body, including the face, chest, back, arms, shoulders, and neck.

Blackheads are made up of oxidized corneocytes which is why they are dark in appearance. They are not actually trapped dirt, which many people believe. Blackheads can contain some dirt, but they most often consist of dead skin, oil, and sebum—a material naturally produced by your skin.

People with excessively oily skin are more prone to developing blackheads. But, there’s no need to panic when you spot a blackhead! You simply need to try out some remedies to see which one is most effective at clearing your skin.


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1. Cleanse Your Pores With Salicylic Acid

If you are prone to blackheads, then you should definitely keep some products with salicylic acid around the house. It will be your go-to ingredient any time acne appears. Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid, which removes oil and exfoliates the cells in the top layer of your skin. Look for salicylic acid in a gentle face scrub to effectively exfoliate and cleanse your skin. However, you want to avoid scrubbing too hard because it can damage your skin.

2. Exfoliate Your Skin Weekly

Many people have heard that exfoliation can be bad for acne. While that may be true for inflammatory acne, exfoliation can improve the appearance of blackheads—especially when they’re caused by dead skin cells. There are two types of exfoliation you want to look into: AHAs and BHAs, which are alpha and beta hydroxy acids, respectively. Glycolic acid is a prominent AHA, while salicylic acid is the best BHA. Using these products will not only help make blackheads go away, but can also improve the appearance of age spots and wrinkles.

More than anything, you want to avoid using products that could further irritate your acne. You want to avoid scrubs that contain polyethylene or ground fruit pits because they can scrape against the skin. AHA and BHA are non-physical exfoliant alternatives that promote dead skin sloughing revealing fresh, smooth skin.

3. Use a Retinoid Cream

Another way to clear out clogged pores is with a retinoid cream. Retinoids are highly effective at loosening pore plugs. You can find plenty of retinoids over-the-counter, but for severe cases of blackheads, you may need to get a prescription. Most dermatologists recommend trying an over-the-counter product first to see if it has the right combination of ingredients to help your skin. If you still don’t see any improvement, you should talk to your dermatologist right away about getting stronger medication. Dermatologists know how to treat blackheads best, so you should always follow a professional’s recommendation.

4. Use a Pore Strip

When you are looking to remove blackheads fast, one of your best options will be a pore strip. This is the perfect solution for instantly removing blackheads from your nose because it is a quick and easy treatment. When you pull off a pore strip, it acts like a magnet to remove blackheads from your skin.

Pore strips are effective at getting rid of blackheads quickly, but make sure you follow the instructions on the box! You need to leave the strip on your nose for at least 10 minutes so that the strip has time to bond to your blackheads. When used correctly, pore strips are great for temporarily improving the appearance of your skin.

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5. Moisturize Often

Moisturizing is particularly important if your skin is prone to acne. You can use a moisturizer in tandem with the rest of your skincare routine to keep your skin clear and beautiful. In fact, moisturizers can help when other products fail. For example, some people will find that retinoid cream overly dries out their skin. Moisturizers, especially those that are non-comedogenic, are specially formulated to help your skin retain as much water as possible.

You do need to be mindful of what moisturizer you use. To prevent blackheads, you want to avoid ones that are heavy or cream-based. The reason for this is that the heaviness can actually make your blackheads worse by further clogging the pores. Instead, you want to use a milkier, lighter cream. Moisturizers that include niacinamide are excellent for oily skin types because this ingredient helps regulate oil production.

6. Avoid Cleansers With Benzoyl Peroxide

Another ingredient you want to avoid if you are prone to blackheads is benzoyl peroxide. This is a common ingredient for acne cleansers, but you want to steer clear if you predominantly suffer from blackheads. Benzoyl peroxide is used so often because it is effective at reducing inflammation. However, as mentioned earlier, blackheads are a non-inflammatory form of acne. Therefore, the ingredient will not do you any good.

Benzoyl peroxide is better if you tend to suffer from whiteheads, which are inflamed comedones. An open blocked pore is referred to as a blackhead, but if that pore remains closed, then it is known as a whitehead. They are firm and white or yellow in appearance, and they can become inflamed quite easily. Other skin issues that benzoyl peroxide can help with include cysts, nodules, pustules, and papules.


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7. Use a Facial Mask Every Week

A clay mask can work wonders on your skin. Start by using a mask once a week to see how your skin responds. If you’re loving the results from your mask, you can try using it multiple times a week. You can also use clay masks as a spot treatment for troublesome areas.

Another option is a charcoal mask. Charcoal is known to absorb excess oil and dirt, which can help clear congested pores over time. For both clay and charcoal masks, make sure to cleanse your face and hands before applying. You don’t want oil and bacteria from your hands to transfer onto your skin!

8. Wash Your Face After Working Out

Working out is a great way to work up a sweat. Unfortunately, that sweat can exacerbate acne issues you are currently facing. Sweat can make its way into your pores and work in tandem with oil and dirt to create blackheads. Ideally, you should wash your face after every workout. This will ensure that sweat does not intertwine with dirt and grime to irritate your skin.

When washing your face, you should avoid using hot water on your skin and use lukewarm water instead. After wetting your skin, use a cleanser and then gently pat your skin dry. Once your skin is clean, you can apply toner or facial mist for added benefit. If you’re on the go, pack cleansing cloths in your gym bag for quick and effective cleansing. Washing your face every time you come home from the gym will help your skin for years to come.

9. Avoid Poking, Squeezing or Picking at Your Blackheads

A lot of people are tempted to pick or pop their acne when it appears. That includes blackheads, and while it may be possible to pop them out of place, it is not advised. For starters, blackheads on their own are not damaging to your skin. Rather, taking drastic measures like poking and squeezing your pores, is what causes long term damage. In general, you will end up doing more harm than good by trying to scrape away the blackheads with your fingernails.

10. Remove All of Your Makeup Before Going to Bed

A lot of women get home after a long day and just want to go straight to bed. Before you do that, you should take the time to remove all of the makeup from your face. If you leave makeup on overnight, your skin is less able to breathe, and oil can begin to build up. In other words, a blackhead breakout is imminent.

For quick and easy makeup removal, keep makeup removing wipes on your bedside table. If you’re on the go or too busy, facial wipes are a great alternative to washing your face with cleanser and water. These types of wipes are great at removing your makeup while also cleansing your skin of dirt and grime. Textured makeup-removing wipes are ideal for dissolving heavy makeup or mascara and can give your skin a deep clean, without leaving an oily residue behind.

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Many women unknowingly clog up their pores every day without even realizing it. Your makeup can play a huge role in the prevalence of blackheads on your face. That is why you should only purchase makeup labeled as ‘non-comedogenic.’ This means the makeup contains ingredients that won’t clog your pores.

If you are unsure if makeup is non-comedogenic, then you should look for a number between one and five on the back of the package. Makeup that is rated between zero and two is considered to be non-comedogenic and is good for blackhead-prone skin. Makeup labeled between three and five may irritate sensitive skin.

12. Learn how to Target Blackheads on Specific Areas of your Body

You may look at all the ways to remove blackheads and feel a little overwhelmed. It can take a while to figure out which treatment is best for you. Part of finding the best treatment for your skin involves knowing how to effectively treat blackheads on different parts of your body. Here is some advice to follow for each of the major body parts where blackheads can pop up. 

Blackheads on Your Nose: A pore strip goes directly over the nose. Combined with using a salicylic cleanser to wash your face regularly, you can keep blackheads at bay with this routine. 

Blackheads on Your Cheeks: After exfoliating with a product containing salicylic acid, you can apply a topical product with vitamin A, which contains anti-aging ingredients to create a more even skin texture.

Blackheads in Your Ear: You should clean your ears out often to remove excess dirt and oils. This is easiest to do in the shower, or you can use a soft washcloth to clean out your ears. You should not use cotton swabs. 

Blackheads on Your Chin: You can prepare your chin for blackhead treatment by first steaming your skin. You can cover your head with a towel and then carefully expose it to steam from hot water with tea tree oil. Exfoliation and a diet rich in vitamin C can also help. 

Blackheads on Your Back: You should wash your back every day in the shower with a cleanser or body wash containing salicylic acid. A retinoid-based prescription cream can also help with this area, which is more prone to irritation because it will have clothing over it most of the time. 

Blackheads on Your Chest: Similarly to the back, you want to use a cleanser or body wash with salicylic acid in the shower every day. You should apply this treatment twice a day to keep dead skin cells and bacteria away.

Blackheads in Your Armpit: Armpits are a breeding ground for blackheads due to the excessive presence of sweat and bacteria. To treat blackheads and keep your armpits smelling good,  you can apply geranium essential oil to help maintain balance in this area. 

Blackheads on Your Neck: You should adopt a skincare routine free of oil that you can apply to the neck every day. You can also try face masks and gentle skin peels to remove blackheads without harming the underlying skin. For stubborn blackheads on the neck, you can talk to your dermatologist about a stronger treatment or professional extractions.

13. Talk to Your Doctor About Acne Medication

In the event you have tried all of these steps to no avail, then it is time to talk to your doctor about a stronger regimen. There are many topical medications that your dermatologist can prescribe. Your dermatologist will likely start with either a retinoid drug or antibiotics. Antibiotics are often prescribed because they specifically target bacteria.

You should also talk to your doctor about certain therapies to get blackheads under control. A chemical peel consisting of retinoic acid, glycolic acid or salicylic acid can improve the skin although you will need to get repeat treatments. Some doctors will recommend light-based or photodynamic therapies. This is still a new form of treatment. While further research is necessary, some people have found success with it. 

Steroid injection is another possibility. This is often recommended for cystic and nodular lesions, which are more extreme cases of blackheads. It can result in immediate improvement and decreased discomfort. Finally, your doctor may try a manual extraction of blackheads. Your doctor has access to specialized tools, so it is safer than you trying to squeeze blackheads on your own. 

14. Book an Appointment With Your Dermatologist for Expert Extractions

If you are tired of battling your blackheads, then it is time to talk to your dermatologist. He or she will be able to provide you with an expert extraction or recommend another route to take. With the right combination of products and consistent skincare habits, you can successfully free your pores of blackheads. 

Now that you know how to get rid of blackheads, take the time to revisit some of the most important points so that you can maintain your clear skin. 

Key Takeaways

  • Use a cleanser containing salicylic acid rather than benzoyl peroxide for blackheads.
  • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week, but potentially more depending on your specific skin needs. Use non-skin damaging exfoliates that will effectively but gently exfoliate your skin.
  • Moisturize your skin often with non-comedogenic formulas, especially if you go to the gym or wear makeup.
  • Use pore strips when you need to get rid of blackheads quickly, but implement other steps into your skincare routine for keeping blackheads at bay for the long-term.
  • Avoid scratching or picking at your blackheads at all costs.
  • Talk to your dermatologist if you still do not see any improvement.
woman squeezing acne

What Causes Blackheads?

Blackheads are a common form of acne that can pop up anywhere on your body. If you want to get rid of blackheads, the first step is identifying what is causing your blackheads. In this article, we’ll teach you more about what causes blackheads and also debunk some myths about blackheads.

What Are Blackheads?

Blackheads are hair follicles that are clogged with a mix of dead skin cells and sebum—an oily substance that is naturally secreted by your skin. The main difference between blackheads and whiteheads is that blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne. Erica Palmer, Head of Biore Skincare R&D, tells us that, “blackheads are non-inflammatory acne lesions. When follicles become clogged with dead skin cells or oil, it often results in a blackhead.”

Although blackheads look like they’re full of dirt, their color is actually due to oxidized corneocytes. The clogged material in your pores darkens when it is exposed to oxygen. 

What Causes Blackheads?

Your pores naturally produce some oil to keep your skin moisturized and healthy. Palmer explains that “skin follicles typically contain one hair and a sebaceous gland that produces oil.” Blackheads are caused when these pores get clogged with excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria. Learn more about what could be causing your blackheads from the list below.     

Build up of dirt, oil, and debris. “The primary culprit is actually pore clog accumulation which can be dead skin cells, sebum, and even makeup,” Palmer explains.

Oily skin types are more prone to blackheads. If your skin type is oily, you may notice that your skin gets shiny during the day. Oily skin is more prone to breakouts, so make sure to wash your face with a cleanser with salicylic acid twice a day. You can also prevent excess oil by regularly wiping off your phone if it regularly comes in contact with your face. Lastly, make sure to eat a diet full of good fats and oils—such as avocado and olive oil—and avoid greasy fast food.      

Excessive sweat from exercise, heat, or stress. If you forget to wash your face after a sweaty workout or a stressful day, residue and grime can creep its way into your skin. Although there’s substantial evidence that working out is good for your skin, it can also clog your pores. If you’re strapped for time after a workout, give your face a quick once over with a facial cleansing cloth to clean off excess sweat fast!

Haircare product residue. Although serum and hairspray can help your hair look good, these products can wreak havoc on your skin. Excess hair product can travel from your scalp and hair to your skin and lead to clogged pores. Protect your skin from rogue hair product by keeping your hair out of your face during the day and by washing your hairline and scalp regularly.    

Greasy Hair. In addition to hair products, naturally greasy hair can also clog your pores. If you have greasy hair, make sure to wash it regularly and keep your hair out of your face to avoid acne.   

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Myths About Blackheads

Myth #1: Hormones Cause Blackheads. Contrary to popular belief, hormonal fluctuations don’t actually trigger blackheads. Changes in your hormones, such as right around your period, typically lead to red and inflamed papules (a.k.a. inflammatory acne). 

Myth #2: Squeezing Blackheads Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Them. Resist the urge to self-extract! Squeezing, picking, and popping your blackheads can actually make them worse by damaging your pores and adding more bacteria to your skin.  Palmer says, “that deep down gunk easily lifts out with a pore strip, so no squeezing needs to be involved.”

Myth #3: Overwashing Your Face Removes and Prevents Blackheads. You may think that repeatedly washing your face helps get rid of blackhead-causing material, but it can cause your face to go into oil-production overdrive. Palmer warns us that “over-cleansing can strip your skin of moisture and irritate your skin. Keep cleansing to twice a day.” 

Myth #4: Deep Exfoliation Gets Rids of Blackheads. Same with overwashing, many people think excessive exfoliation gets rid of blackheads. Although gentle exfoliation can help get rid of dry skin, which can clog your pores. Palmer says, “excessively scrubbing your face will not get rid of blackheads, it will only irritate your skin.”


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Top Tips for Preventing Blackheads

When trying to get rid of blackheads, it’s key to find the right balance of oil on your skin so that your skin stays moisturized without clogging your pores. Use these tips below to help prevent blackheads and learn more about how to get rid of blackheads. 

  1. Use a pore strip for effective blackhead removal. Pore strips safely lift out deep down dirt, oil, and buildup to instantly unclog pores.    
  2. Use products with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). This type of acid gently exfoliates your skin and helps clear your pores. Make salicylic acid a part of your daily routine by using an acne clearing cleanser
  3. Tighten pores and cleanse skin with toner. Witch hazel toner deep cleans your skin while also helping to refine and tighten pores. Many toners also contain salicylic acid to help prevent acne and blackheads. 
  4. Exfoliate with gentle grains like baking soda or rice powder. Use a gentle exfoliant to keep skin clear of dirt and dead skin. Start by exfoliating weekly and increase if needed.
  5. Detoxify with a weekly mask. Clay masks help open pores and draw out impurities. Treat your skin to a mask once a week to purify skin and remove dirt and oil build-up which causes blackheads.
blackheads on cheeks

Causes of Blackheads on Cheeks

Think about your cheeks for a second. When you talk on the phone, does your phone touch your face? When you’re bored in class or at work, do you ever rest your head (more specifically your cheek) on your hand? Due to their location on your face, cheeks gather lots of dirt and debris—making them a top spot for blackheads to pop up.


Blackheads are different from other forms of acne because they are clogged hair follicles filled with dead skin cells and oil. Learn more about blackheads in the next section and use this guide to learn more about what causes blackheads on your cheeks, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from coming back.

blackheads on cheeks

©shironosov via

What are Blackheads?

Blackheads are clogged hair follicles that are congested with a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum—an oily substance that is secreted by your skin for hydration and protection. A blackhead is medically known as an open comedo because the pore opening is not sealed (as opposed to a whitehead, or closed comedo, where the pore opening is obstructed). Blackheads can appear anywhere on your body (wherever you have hair follicles), but they are most noticeable on your face.


Open comedones are more commonly known as blackheads because they often look like a small dark spot on your skin. Blackheads differ from other types of acne because they are noninflammatory and not full of pus, like pimples.

What Causes Blackheads on Cheeks?

When blackheads form on our cheeks, Erica Palmer, head of Bioré Skincare R&D, explains that “the opening of the follicle (or pore) is blocked and dead skin cells or keratinocytes that are normally shed are collected in what now becomes a little container for them.”  This container, which is full of dead skin cells and other debris, is known as an open comedo. “When the material in an open comedo is exposed to air, it becomes oxidized and turns black, thus creating blackheads,” adds Palmer.

Palmer notes that “The cheeks and nose, chin and glabella (the area between the brows) have larger, more productive pores,” which means that blackheads are more likely to form on these areas. The cheeks are a part of your face known as the ‘U-Zone’, which includes the area around your cheeks, jawline, and chin. This zone is slightly different from the more well known, ‘T-Zone’, which is made up of your forehead, nose, and chin. The U-Zone is typically drier and less oily than the T-Zone, so blackheads in this area are most often caused by dry skin instead of excess oil. 

Since cheeks have a tendency to collect blackhead-causing material, blackheads can sometimes appear in groups. Palmer tells us not to worry about multiple blackheads as they are not a more severe form of blackheads and are “simply adjacent (clustered) pores that became clogged.”

Now that we know how blackheads are caused, let’s look into what specific factors can contribute to blackheads. 

Primary Causes of Blackheads on Cheeks

Touching Your Face in Excess: Your hands can come into contact with millions of germs throughout the day. Avoid touching your face to prevent blackhead-causing material from making its way onto your skin. In addition to your hands, your hair can also contribute to excess dirt and oil on your skin, so tie your hair back to keep it out of your face.   

Dirt and Oil on Your Phone: Our phones are dirty and can be covered with makeup, leftover food, and environmental debris—and yet we’re touching our face with it every single day! Wipe down your phone with an alcohol pad to prevent dirt and oil from making its way onto your face. 

Consuming Alcohol: Alcohol dries out our skin and can lead to an excess of dry skin cells on your face. Flaky, dry skin can get into your pores and cause blackheads. 

Smoking: A clinical study conducted by the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute found a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and acne (more specifically non-inflammatory acne, like blackheads). In their study, researchers found that smoking increases the body’s production of sebum while also reducing its production of vitamin E, an important nutrient for your skin. 

Makeup and Sunscreen: Depending on your makeup routine, you might put foundation, concealer, sunscreen, blush, highlighter, and bronzer on your cheeks. To prevent blackheads, choose non-comedogenic makeup (makeup designed not to clog your pores) and wash off all your makeup before going to bed.  

Not Washing Your Pillowcase as Often as You Should: While you sleep, excess oils, dirt, and leftover products from your skin and hair can seep into your pillowcase and lead to future breakouts. Prevent breakouts while you sleep by washing your pillowcase weekly.

blackheads on cheek

©ThamKC via

How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Cheeks

A combination of regular cleansing and toning with salicylic acid, combined with gentle exfoliation can help you find relief for blackheads. Healthy lifestyle choices can also make a big difference in your skin’s condition.


Wash your face regularly: Ideally, cleanse your face in the morning and evening with a face wash that has salicylic acid to help treat and prevent blackheads. In regards to heat, it’s actually a myth that pores open and close. The truth: despite what your mother told you, you can’t steam your pores open. “Pores do not have muscles around their opening to allow them to open and close,” says Palmer. However, steaming the skin can help loosen up underlying debris, making blackheads easier to extract.

Use a toner: Follow cleansing, use a witch hazel toner to tighten pores and remove any leftover dirt and oil. 

Exfoliate: Exfoliate your skin weekly with a gentle scrub to help keep pores clean. This will remove the outer layer of skin cells and help get rid of dead skin that may be contributing to blackheads on your cheeks. Palmer recommends to “look for products containing spherical, effective exfoliants which smooth skin without damaging or tearing. Salicylic acid and even some retinoids can help with skin cell turnover helping to minimize pore clogs.”

Professional Blackhead Treatments

Facials: During medical facials, a skincare expert uses professional techniques to cleanse, extract, and moisturize your skin. These kinds of facials often use steam to remove blackheads and whiteheads without inflaming other parts of your skin.  

Light Chemical Peels: Dermatologists and estheticians often offer chemical peels as part of a facial but you can also find budget-friendly chemical peels for at-home use. To unclog pores, look for light peels containing salicylic acid and lactic acid. Peels make your skin more vulnerable to UV damage, so make sure to wear sunscreen with a higher SPF for the week following your peel.

Professional Extractions: For extractions, we always recommend visiting a professional dermatologist or esthetician. When you go to a professional, they will use special tools and techniques to remove blackheads. They know how to do it, and we should let them!  If you choose to get your blackheads extracted, keep your pores clean by cleansing daily and following with a toner. However, if seeing a professional is not an option, the safest and quickest way to remove blackheads on your cheeks is with a pore strip. 

If you absolutely can’t resist doing your own pore extractions, make sure you take a long shower to soften your skin and the comedone. Protect your skin from damage by covering your fingernails with a piece of cloth before extracting your own blackheads. If the comedone does not come out easily, do NOT keep attacking it! Blackheads can easily become pimples when the keratin material is pushed through the lining of the follicle. 

woman washing face

©martinmarksoerensen via

How to Prevent Cheek Blackheads

“The same ways that we maintain our health in other areas are also smart for maintaining our skin, do avoid smoking, do avoid going out in the sun without UV protection and make healthier food choices,” says Palmer.

Preventing blackheads requires daily maintenance and finding the right products for your skin. For a deeper clean, try a charcoal face wash because it helps draw out excess dirt and oil that causes blackheads to begin with. Then, follow up with a witch hazel toner to tighten pores. We hope these tips from our Bioré R&D team help you keep your pores free from blackheads and put your best face forward. 

Key Takeaways

  • Blackheads are clogged pores, or hair follicles, that can be congested with a mixture of dead skin cells, debris, and an oily substance known as sebum. 
  • Many people touch their face with their hands or phone so cheeks can be a top spot for blackheads. Dry skin on your cheeks can also clog your pores and lead to blackheads.
  • Using the wrong makeup and sunscreen can clog pores and contribute to blackheads. Make sure to wear non-comedogenic (or non-pore clogging) products to prevent blackheads. 
  • Alcohol, smoking, and a poor diet can make blackheads worse by drying out your skin and increasing the production of sebum. 
  • Help prevent blackheads with a combination of cleansing and toning in the morning and at night as well as weekly exfoliation and regular facials. 
  • For deeper removal, dermatologists and estheticians can perform professional extractions to remove blackheads from your skin. However, if seeing a professional is not an option, the only other way to instantly remove blackheads is with a pore strip. 

How to get rid of blackheads on your nose for good!

The medical term for blackheads on the nose is open comedones. Blackheads can happen anywhere, but when they appear on your nose, they present a unique set of challenges in care and prevention. Blackheads have similar causes regardless of where they appear on your body, but they can be more noticeable when they show up on your nose.

blackheads on nose close up
Your nose is one of the first things that other people see, so let’s help you put your best nose forward by learning about what causes blackheads and how to address them.

Why You Have Blackheads on Your Nose

Blackheads on your nose are caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria in your skin’s pores. Due to the increased number of oil glands on the nose, this is the most common area for blackheads.

Blackheads vs healthy pore
Blackheads are actually clogged hair follicles and “When these are exposed to the air, they turn black,” says Erica Palmer, head of Bioré Skincare R&D. “As we age the skin’s sebum production increases which is why you still get blackheads at a later age. Blackheads are not a result of dirt or insufficient cleansing of the skin,” says Palmer.

Now that we know why blackheads often appear on your nose, it’s important to figure out how to get rid of them before they get worse.

How to Get Rid of Blackheads on the Nose

The best way to get rid of blackheads is to follow a consistent skincare routine that combines a variety of effective acne-fighting products. Ideally, you are using products that  1.) remove existing blackheads and 2.) help maintain clean pores.


Step 1: Remove existing blackheads with Pore Strips.

Pore strips act like a magnet to instantly lift out deep down dirt and oil and with continued use, will help reduce the appearance of your pores.

1: To use, remove the strip from its pouch and peel the strip off plastic. To help remove the nose strip from the plastic, give it a twist!2: Apply to nose, smooth side down. You need to make sure your nose is wet or the pore strip won’t stick and it can’t do its job3: After you let it dry for about 10-15 minutes, you can slowly pull it off, starting from the edges. For best results, use weekly.
twist nose stripwoman applying nose strip

Step 2: Daily maintenance to treat and help prevent breakouts.

Cleanse: Not all cleansers are made the same. It is important to find one that deep cleans those pesky pores. Charcoal acne cleansers deliver a deep clean and are perfect for skin that is prone to breakouts. Formulas containing salicylic acid also add an additional acne-fighting punch.

Toner: After you thoroughly wash your face with your cleanser of choice, it’s important to remove any residue that may have been left behind. This is where witch hazel toner can really make a difference. Witch hazel toners balance skin and tighten pores–an essential step after cleansing.

Step 3: Weekly maintenance with scrubs and face masks.

Use an acne scrub 2-3x per week to smooth rough skin and to help unclog pores. Products with polishing microcrystals can provide additional exfoliation and deep cleaning without irritation or stripping the skin of moisture.

Self-heating masks loosen and clear away pore clogs while conditioning skin. Incorporate a face mask into your skin care regimen 2-3x per week.

biore self heating one minute mask

Now, let’s bring in the experts for additional skincare tips on how to get rid of blackheads on your nose.

Expert Tips to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose

Removing blackheads on your nose can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. We spoke to the experts and here are some additional tips from our trusted skin care experts at Bioré.

  • Always wash off your makeup before going to bed (no excuses!). “Makeup can cause clogging of the pore and blackheads,” says Palmer. If you’re too tired for a full skincare routine at night, keep makeup removing face wipes next to your bed.
  • Although staying active is healthy for your skin, excess sweat increases the chance that your pores will become clogged. To help prevent blackheads, wash your face as soon as you can after your workout. “For ladies who brunch right after their workouts, I always recommend gentle face wipes to hold them over until they can hit the shower. You can wipe the sweat and oil off your face, chest and back to help prevent acne.  For more serious cases, a prescription strength antibacterial wipe can be helpful to keep in your gym bag for post-workout cleansing,” says Erica
  • Erica Palmer suggests adding acne-fighting acids to your skincare routine. She tells us that “acids can be helpful in getting rid of nose blackheads over time. This can be done via a salicylic acid cleanser or a facial toner with salicylic acid for dual benefits of the acid as well as the pore tightening from the toner.”

Now that we know how to help prevent blackheads from showing up on our noses, let’s get to the good stuff, removing blackheads.

How to Remove Blackheads from Nose

While it’s tempting to poke and prod your nose to remove blackheads, this can often end up making blackheads worse in the long run. Here are some better (and safer!) options for removing blackheads on your nose without causing excess damage.

Option 1: Expert extraction

“Do see a dermatologist and get facials by a licensed esthetician. Do not try to pick or dig at your blackheads,   If you must pick your own, do so after a long warm shower, so that the skin and blackheads are softened and extract easily, with minimal harm to the skin,” says Palmer.

Option 2: Manual Extraction

Manual extractions are risky and should only be done by a licensed esthetician or board-certified dermatologist. Improper extractions can lead to scarring. Even pressure must be applied around the clogged pore to avoid scarring and sterile instruments should be used to prevent infection. This can be very helpful on a 2-3 monthly schedule with a good, expert esthetician.

Option 3: Pore Strips

Pore strips work great on blackheads and blocked pores as an adjunct to your skin care routine,” says Palmer.  According to Palmer, these strips can help remove dirt and residue buildup before they clog pores. Pore strips are most effective when they are used right after the skin has been exposed to moisture, just after a shower, or after the skin has been exposed to steam.

This helps the pores to slightly open and the plug is looser in the pores, allowing for easier removal.
“Pore strips are most effective when they are used right after the skin has been exposed to moisture, just after a shower, or after the skin has been exposed to steam.”

How to Prevent Blackheads on Your Nose

After you put in all that hard work to remove your blackheads, it’s important to know how to help prevent them from making a comeback on your face. Add these tips to your skincare routine to help prevent blackheads on your nose.

  1. Wash your face twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Be careful not to overwash your face as it can strip your face of its natural oils. Overwashing can start a chain reaction in your skin that causes it to produce even more oil to overcompensate for dry skin.

biore baking soda foam cleanser

  1. Use oil-free lotion and sunscreen. Because excess oil is one of the causes of blackheads, make sure to buy oil-free products. This will ensure that your skin is protected and hydrated without adding extra oil to your skin.
  2. Use non-comedogenic makeup. Did you know that the same makeup you reach for to cover up your acne can actually lead to more breakouts? Non-comedogenic makeup is skin-friendly makeup that is specifically designed to not clog your pores.
  3. Wash your pillowcases once a week. Pore-clogging oil and bacteria can live on your pillowcase and contribute to breakouts while you’re sleeping. Wash your pillowcases once a week to prevent dirt and oil buildup.
  4. Avoid touching your face. During the day, your hands come in contact with millions of nasty bacteria. If you have a bad habit of touching your face, this bacteria can get into your pores and contribute to blackheads. Also, be wary of anything that touches your face, like your cellphone or glasses. Regularly clean these to prevent excess dirt from making its way into your pores.

Use these steps to remove blackheads on your nose and help prevent future breakouts from forming. Review the top tips below and check out our other skincare resources to learn even more.

Key Takeaways

  1. Blackheads on your nose are most often caused by excess oil and dirt on your face, which leads to clogged pores.
  2. The best way to get rid of blackheads is to follow a consistent skincare routine that combines a variety of powerful acne-fighting products.
  3. Effective ways to get rid of blackheads is to remove existing blackheads with a pore strip, treat and help prevent blackheads with a daily cleanser with salicylic acid, followed by a toner. Using gentle scrubs and masks weekly will also help exfoliate your skin.
  4. If you live a very active and busy lifestyle, carry face wipes with you to clean your face and help prevent breakouts on the go.
  5. Don’t try to do pore extractions on your own. Schedule an appointment with a professional for best results.
  6. Ultimately, fighting blackheads on your nose involves keeping the area clear and cleansed via lifestyle and skincare remedies.

What are Blackheads? Causes, Treatments, and Prevention Tips

Blackheads are pesky, clogged pores that often show up on your face and are typically most noticeable on your nose. While they might not be as inflamed as other types of acne, blackheads are just as annoying. It’s tempting to squeeze and pop your blackheads, but doing so tends to make things worse. We turned to our skin care expert Erica Palmer, head of Bioré Skincare R&D, to learn more about blackheads and how to get rid of them for good.

What are Blackheads?

A blackhead, medically-known as an open comedone, is a hair follicle or pore that’s clogged with a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum–an oily substance naturally secreted by your skin.


“Blackheads are non-inflammatory acne lesions. When follicles become clogged with dead skin cells or oil, a blackhead is the result,” says Erica Palmer, Head of Bioré Skincare R&D.

Blackheads can occur when sebum produced by your pores is exposed to oxygen. Sebum darkens during the oxidation process and creates a dark spot on your skin, hence the name ‘blackhead.’“Blackheads appear when hair follicles become clogged with dirt or oil”

“Blackheads appear when hair follicles become clogged with dirt or oil”Blackheads appear when hair follicles become clogged with dirt or oil. Although blackheads are often most noticeable on your nose, they can appear all over your body. So, now that you know what blackheads are, how do you get rid of them?

Blackheads vs. Other Acne Types

Acne and blackheads are a specific mild-acne type. Blackheads show up on your face, primarily where there is a higher concentration of oil glands. This includes the forehead, nose, and chin. They can also appear on your neck, back and chest areas. Unfortunately, blackheads can show up just about anywhere! So, what are some acne-types to look out for?

types of acne pimples

Whiteheads vs. Blackheads

According to Palmer, “A blackhead is a plug of dead skin cells and sebum that is discolored. It is also known as a comedone (actual name). A whitehead is a closed comedone. A blocked pore that stays open is a blackhead, while a pore that closes up is called a whitehead.” Another distinction is that blackheads are less irritated, while whiteheads can be in an irritated flared state. The irritation is associated with the infected state of the whitehead clogged pore due to the proliferation of acne bacteria. Blackheads are less irritated and almost dormant.

Sebaceous Filaments vs. Blackheads

According to Palmer, “Both sebaceous filaments and blackheads are actually types of pore clogs, but they are distinct in that sebaceous filaments are normally the color of your skin or have a grayish tint and are usually found in a bunch, while blackheads appear here and there.”

Blackheads vs. Clogged Pores

Unfortunately, those with oily skin tend to suffer more from these acne-types. Oily skin is more prone to experience blocked pores, which causes bacteria to thrive; leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and papules all known as types of acne.

What Causes Blackheads?

Blackheads are caused when sebum secreting pores in the skin are blocked. Palmer explains, “Skin follicles typically contain one hair and a sebaceous gland that produces oil.” It might sound (gross?) counterintuitive, but this oil helps keep your skin soft and hydrated so it’s definitely a good oil to have!

biore deep pore cleansing charcoal pore strips

But where does it all go wrong? From dirty phones to an intense spin class, your lifestyle and genetics can easily affect your skin. If your skin is acting up, take a look at this list to see if any of these factors are at the root of your skin problems:

Dirt, oil, and debris build up. “The primary culprit is actually pore clog accumulation which can be dead skin cells, sebum and even makeup,” Palmer explains.

Excessive sweating from exercise, heat, or stress can cause pores to go into overdrive. Specifically, for those that sweat and workout if they tend to under-cleanse their skin after working out, then residue and skin grime can back up in pores. There is evidence that supports sweating while working out is good for the skin, helping to purge pores and boost sluggish skin metabolism.

If you’re strapped for time after a workout, give your face a quick once over with a charcoal micellar water to clean off excess sweat and grime fast!“Pro tip: don’t forget to wipe off your phone, which accumulates dirt and oil, since it is often in contact with your face.”

Haircare products can also interact with facial skin and lead to clogged pores. Prevent hair products from messing with your skin by keeping hair off your face during the day and by cleaning your hairline while washing your face at night.

Oily skin types tend to be more prone to blackheads. If you know you have an oily skin type, avoid touching your face with your hands. Pro tip: don’t forget to wipe off your phone, which accumulates dirt, oil, and bacteria, as it is often in contact with your face. Finally, a diet focused on good fats and oils, while minimizing bad oils, can also help.

Contrary to popular belief, hormonal fluctuations don’t actually trigger blackheads. Instead, hormonal induced acne breakouts are classified as inflammatory lesions, whereas a blackhead is a non-inflammatory lesion. Now that you know what really causes blackheads, it’s time to say goodbye to those pesky clogged pores!

biore charcoal cleanser ad

How to Get Rid of Blackheads

Getting rid of pesky blackheads is never fun, but it’s important to know the right way to do it. Here are a few myths and tips that our Bioré skincare experts want you to know about blackhead remedies and common misconceptions that do more harm than good:

Expert tips on getting rid of blackheads

  • Resist the urge to self-extract! DIY hardly works in this scenario. Palmer explains, “That deep down gunk easily lifts out with a pore strip, so there’s no squeezing involved.”
  • Don’t overdo it with your face-washing regimen. Palmer warns, “Over cleansing will strip your skin of moisture and irritate your skin. Keep it to twice-a-day.”
  • Be gentle on your skin! Palmer cautions, “Excessively scrubbing your face will not get rid of blackheads since blackheads are normally deep-rooted.”
  • Use pore strips as a first step for getting rid of blackheads. Pore strips work like a magnet by connecting to pore plugs and lifting out blackheads. Afterward, you’ll want to follow up with face wash and toner.

Whether you have blackheads on your nose or if they’re more prominent on your forehead, chin, or cheeks, these tips will help clean those pesky pores. But what’s really going on in your skin? Let’s take a deeper look at blackheads and how they’re different from other types of acne.


Blackhead Treatments

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and cleansers

These types of treatments are available without a prescription. OTC treatments come in numerous forms such as creams, gels, pads, and serums. Top treatments created to kill acne-causing bacteria and often contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol.

Prescription medications

Doctors may suggest prescription medication when OTC products don’t work. Medications that contain vitamin A, AHAs, BHAs, and retinoids work to prevent pore plugs from forming in hair follicles and promote more rapid turnover of skin cells.

Professional blackhead removal

Dermatologists and estheticians can perform pore extractions to remove blackheads. They can also provide helpful tips and treatments to prevent clogged pores in the future.

Laser and light therapy

This treatment consists of tiny beams of light that decrease oil production and kill bacteria. Laser and light treatments reach below the skin’s surface to treat blackheads and acne without damaging the top layers of the skin.

“Top treatments created to kill acne-causing bacteria and often contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol”This treatment works best for inflammatory acne conditions and is typically not necessary for blackhead treatments so consult with your dermatologist to see if it would be a good option for you.


Chemical Peels

In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. Over time, the top layers of the skin will peel off to reveal smoother, rejuvenated skin. While this treatment can be used for blackheads, it’s typically more effective for skin texture improvement.


This is a minimally abrasive treatment performed by dermatologists or skincare professionals with either microparticles or a diamond-tipped wand that buffs and polishes the superficial layer of dry dead skin cells, exposing softer, fresher skin. Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimizer contains Alumina, a known micro-crystal exfoliant, that delivers immediate skin smoothing, texture refining and pore unclogging benefits after one application/use.

Pore Strips

Pore strips instantly lift dirt and oil from your pores and are a better option than trying to remove blackheads by squeezing them with your fingers. When used weekly, pore strips can result in fewer clogged pores and improve the appearance of pores with continued use.

biore charcoal pore strips ad


How to Prevent Blackheads

Preventing blackheads are as simple as maintaining a clear skin regimen. Follow these essential tips to prevent future blackhead breakouts:

Book a facial: Medical facials (performed by a dermatologist) or spa facials (performed by an aesthetician) are effective for a wide range of skin ailments. This treatment is especially helpful for blackheads because they often involve a combination of steam, high-quality products, and professional extractions.

Assess your products: Products with salicylic acid or glycolic acid are helpful for getting rid of blackheads. Palmer tells us that salicylic acid in particular, “helps to break up and clean pore clogs, helping to promote skin cell turnover or shedding. It is an effective Acne Active Ingredient which treats and prevents acne breakouts.”

Add retinol to your bedtime routine: Using serums with retinol at bedtime also help with blackheads. Just remember to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning.

Try a gentle facial peel to reset your skin: “Light peels will also provide some pore unclogging benefits but the primary function of this treatment is to resurface skin texture for those with roughened skin often due to acne mark remnants,” recommends Palmer.

Use a sonic cleansing brush for deep cleaning: Sonic brushes penetrate deep into your skin to clean pores and prevent future blackheads.

Exfoliate (but be gentle!): Pick an exfoliator with gentle grains like baking soda or rice powder. Try using a baking soda cleansing scrub because it’s perfect for deep cleaning pores and then it dissolves into water so that there’s no chance of over-exfoliating. A washcloth with a uniform texture, like a baby washcloth, can also be used daily for additional exfoliation.

Detoxify with a weekly mask: Use A charcoal face mask or a clay mask with tea tree oil to help with blackhead- causing oil. Tea tree oil disinfects your skin while the clay mask helps draw out dirt and grime.

biore self heating one minute mask

Now that you know how to prevent blackheads, next we will give you some targeted treatments that can help as well.

8 Tips from Dermatologists to Prevent Blackheads

  1. Avoid self-extracting your blackheads. Bacteria and oil on your fingers can leave your skin inflamed and open to infection, which can lead to acne scarring and worsen your acne in the long run.
  2. Avoid over-washing your face. When you over-wash, your body replenishes the stripped oils by overproducing sebum, which often makes blackheads worse.
  3. Gently exfoliate your skin weekly to keep pores clean. Palmer explains, “This will remove the upper layer of skin cells, resulting in a brighter complexion and help prevent blackheads.”
  4. Avoid wearing a lot of makeup. If you do, only use non-comedogenic makeup.
  5. Use a self heating mask. They help melt and loosen impacted pore clogs, remove the buildup of dead skin cells from your face.
  6. Wash your face twice a day. First when you wake up and again before you go to bed. This regimen helps remove oil build up from the day and night. Washing more than two times a day can irritate your skin and strip your face of its natural oils, causing an overproduction of oils, which leads to blackheads and clogged pores.
  7. If you have oily skin, add witch hazel toner to your skincare routine to minimize pores and dry up excess oil. This toner should be applied after cleansing and before moisturizing.
  8. Use oil-free lotions and sunscreen. Any products that contain oil can cause blackheads, so opt for non-comedogenic makeup, lotions, and sunscreen.

Now that you know some of the best targeted treatments for blackheads, let’s revisit some of the key takeaways about blackheads, what causes them, and how to prevent them!

Key Takeaways

  • A blackhead is a hair follicle (known as a pore) that is clogged with a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum.
  • Blackheads are non-inflammatory and more dormant compared to other types of acne.
  • Product buildup, grimy phones, and excess sweat can clog pores and lead to blackheads.
  • A skincare routine that combines pore strips, a gentle exfoliant, and toner can help improve and help prevent blackheads.
  • Depending on the severity of your acne, over the counter treatments and prescription medications can help clean skin and kill acne-causing bacteria.
  • Products with salicylic acid or glycolic acid are great for destroying acne-causing bacteria. Retinol, gentle exfoliation and clay masks can also clean and detoxify skin.
  • Even if you’re frustrated, be gentle on your skin and avoid over-washing it.
  • Visit your dermatologist or esthetician for professional treatments like extractions, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion for additional relief.

Pore Strips 101: Do Pore Strips Really Work?

We all know that pore strips are super satisfying to use, but do they actually work? If you’ve ever wondered how pore strips work or if they’re safe for your skin, we spoke with a couple of skincare experts to get the truth.

Do pore strips really work?


“Yes, a pore strip can remove up to one week of dirt, oil, and build up in minutes,” says Dr. Michelle Henry, who studied Dermatology at Harvard. Since all acne begins with a clogged pore, any efforts to treat clogged pores in the early stages can really help acne lesions from getting worse.

“Pore strips are great for blackheads and blocked pores as an adjunct to your skincare routine,” says Erica Palmer, head of Bioré Skincare R&D. They work best when they are used right after your skin has been exposed to moisture, just after a shower or after the skin has been exposed to steam are both perfect times. Moisture helps pores slightly open, loosening the plugs and allowing for easier removal.

“But there are some common misconceptions about what pore strips cannot do. For example, they should not be used to remove whiteheads which are closed comedones, and they cannot treat actively inflamed or cystic acne,” says Erica Palmer, head of Bioré Skincare R&D. “Similarly, skin that is inflamed from burns or other irritant causes, should not be treated using pore strips,” says Erica Palmer.

How do pore strips work?

It’s important to note that not all pore strips are created equally. Most pore strips are coated with an adhesive material and work by attaching to the pore plug and surrounding skin.

pore strips removing blackheads

Close up of blackhead removal via YouTube user KeanaTankentai

When the nose strip is removed, the top layer of skin can come off with the extracted dirt and oil. “Bioré pore strips work through c-bond technology rather than adhesives, safely removing dirt, oil, and blackheads.” says Dr. Henry. This c-bond technology works like a magnet to connect to pore plugs, lifting out deep-down grime, oil, and blackheads from even the most clogged pores. Either way, seeing all that gunk removed after an application is surprisingly satisfying!

Are pore strips Good for Skin?


Absolutely! “Pore strips are perfect for unclogging pores which minimize the appearance of pores and improves skin texture,” says Erica Palmer.  When you keep your pores free of plugs they are less likely to become inflamed or turn into active acne.  “Just one use will powerfully remove deep down dirt, debris, and oil,” says dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. “After one use, your pores will appear smaller and with regular use, they will reduce in size,” says Dr. Henry.

Like we mentioned before, most pore strips are made with a general adhesion formula which isn’t good for your skin. “Pore strips made with cationic bonds, act as a magnet to safely remove dirt, oil, and blackheads. Therefore, they do not cause damage,” explains Dr. Henry. For the sake of your skin, use nose strips with c-bond technology rather than adhesives and be sure to follow the directions on the box.

Are pore strips bad for you?

Of course, like with any product, pore strips are not an ideal choice for everyone. If you have skin sensitivities, it’s best to consult your doctor before using pore strips. “Using pore strips on sunburns is not recommended since this could lead to further irritation, as the skin is fragile in a sunburned state,”  says Erica Palmer. If you are using medications like a retinoid, may make your skin susceptible to irritation. Pore strips are definitely a perfect option to unclog your pores, but if you have questions about certain medications a visit to your local dermatologist is recommended.

How to use Bioré pore strips

step 1 how to use pore strip

Step 1: Before you begin, make sure your face is totally clean. 

Start with a fresh, clean face and then dampen your nose with a bit of water. This ensures the nose strip will stay in contact with the skin.


twist pore strip

Step 2: Take out an individual packet of nose strips.

Peel the strip away from its protective layer and twist.


apply pore strip

Step 3: Apply the strip to your nose, with the sticky part down.

Apply the nose strip. and press well so that it grips and stays in place. Don’t forget to press the strip into the corners of the nose!


leave pore strip on

Step 4: Leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes.

What better time to check your friends’stories or watch a skincare routine (or 4) on IG while you’re waiting.


remove pore strip

Step 5: Remove the strip carefully. 

Your nose will be pretty dry so it may be sensitive as you remove the strip. Take the corners first and peel slowly. Wow! Now look at all of the gunk you removed!



    • Pore strips are a great way to remove dirt and oil from your pores, specifically blackheads.
    • However, they should not be used to remove whiteheads and they cannot treat cystic acne.
    • Pore strips that are made with cationic bonds rather than a general adhesive formula are safe to use and good for your skin.
    • If you are using medications like retinoid, have a sunburn, or have sensitive skin, you will be more susceptible to irritation when using pore strips.
    • Use pore strips once a week as part of your greater skincare routine.