Oct 18, 2010

Blackheads??? Email Q & A

Woohoo....my very first email question! Thanks Stephanie for sending this my way!!!

Hey Christina
I've been reading your blog for a bit now and am really liking it. Question, though, about blackheads.  Can you actually prevent blackheads and do products like Biore Pore Strips really work?

-Stephanie M., Vancouver

Hey Stephanie!!
This is a really really really good question because a lot of people suffer from blackheads. For those that don't have them (you lucky people you) blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne and are formed when your pores get clogged. (A lot of dermatologists say that blackheads are the first stage of acne, forming before bacteria invades the pores, which in turn results in infection and inflammation...AKA a pimple.) Blackheads occur when your skin produces an abundance of oil and that oil gets clogged in your pores. When the oil is oxidized, it turns black in color.
Blackhead prevention is similar to that of pimple/blemish prevention. Drink lots of water, clean your skin every night prior to bed, try to wear less make-up, don't scrub your face too often and don't use products with excess oil. Let's say, though, that you do all of these things and you're still getting blackheads. This is when you have to take different, more drastic, measures like extraction or pore strips.
Pore strips are nice because they are inexpensive and don't cause too much discomfort. Biore's brand is a really great deal, easy to find and fairly easy to use. Problem is they will not work on everyone. Some people's blackheads are far deeper in the pore than others SO the strips may pull out some but not all. Extractions (physically removing the blackhead yourself) are the only way to remove the blackhead if it is deep down in the pore.
Extractions are pretty painful (I'm not going to lie) since you have to get the gunk out of a small pore. BUT once it's done, you have a clean pore again. If you are going to do an extraction follow these tips...
1. Steam, ladies, steam. I can't stress this enough. Take a steam-filled shower, hold your head over a bowl of hot water, or lay a towel over your face for 10 minutes. It'e extremely important to open the pore and loosen the blackhead before poking at it.
2. Choose the method that's best for you and your skin. Whether it's rubbing a towel on your face to remove them, using an orange stick or a flat blackhead remover tool, or taking two cotton balls (one for each finger) and press the skin GENTLY around the blackhead, choose the one that's going to cause the least amount of discomfort.
After you're finished extracting, leave the skin alone. Rinse in cool water to close the pore and wait before applying anything else to the skin as you don't want to re-clog the pores. Here is a great article for home-made blackhead remedies... http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Blackheads-(Various-Methods)

**NOTE: I used to get extractions done with my facials though a lot of places no longer offer this service anymore. If this is something of interest to you, I'd recommend finding a spa that offers this method and have them do it. Because I'm so fair, my skin becomes red and scars very easily so I found it best for me to have a professional perform the extractions.

What have you all tried? Anything that has worked exceptionally well?


Thanks for the love!...XO Christina

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