Most of us struggle with blackheads. You remove them. They come back a few days later. You remove them again, and somehow they come back again. It seems like blackheads are the most resilient thing on earth. No matter how persistent you are in removing them, blackheads always win the fight. The struggle is real!
The reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If we just understand how a blackhead works, and what the correct way is to remove them.
You’ll need 3 items for this process to work:
1.) Your facial steamer
2.) A facial mask – we recommend Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
3.) A good moisturizer. Our choice is CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Most people just treat the symptoms of a blackhead, which is why they keep coming back. In order to remove a blackhead, you have to remove it entirely.
Blackheads are like icebergs. You only see the tip. And that is what people remove – just the tip.
Do you use one of these blackhead removal tools?
These tools are useless!
By utilizing a facial steamer, and a few other products, you can not only remove blackheads permanently, but also prevent them entirely.
In order to do this, we need to understand the cause of blackheads (and why they keep coming back), the benefits of a steam facial, and which products are effective at blackhead prevention.
What causes a blackhead
A common misconception regarding acne or blackheads is that they are caused by bacteria. People mistakenly believe that if you remove the bacteria from your face, the blackheads will magically disappear. That is just not true.
There are millions of bacteria living inside the pores of your skin. These bacteria are actually helpful. They keep your face clean. Without these bacteria doing what they do, your skin would be an oily mess.
So what actually causes a blackhead?
Your skin creates oil – called sebum. The bacteria inside your pores feed on the sebum, and in turn, keep your face clean. They are nature’s way of cleansing your skin.
The problem is that your face is also covered with dead skin flakes. Here is a magnified photo of these dead skin flakes:
Do you see how jagged they are? Do you see the sharp corners and ridges?
When these dead skin flakes fall inside your pores, they get stuck, and haphazardly stack on top of one another. When that happens, the bacteria no longer have access to the sebum, and basically, starve to death. Like any other living organism, when these bacteria die, their bodies start to decompose. This mess is what causes the infected pore, which looks like this:
This entire infected pore is called a comedone.
The infection forms a whitehead. When the outer surface of the whitehead is exposed to oxygen, it oxidizes and turns black. This black portion is what we call a blackhead.
But the blackhead just serves as a plug. It’s just one part of the overall comedone. It’s basically the cap holding everything inside.
Think of it as a cap on top of a soda bottle. If you remove the cap, you wouldn’t expect the entire bottle of soda to disappear right? Same thing here. When you remove the blackhead, you’re just removing the tip. The infected pore is still there and still infected. So removing the blackhead just reverts it back to a whitehead – meaning that you’ll soon have a new blackhead.
To prevent a new blackhead from forming, you have to clear out the entire comedone!
Sounds simple right? It actually is. Especially when you prevent your pores from becoming clogged again.
The plan of attack here is to not only clear out all of the comedones but to also remove the dead skin that causes them in the first place.
How a facial steamer helps
A facial steamer starts the process by prepping your skin via the heat delivered by the steam.
The steam promotes blood circulation to the pores, thereby dilating them. This is what people refer to as “opening up your pores” with a facial steamer. With your pores dilated, it makes cleaning them that much easier. Not only does your skin become more pliable, it also softens the blackhead plug, which makes it easier to remove.
The warm steam also causes you to sweat. This gets everything fluid, and ready for the deep cleaning that comes next.
With your skin prepped and soften up thanks to the steam session, now it’s time to get things cleaned up. For this, we’ll need a face mask.
If you go shopping for a face mask, you’ll find a hundred different kinds – mud masks, charcoal masks, oatmeal scrubs, pore strips, etc. You’ll find masks that cost $10, and others that cost $60. So which one should you choose?
The ideal mask for treating blackheads should:
- remove the blackhead plug
- clean out the entire comedone
- dissolve dead skin flakes
- not minimize pores
To find the ideal mask for a steam facial, I analyzed 24 of the most popular face masks on the market today. Using that research, I can positively say that the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is the best mask for removing blackheads.
And here’s why:
It’s a combination of the bentonite clay contained in this mask, and the apple cider vinegar used to make the paste.
The bentonite clay is a natural astringent. An astringent is basically something that causes your skin to contract. In other words, as the clay mask starts to dry, it pulls and tugs on your skin, causing the blackhead plug to tear away. So far so good.
With the blackhead out of the way, it allows the apple cider vinegar to seep in, and dissolve everything underneath, essentially clearing out the entire comedone – preventing a new one from taking its place!
When the mask dries, the dissolved mess sticks to the clay like velcro and gets washed away when you remove the mask.
But you HAVE to use apple cider vinegar! Water or other types of vinegar won’t dissolve the dead skin flakes – which is the reason that this mask is so effective.
The cool thing about this process is that after you remove the blackheads, you can also use it to prevent new blackheads in the future. Repeating this routine every week, or every other week will keep your face clean and clear!
So we know what a blackhead is, why a facial steamer is essential, and how the Aztek clay mask completes the process. Now it’s time for the “recipe”.
How to put it all together
This should provide you with a step by step instruction of the essentials. Feel free to implement aspects of your own routine as well.
Step 1 – Clean your skin. Remove all makeup, and if you have one, use a light facial cleanser to wash your face, and pat dry. Don’t use any harsh scrubs or exfoliation products – they can cause irritation when combined with a steam facial.
Step 2 – Sit back and enjoy a facial steam session. 10-15 minutes should do. When you’re done, pat dry with a towel, don’t rub! That just pushes dirt, oil, and debris into your pores.
Step 3 – Prepare the mask by mixing the clay with an equal amount of the apple cider vinegar. You can dilute the vinegar with water, but don’t go beyond a 50/50 mix. Mix the clay and liquid with a plastic or wooden spoon – don’t use metal!
It will look something like this:
Step 4 – Apply the paste to your face. It should be about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick. Then wait for about 10-20 minutes for the mask to dry.
Step 5 – Wash the mask off using warm water. You can make this step a lot easier by first pressing a warm wet towel against your face for a minute.
Step 6 – To complete the process, splash your face with cool water, and then apply the moisturizer of your choice.
How often should you repeat this process?
If you have the time, once a week is great. Not only does this process thoroughly clean your skin, but the facial steaming is also a very relaxing experience on its own.
If you don’t have the spare time, or if you have really sensitive skin, once every two weeks should work as well.
A quick note about moisturizers:
Dead skin flakes are very dry, and as a result, they tend to soak up a good bit of the moisturizer that you apply to your face. Also, expensive moisturizers are formulated to get past this dead skin layer and get to the live skin layer beneath.
By using a facial steamer, and exfoliating your skin with the clay mask, that is no longer a problem. When you apply moisturizer at the end, there is no need to apply the same amount that you normally do – you can get away with half as much.
Also, no need to use the expensive stuff here. I really like the Moisturizing Cream from Cerave after a steam facial. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is also very effective. It contains hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin retain moisture – which is essential since steaming your face dries out your skin.
If you try this method, could you please come back and leave a comment below and share your experience?