Let's talk about blackheads.
Summer has a way with the pores… and by this time of year we see a flood of clients whose top concern is deep cleansing and clarifying their skin after months of sun, travel, and sweat. Whether you’re coping with the side effects of satisfying summer workouts or sticky subway platforms, if you find yourself at the bathroom mirror squeezing – pause please and keep reading.
You can tackle blackheads successfully, and we regularly help clients clear up blackheads that “nothing works” for other than professional extractions, but in as much time as it takes for a Bioré strip to set, let’s talk about a better plan.
Firstly, what’s in our pores, and how does it get there?
The gunk that naturally builds up in everyone’s pores is a blend of dead skin and debris (i.e., city grime) that settles into the skin and sticks to your skin’s natural oils each day. The bit of that buildup that sits closest to the surface of your skin gets exposed to oxygen, so it turns dark brown or black, thus the beloved title of blackhead.
The gunk that ultimately forms a blackhead builds up there day by day. So by the time you see it and have that strange but powerful impulse to mess with it, the little guy has already been in the works for weeks, months, or even years, depending on how you’ve been caring for your skin each day at home.
Kind of gross, yes, but also natural, and part of the reason your skin should be cleansed each night, especially if you live in an urban environment. Deep pore cleansing is also a key component of monthly professional facials, but the best pore-refining results can actually only happen when you also have a balanced and effective daily skincare routine at home.
How to start successfully getting s#t out of your pores
At our shop: Professional Facials
Monthly professional facials offer consistent deep cleansing for the skin in a number of ways, including (but not limited to) professional extractions.
For extractions, we take the skin through a multi-step deep cleansing to hydrate and soften the skin and loosen the pore’s grip on debris. Then we gently manipulate the skin to remove blackheads and buildup. Professional facial treatments can work wonders on the most stubborn blackheads, but what you do at home each day between visit actually has the greatest impact on how much of that debris your Skin Therapist will be able to successfully clear away for you the day you come in seeking deep pore cleansing.
At Heyday, we perform gentle extractions and do not force pores which are not in condition to be successfully extracted without damaging the skin along the way. Combining peels or microdermabrasion with extractions generally offers the most immediate results for clearing up blackheads overall pore congestion. With or without these helpers, if extractions are a primary concern for you, a 75 min facial session will allow the most time for extractions within your professional sessions.
If your skin condition can be improved through home care for better professional extractions, we’ll explain what’s happening with the skin, we’ll always treat the area in the most effective way possible for the day, and make sure you leave with the short term game-plan for daily home care that will help prep for your next session and still allow you to see continued results.
At Home: A solid cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating routine to keep blackheads at bay.
1. Cleanse thoroughly, every night.
The stuff in our pores builds up day-to-day, so to successfully get rid of it, keep it from building up this way again, it takes the same kind of day-to-day consistency with an effective cleansing routine. Common clues your cleansing routine isn’t working for you? If you constantly struggle with blackheads (especially stubborn ones that haven’t moved in years), if your skin has become rough or stiff in texture, or is chronically oily and clogged at the same time, it’s time to change your daily cleanse routine.
#1 Blackhead Game-Changer: The Nightly Double-Cleanse. Use an oil-based cleanser to clear away surface grime, dirt, and makeup before using your gentle daily cleanser each night. This way your cleanser is working with an pre-cleansed canvas, so to speak. It’ll be able to actually cleanse your pores. You can start to feel and see a difference within a few weeks. Starting this habit is a great way to proactively prep for your first deep cleansing facial service.
For many city dwellers, the right home cleansing routine is key to getting to a much happier place with pore size and blackheads, and from there, incorporating regular professional cleansing treatments can be the final puzzle piece to finally seeing skin that stays clear.
2. Moisturizing! Way more than you think.
Moisturize day and night, including where you get oily or get blackheads. Not moisturizing actually makes it worse, as severely dehydrated skin stands in the way of the best possible professional deep cleansing results through extractions. Literally, if your skin is dehydrated, extractions don’t happen as easily. We can’t stress this enough.
If you’re trying to tackle blackheads, breakouts, or acne and want to do one thing for the clearest possible result from your first professional treatment, moisturize your skin like a maniac for the week leading up to the deep cleanse.
3. Exfoliate, Consistent Exfoliation
A buildup of dead skin can also help trap debris in the pores. Gentle, consistent exfoliation keeps your skin renewing itself and helps keep any gunk moving along.
One to three times weekly is all you need, and we favor a gentle polish or mild enzyme exfoliants. What’s right for you will depend on your unique skin type and condition, but for all skin types and concerns, it’s important to remember that less can be more when it comes to exfoliation. Exfoliation alone won’t clear your skin, and exfoliating more means removing more skin, not necessarily removing more dirt or gunk along with it. You can bring your skin to a very sensitive and breakout prone state by over exfoliating. You want just enough for the best results.