Blackheads. Let's face it. That one word alone causes anxiety. What exactly are those dark dots on your nose or chin? And how come they seem to pop up just in time for an important event? In order to banish these blackhead bandits it is important to know what they are and how they form. In a nutshell, blackheads are open pores that are plugged at the surface. The oil, also known as sebum, and dead skin cells oxidize when the air hits them, which causes them to turn black. Blackheads are controlled by many factors including age, heredity and skincare regimen. While teenagers are usually the victims of blackheads, adults often suffer from them as well. So, how does one get rid of these uninvited guests, you ask? We’ll tell you. UltimateGuidetoBanishingBlackheads Exfoliating on a regular basis is key. Use an exfoliating face wash like Garnier’s Clean + Blackhead Eliminating Scrub, brush or sponge that gently sloughs off dead skin cells on the surface. Make sure you don't over-scrub as it may cause irritation and overproduction of sebum, which will totally defeat the purpose. Don't have an exfoliating face wash? Turn to your kitchen for a natural exfoliant — baking soda. Apple cider vinegar, baking soda's sidekick, serves as an astringent to provide a deeper cleanse and clear out pores. Pore strips that can be purchased at the store are effective in removing blackheads. Though this method may prove to be helpful, note that it is a temporary fix and that having a proper skincare routine is the best way to prevent future blackheads from forming. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy and is lipophilic, which means it is attracted to oils and fats. As a result, salicylic acid tends to stay on the surface of a pore and eat away at the grime, which is why products with salicylic acid are great for taking care of blackheads. Salicylic acid's partner in "grime" is glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane and works as a mild exfoliant, creating a smoother surface. Clay masks also help with exfoliation and oil absorption, preventing the formation of blackheads. Masks can be used for deep cleansing and to help the skin look smoother. Microdermabrasion, a non-intrusive procedure that uses tiny rough grains to buff away the top layer of the skin, is a great option if all other methods have failed. Before any type of procedure, make sure you consult your dermatologist. And whatever you do, do not squeeze a blackhead. Yes, it's tempting, but doing so may cause the skin to become inflamed, infected and even scarred.   Do you use any of these tricks to treat your blackheads? Sound off in the comments below!   Photo: Thinkstock


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