[By Alicia Liu]
You’ve seen it all over your news feed on Facebook recently, a rubbery latex black mask that promises to remove the most stubborn blackheads and other surface blemishes. While one cannot argue that it’s strangely gratifying to see those tiny bits of gunk stuck to the underside of the mask once it’s forcefully ripped off, we at ReadySetBeauty question if all that savage tugging is doing your skin more harm than good. “If you examine the aftermath carefully, flakes of healthy surrounding skin tissue will be yanked off together with the blackheads as a result of the forceful mechanical traction, “ explains Dr. Toby Hui, senior consultant physician with The Sloane Clinic. “In individuals with sensitive skin, this may not be a good idea as there is skin irritation, redness and peeling on the area of contact especially when users purposely leave the mask on for longer than recommended.”Blackheads just seem so manageable in that way, you just get them out, and then you’re done. This perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting rid of blackheads for good is a process that requires the right products, a suitable skincare regimen, and sometimes even the help of professionals. What better options are there to help rid your skin of pesky blackheads, an irksome dermal woe at any given age? Let us count the ways.
Regular exfoliation is one of the best things you can easily do to try to avoid blackheads. Keep your pores squeaky clean to avoid clogging by scrubbing away the surface grime and dead skin cells. Formulated with skin-smoothing, ultra-refining bamboo micro-crystals, conditioning vitamin E and soothing aloe, The Sloane Inc Crystal Clear Scrub is a luxuriant DIY exfoliant that’s low on cost and high on returns. Use it once or twice weekly to leave no ‘pore’ unturned , to halt the formation of blackheads in its tracks while tackling existing blemishes at the same time, giving your ‘less than stellar’ complexion a mini makeover to reveal fresher looking skin with a silky feel and sheen.
Use a salicylic acid product
One of the best ways to fight blackheads is to invest in some salicylic acid. Commonly found in over-the-counter acne treatments, this ingredient gently encourages cellular turnover of skin cells, helping to unclog your pores and prevent the occurrence of blackheads. The best way to use it is by layering it on once or twice a day, in concentrations between 0.5 and 2%. Formulated with a blend of potent salicylic acid, skin soothing botanicals and skin softening hyaluronic acid, The Sloane Inc Complexion Corrector Clarity is a deep pore clearing serum with an anti-comedones mission to fulfil. With a potent combination that provides a unique yet synergistic skin balancing and clarifying action, it reduces skin oiliness, clears up blackheads, minimizes pore size and regulates healthy cell life cycle, while cleverly delivering long term anti-aging benefit by smoothing rough skin texture and fine lines via intense hydration of skin cells from within.
Dry skin brushing for clearer skin
If you’ve always been enticed by in-flight advertorials featuring Clarisonic or other similar hand held beauty devices, this is the moment to justify your splurge. Washing your face with a mechanical skin brush will help combat blackheads not only because it’s essentially a powered-up way to exfoliate, but also because the deep cleansing allows active ingredients in your serums, lotions and creams to better penetrate your skin to work their magic. However, do bear in mind that “too much of anything is never a good thing”. Overzealous usage of face cleansing brushes can lead to broken capillaries, excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and skin sensitivity. In addition, similar to makeup brushes and other tools, if theses devices aren’t properly maintained with regular cleaning, they can be the cause of skin breakouts. If any of these warning signs occur, it is important to stop or alter your usage immediately and seek appropriate medical attention when required.
Remove your makeup thoroughly
Even if it takes you forever to remove your heels after a heavy night out, don’t hit the sack till your makeup is thoroughly removed. While one night of passing out with your makeup might not be a big deal, over time, this bad habit will certainly contribute to gunked-up pores, with a propensity for blackheads to hold their own rave party. Nothing beats double cleansing with a proper makeup remover and facial cleanser, but if you’re seriously slipping into a coma anytime soon, grab some makeup remover wipes for a hasty once over so keep some well within reach by your bedside!
Make a date with a pro
Squeezing, pore strips, peel off masks or any other forms of manual extraction even in the hands of an experienced facialist can be potentially scarring or cause inflammation that leads to infection and breakouts. If you’re seeing red over black with home remedies falling short, seek out professional advice from a trained specialist. Your aesthetics physician will be able to help work out a suitable skin regime based on your skin type and needs, or prescribed pharmaceutical grade retinoids or chemical peels that may boost your results. You can even opt to kick your treatment regime up a notch with the Pore Reduction Program, an excellent, comprehensive approach for individuals plagued with blackheads, large pores and oily skin. With a tailored combination of Laser Peel, Microdermabrasion, LED Red light photomodulation and Astringent Facial Wraps, this program is designed to tighten and firm up your skin as well as clearing up clogs and other surface blemishes to effectively reduce pore size for a porcelain smooth complexion even up close and personal under a bathroom magnifying mirror….