The greatest blackhead removers can break the vicious cycle of worrying unnecessarily about blemishes if you have a tendency to do so. You’ve heard it before: A black dot the size of a pinhole appears on your face, and you feel compelled to aggressively squeeze, pick, and scratch it. However, your efforts only make the blackhead larger and more irritated after a few days have passed.
In reality, it’s never a good idea to treat them by touching them with your fingers, as this might spread bacteria and cause additional irritation. In this case, pore minimizers and treatments designed to gently remove debris, oil, and makeup from your pores (the aforementioned blackhead triggers) are useful.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel
- Powerful ingredients
- Helps reduce appearance of pores
- Three variants for different skin types
When it comes to getting rid of blackheads, Dr. Gohara recommends chemical peels, which “often use salicylic acid or glycolic acid to dissolve the accumulation in the pore.” Dr. Dennis Gross’ two-step peel, which includes five AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate skin and dissolve sebum and a neutralizing wipe to moisturize skin and prevent irritation, is the gold standard for at-home treatments. A senior chemist at GH Beauty Lab, Danusia Wnek, adds that these products come in “gentle,” “original,” and “extra strength” varieties. I use this lotion at night and find that my skin is incredibly smooth and my pores appear diminished when I wake up. It’s not cheap, but Wnek and many critics say it’s well worth it.
Seki EDGE Blackhead Remover – Comedone Extractor for Blackheads
- The shape allows you to clear out pores
- Good value
- Should be used with caution
Butler prefers comedone extractors like this one from Seki Edge, which has a round spoon end. She explains that, compared to extractors with an oval loop design, “these extractors apply more even pressure around the blackhead,” making it simpler to flush out any and all pore debris. She cautions that an extractor’s use is not without risk and can result in irritation, so it should be handled with care.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Easy to use
- Can be irritating if used near the eyes
Dr. Gohara recommended these pads as “a perfect way to give your skin a mini peel at night before bed” because they are one of her favorite exfoliating products. The pads aid in unclogging the pores. The convenience of a wipe is unrivaled, and these are mild enough for regular usage. You should avoid getting any in your eyes since it will sting.
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
- Shrinks the appearance of pores
- Smooths and brightens skin
- Works quickly
- Can potentially irritate sensitive skin
“This is honestly a workhorse when it comes to reducing the appearance of pores,” adds Wnek of the product, which contains a powerful 2% salicylic acid. One of her favorite uses for it is because “it keeps my skin looking and feeling smooth.” Since it swiftly unclogs pores, brightens the skin, and lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s no surprise that Wnek finds this to be the most popular product of the brand worldwide. This leave-on exfoliant is generally well-received, however a few reviewers have mentioned that it irritated their delicate skin.
Doctor Babor Cleanformance Clay Multi-Cleanser
- Good for mature skin
- Has multiple uses
- Small bottle so gets used up quickly
“can be used like a clay mask to two to three times a week or as a daily cleanser with most gentle physical exfoliating properties,” explains Birnur Aral, GH Beauty Lab’s Executive Director and one of the judges for Good Housekeeping’s 2021 Sustainable Innovation Awards. Because it does not leave the skin feeling tight and dry, “it is ideal for purifying the pores of mature skin.” The company employs hydroelectric and geothermal energy to power its operations, and it uses between 95% and 98% naturally produced components in its products. Is there any bad news? Some reviewers were disappointed by the small size of the bottle, which could mean it wouldn’t last very long if used every day.
Codex Shaant Balancing Clay Mask
- Minimizes the appearance of pores
- Reduces oil in skin
- Doesn’t dry out skin
- Strange smell
When fighting blackheads, a clay mask is a terrific tool to have in your arsenal. Clinical proof supports Codex’s claims that regular use of their creamy deep-cleaning clay mask will reduce skin oil by 14% over the course of 28 days. This mask won the Good Housekeeping Beauty Award. While the clay itself is drying, it is countered by the shea butter and botanicals in the formula. Sabina Wizemann, Senior Chemist at the GH Beauty Lab, says, “It minimized the look of pores around my nose and cleared blackheads without over-drying.” However, some critics have noted an odd odor to the product.