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If you are a fan of vintage collectibles, you may want to look into adding the Vacutex Blackhead Extractor to your collection. The item, which has earned its own display in the American History Museum, was the 1950’s black and white plastic plunger device which claimed to remove blackheads “out in seconds” and was touted for its ability to help you, “Keep your complexion free of blackheads and look attractive instantly.” While this may have seemed enticing to any blackhead bearing adolescent, it would be a safe guess that many of them were asking for their dollar back after the ten day trial offer was up.
Although the Vacutex was by no means the first or last of its kind, D.I.Y. blackhead extractors have been known to cause scarring and infection, so hopefully if you do purchase one, it will only be for display in your vintage bathroom. However, that hardly means that there are no good ways of getting rid of blackheads. Read on for more.
What are Blackheads?
According to Rachel Nazarian, dermatologist at Schweiger dermatology group in New York City, “Blackheads are just an oxidized mix of oils and dead skin that are sitting in pores – the exposure to air is what causes them to oxidize and turn black. Having them is not a sign that you’re too dirty, so don’t cause more damage by being rough on your skin and scrubbing really hard.
How To Treat them
Nazarian recommends leaving a salicylic acid gel on blackheads to dissolve them away. Leave – on salicylic acid products are preferable to soaps and cleansers because, in general, the longer the exposure to the active ingredient, the more effective the gel will be. Most salicylic acid products can be found in over the counter treatments. After a few weeks of use, Nazarian says you can expect some of your blackheads to resolve, and others to loosen.
Rebecca Kleinerman, a fellow dermatologist at the Schweiger Group says, “Retinoids are a great treatment for blackheads, and while many people with sensitive skin are loathe to try them, there are low-strength retinoids which are often more tolerable.”
Beverly Hills cosmetic dermatologist Jason Emer advises using an enzymatic exfoliator at least two times a week and recommends ones that use charcoal, papaya, or pineapple extract to wash away dead skin cells.
When it comes to reducing oil production and preventing blockage of pores, prescription medicines like Spironolactone and birth control pills have often proven to be effective. However, although they can be good at getting rid of blackheads and preventing new ones, the medications are usually reserved for those with mild to severe acne.
Micro – Needling
Micro-needling is a treatment involving low-density, low-energy lasers and microsecond lasers to heat skin under the surface without doing damage to the top layer, avoiding downtime for recovery.
Since all of these methods can strip oil from skin, it is important to moisturize while using them. Fenton, says, It’s important to maintain the right balance in the skin, and moisturizing will allow you to continue using exfoliating products without any issues,” The dermatologist also recommends applying drying retiniods over or between layers of moisturizer and choosing non comoedic moisturizers that won’t block pores.
If you’re dealing with blackheads, tell us your best tips for removal, even if they are cringeworthy. We love to hear all the details!