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Squeezing Blackheads: How to Get Rid of Blackheads Tips and Warnings

Updated on July 31, 2009

What is a Blackhead?

A blackhead, also known as open comedo, is a plugged follicle that reaches the skin's surface and ruptures. The plug's dark appearance is not just from dirt and toxins, but contains a buildup of melanin (the skin's dark pigment) and oil, which darkens as it oxidizes.

Many people have the habit of squeezing the blackheads on their face with their fingernails. This type of behaviour can be dangerous, as it may cause inflammation and scarring.

Using Pore Strips To Get Rid of Blackheads

Although extracting blackheads looks like a relatively simple and straightforward undertaking, most dermatologists advise patients not to try this at home, but to put their skin in the hands of a trained doctor or aesthetician.

The worst damage comes from using your fingers and fingernails. Even if you are trying to be gentle and don't see any damage, pressing with your fingers can only create more problems.

If you do insist of trying to do it yourself, then two common methods are peel strips or using a comedo extractor.

-- Pore strips-- These are pieces of cloth impregnated with a glue-like substance designed to get rid of the blackheads. You press one of these to your skin, and then when you pull the strip off, it's supposed to pull away the plugs in the pores with the strip.

But although pore strips have become a standard offering of many skin-care lines, their true benefit is questionable,

There are some claims that the yucky gray stuff you see on the pore strip after you ripped it off your skin is not a mass of blackheads. It's just normal oil filling your pores. Some oil is beneficial, because it protects your skin. Temporarily removing surface oil, whether by pore strips, exfoliants, peels, or or other methods, can make your pores appear smaller, but that is only temporary effect. Usually blackheads will be back the next morning.

There are also people whose skin is sensitive and they may suffer from pore-strip irritation, especially if they are overdoing it. Use them occasionally if you lke, or you can try a comedo extractor.

Using Comedo Extractor To Extract Blackheads

A comedo extractor is a metal instrument that allows you to eject a comedo from its follicle by applying even pressure around its circumference. The extractor is an excellent way to prevent touching your face directly and prevents scarring and bleeding.

  1. Gently cleanse the area with alcohol and use a washcloth to apply moist heat with gentle pressure for a few minutes. Or you may boil some water and place your face over hot steam for a 3-5 minutes, while covering your head with a towel. This will help reduce the force needed to express the pus when squeezing pimples. (Breathe slowly and don't get too close so as to burn yourself!)
  2. Sterilize the blackhead extractorby soaking it in 91% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes prior to use.
  3. Place the extractor over your blackhead and press down GENTLY while looking into the magnifying mirror (this will help you see particularly small blackheads with ease). The blackhead should pop out easily of the loop!
  4. DO NOT press too hard, or you will have unsightly loop marks on your face that will take a while to go away!
  5. Apply a some alcohol or Benzoyl Peroxideto the affected areas to keep your pores free of bacteria. You may skip this step if you are very sensitive to alcohol and Benzoyl Peroxide

This will have to be repeated on a weekly to monthly basis depending on your skin type. Getting rid of blackheads is particularly a never-ending job, so be patient. Your pores will temporarily appear larger when you remove blackheads from around your nose, but that's because the pores are empty, which makes them look larger.

Squeezing Blackheads Warnings

--WARNING!-- Improper squeezing of blackheads can lead to inflammation, swelling, ruptured blood vessels, infection, ultimately leading to scarring. Even the most carefully performed procedure may leave material behind to start a new comedo. Extracting all the material rarely happens without applying a lot of pressure and causing at least some damage to surrounding tissues.

–WARNING! — Do not EVER try to squeeze, pop, or otherwise manipulate an inflamed pimple that is just a red, headless bump, deep under your skin! There is no way you can squeeze it out, instead you will most likely make the inflammation worse, longer lasting, and much more likely to leave a permanent scar.Then your only option may be acne scar repair treatment, which is a costly and painful procedure.

Natural Treatments for Blackheads

--Blackheads do not really need to be removed, as the body usually does it itself without any problems. Treatment options may include exfoliants, topical retinoids or they may be extracted at home using a comedone extractor or blackhead strip, or at your dermatologist's or cosmetologist's office.

--Wash your skin delicately twice a day with mild soap or cleanser and apply a little bit cream or ointment with benzoyl peroxide (not recommended if you have very delicate skin). Do not scrub too hard. Scrubbing your skin vigorously can, irritate your skin and make things even worse!

--Stop touching your face! If you are one of these people who keep touching their face throughout the day - you must work on stopping this behaviour. Touching your face with your dirty hands can spread bacteria which can lead to inflammation.

--The best remedy for acne blackheads and pimples is prevention. Getting rid of acne permanently is not a simple task. You must treat the entire body and address the true causes of the problem. This includes proper acne free diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and other factors; which will have a positive effect on your total health and other areas of your life!


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    • profile image 6 years ago

      Dear Joanaverdan,

      After reading your blog message in resolving blackheads and to reduce scaring on my face, I am truly very touch and understand your honest and truthful sharing.

      I pray that I will stop squeezing blackheads from my body & face from now on. I hope that I can follow your advice to adhere to the acne free diet, and lifestyle by sleep early.

      I deeply appreciate you for taking your time to write this blog for the benefit of the young people like me.

      May God Bless You in abundance & your sharing to millions of people out there in search for a solution but ended up falling into the trap of the advertisements placed by the various cosmestics companies which did not help to resolve our problems within.

      Warmest Regards,

      Beatrix Tan