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While artificial freckles continue to rage as a cute make-up trend, blackheads on the cheeks no longer have fanfare. This pesky member of the acne family may not be as painful as its whitehead sibling or as visually dominant as a pimple. Still, blackheads are annoying AF.
Thanks to the popularity of blackhead pore strips, removing blackheads on the nose is a whole category of ASMR videos. But you may be wondering how to get rid of blackheads on your cheeks.
Blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne that occurs when dirt gets into your pores. They usually form when the pores are clogged with dead skin cells and sebum, a naturally occurring oil in your skin.
Unlike whiteheads, which appear when the pore is closed, blackheads take root when the pore is opened. When the sebum in the open pore is exposed to air, it turns dark. Then ta-da, you have a blackhead.
People with oily skin may be more prone to acne (including blackheads) because the sebum glands produce excess oil, especially in the T-zone and cheek areas.
But this type of acne is non-discriminatory and can affect almost anyone.
What is the tea (zone)?
Blackheads can appear on any part of your body (just ask the area under your butt cheeks), but there̵
The T-zone of your face includes your forehead, nose and chin area. Your sebum glands here can overproduce oil, giving you unwanted glow and clogged pores.
Although not in the T-zone, the cheeks are also an area where oil can be overproduced, leading to these blackheads.
There are many reasons why you can get blackheads on your cheeks. While some of these causes are beyond your control, behavioral factors also play a role. Here are the main causes of blackheads on your cheeks.
If either of your parents has oily skin that produces excess sebum, you may be genetically prone to blackheads. You could also just have larger pores that tend to fill up with that good ol ‘excess sebum.
While oddly enough, squeezing or plucking your skin to remove a stubborn blackhead can cause long-term damage.
When choosing a blackhead, the stretch and inflammation can enlarge the pore and make your face more mature for future blackheads. Picking is particularly harmful for deep blackheads and can lead to permanent scars.
Wearing a face mask for 8 hours can cause blackheads to form on your cheeks. What is often referred to as “maskne” in the time of COVID-19. In derm language, acne that develops from friction or rubbing on the skin is called acne mechanica.
Sleep with makeup on
The temptation to go to bed with all your makeup on is so real, especially after a long night; However, if you don’t wash your face, it can lead to blackheads on your cheeks.
Finally, you’ve covered your cheeks (and their pores) with concealer, foundation, blush, bronzer, highlighter, and maybe a touch of glitter.
Products that clog pores
Your skin composition determines which products will produce the best results. Despite five-star ratings from Amazon, cleansers, masks, and scrubs that are not oil-free can cause blackheads, depending on your skin type.
Much too hard products
Products that completely dry out your skin can get your sebum glands running high and lead to more sebum (and blackheads!). Benzoyl peroxide, for example, is designed to treat inflammatory acne such as cysts, and its use on other types of acne can make the situation worse.
There are natural remedies for blackhead removal. Before you prepare to tinker your way into clearer skin, be aware that not every method will work for every skin type.
1. Look for salicylic acid
Products containing salicylic acid target blackheads and whiteheads by breaking down excess oil and dead skin cells. You can find this ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) products, especially in detergents, treatments, and serums.
The skin can be sensitive to salicylic acid. So use them every few days and be careful how your skin reacts.
2. Put on your face mask
The OG face mask refers to the type that is actually good for your skin.
Moisturizing and mattifying face masks are best for blackheads. Using a mask 2 to 3 times a week can cleanse your pores and even shrink your pores over time. Clay masks remove excess oil and dirt, making them best for people with oily skin.
3. Peeling, peeling, peeling
Exfoliation refers to the process of removing dead skin cells. Since the build-up of dead skin cells is a cause of blackheads, exfoliating can help.
The type of scrub you need depends on your skin type. However, chemical peels such as beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are usually helpful. Physical scrubs such as gentle facial brushes or scrubs can also help.
PPE: Always take care of your sensitive facial skin! Try exfoliating as well once a week gently Massage onto the skin.
4. Try an oil clean
While putting more oil on your skin may sound counterintuitive, oil cleansing can be helpful in treating blackheads on your cheeks. This process uses non-comedogenic oils that don’t clog your pores to help dissolve the oils.
5. Suck it up with a vacuum tool
A blackhead vacuum tool can be an effective home tool in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
The process can be tough on your skin unless you’ve already pulled the blackhead out of its pore storage. Salicylic acid, steam, and glycolic acid can be used to loosen the blackheads before vacuuming.
6. Roll with retinoids
Retinoids are known to help with fine lines, but are also found to be helpful in treating blackheads.
Retinol, a type of retinoid commonly found in OTC skin care products, can also be helpful. These topical vitamin A products cleanse the pores and even out the texture of the skin. You can also get higher strength retinoids with a prescription from a dermatologist.
If you are still noticing stubborn blackheads, you should seek out a skin expert such as a dermatologist or esthetician. Treatment for blackheads (or really any acne) can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to see results.
7. Get a clinical chemical peel
If an OTC chemical peel isn’t working, you can also try a home chemical peel. Or, you can see a dermatologist for a clinical grade chemical peel and see results after a few weeks if you receive them frequently.
These babies are typically used to achieve even skin tone and reduce wrinkles. However, as they peel off the top layer of skin, they can help cleanse pores and reduce the appearance of large pores.
8. Go for a professional extraction
The home plucking method is a big no-no, but a dermatologist or esthetician is trained and equipped to safely extract those deep blackheads on your cheeks.
Think you can just use the same extraction tools at home? That’s a big no. You can really damage, irritate, and cut your skin if you misuse an extraction tool. Find your local Dr. Pimple popper on and let the professionals take care of it for you.
9. Pull out the mass with a hydrafacial
Hydrafacials are like a steroid vacuum tool that uses a medical device to cleanse and exfoliate your skin with serums. You can visit a dermatologist or esthetician for this facial and vacuum the dirt in your pores.
10. Try dermabrasion
A dermatologist may also recommend dermabrasion to remove outer layers of skin to avoid blackheads on your cheeks. This is essentially another option for a heavier exfoliation.
If your skin is prone to blackheads, treatment may not be a one-off situation. Skin reacts differently to treatment, so it can take trial and error to find your ideal blackhead treatment.
When you find the product that best treats your blackheads, repeat the process regularly. Exfoliate and use a mask regularly. If in doubt, contact your dermatologist. They’re skin experts for a reason.
And if you don’t do anything else, try not to peck your face.