With over 7.8 billion people in the world, there are only a few things everyone has in common with each other. Unsurprisingly, experiencing blackheads is one of them. However, those of us living in tropical climates like in Singapore often experience blackheads more often. Despite that, it’s a problem that can be easily managed with the right skincare guidance and tips!
What are Blackheads?
A mild form of acne, blackheads are small bumps that appear on your skin when a pore is congested (with dead skin cells and sebum) and exposed to air. This exposure to air gives regular whiteheads (aka closed comedones) their darker appearance synonymous with blackheads.
What Causes Blackheads?
One of the main components to blackheads, sebum produced by the skin can become congested within the pore, leading to their formation. This also explains why Asians or individuals reside in tropical climates experience more blackheads. The warm temperatures paired with higher humidity makes sebaceous glands more active, making it easier for blackheads to form.
2. Dead Skin Cells
Another essential component to blackheads, dead skin cells that lie on the surface of the skin can clog pores, preventing the oil produced by sebaceous glands from leaving the pore. Over time, this builds up the congestion that forms into a blackhead.
Skin is more than what is on the surface. Our skin is also largely impacted by our body’s health and wellbeing. At various points (like during menstruation), our hormones fluctuate, resulting in an increase in sebum production.
With a handful of root causes, it makes blackheads one of the more manageable forms of acne!
Combatting Blackheads with Treatments
Treatments are the best ways to get rid of blackheads quickly and safely. Not only are technologically advanced equipment used, but trained experts who understand the inner workings of skin thoroughly are better able to manage skin and remove blackheads efficiently. Here are our recommendations for Porcelain’s best blackhead treatments.
Your blackheads are no match for good-old fashion extractions. Not only does our award-winning treatment deploy extractions, but it also focuses on rebalancing the skin’s pH for stronger resilience against impurities that threaten to inflame skin as it recovers from extractions. Utilising medi-technology and in-house formulated products, the Quintessential Facial thoroughly cleanses skin while replenishing it with vital nutrients to recoup and thrive. This, paired with the expert extraction facial techniques deployed by highly trained therapists, blackheads (along with other pesky acnes) do not stand a chance!
Combatting Blackheads with Homecare
Though treatments are effective in dealing with blackheads, homecare plays an equal role in ensuring the skin stays healthy with minimal blackheads between treatments.
1. Exfoliate Regularly
With one of the causes of blackheads being dead skin cells, regular exfoliation is needed to help remove them and give you softer, brighter skin too! Exfoliation can come in many forms – from chemical exfoliation with AHAs and BHAs to physical exfoliation. To learn more about the difference in AHAs and BHAs plus what they can do for your skin, check out our cheat sheet to skincare acids.
Generally, for chemical exfoliation, BHAs like Salicylic Acid are a better alternative when dealing with blackheads as they are better able to penetrate the skin to break down sebum buildup and congestion within pores. Although this may entice you to pick up products that contain high percentages of Salicylic Acid, it’s good to note that it is most effective at a low concentration (between 2-4%) and is better suited for oilier skin types thanks to its drying effect. Alternatively, AHAs like Glycolic Acid are still effective at exfoliating despite being unable to penetrate as deeply as Salicylic Acid.
For physical exfoliation, it is exfoliation that requires physical rubbing or scrubbing to remove dead skin cells. On that note, we do not recommend reaching out for scrubs or exfoliants that contain granules or microbeads as they can create micro-tears in the skin, leading to inflammation and sensitivity. Instead, look for gentler exfoliants that utilise natural enzymes – like our Natural Skin Refiner!
2. Balance skin pH
Blackheads are often synonymous with oilier skin types. While skin types are predominantly determined by genetics, they can be managed by balancing your skin’s pH. Your skin’s pH is determined by the balance between the oil and moisture content on your skin. Oily skin’s pH imbalance lies in an over-production of sebum to compensate for insufficient hydration. Sebum is your skin’s way of retaining moisture and hydration. When there is a lack of hydration, the skin produces more oils to prevent further loss of hydration. This additional sebum production also explains why those of us with oily skin tend to experience a greater frequency of blackheads.
Thus, the key to rebalancing oily skin’s pH is to hydrate and regulate the skin’s sebum production. Hydrate the skin with ingredients like Sodium Hyaluronate while regulating oil production with ingredients like Tea Tree Oil (both of which are the main ingredients in our pH Balancing Essence.
Important note: when it comes to using products containing high percentages of Tea Tree Oil, use it in low concentrations and in small doses to prevent over-drying the skin.
3. Avoid DIY Home Treatments
Everyone loves a good DIY that can help save time and money. But not all DIYs are created equal. DIY Home Treatments such as using baking soda to remove blackheads can strip your skin of its natural moisture, alter its pH and disrupt the skin’s natural bacteria that is needed to protect itself from infections.
Home extractions should also be avoided as they can cause inflammation that would worsen acne, cause trauma to the skin (bruises, tears etc) and result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scars.