Home remedies for blackheads
Blackheads are a result of pollution in the air, and so most people will have suffered from these tiny black dots on their nose or face at least once in their lifetime.
We all have pores that get clogged easily with a combination of dead skin cells, excess oil and bacteria. These impurities then get pushed onto the surface of the skin, get oxidised when they come in contact with the air, and turn black and ugly. Our nose, being the oiliest part of our body, suffers from blackheads the most.
The first rule for getting rid of blackheads is to wash your face daily with a gentle face wash at the beginning and the end of the day and then moisturise with a suitable cream or gel, preferably containing salicylic acid. Drinking a lot of water can also help hydrate the skin surface by keeping oil blocks away.
Most importantly, you should not try to “pop” blackheads using tweezers or pointed tools as this may lead to the spread of bacteria and even scar your skin. Even blackhead removal tools must be left to professionals.
Here are some home remedies that will safely clear blackheads. But always try a patch test first and don’t scrub excessively to avoid causing damage to your skin.
This works as a natural exfoliator and shields the skin from infection. It removes the skin’s oil barrier, balances the pH level of the skin and disrupts the bacteria on the surface, helping to prevent infection and acne.
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with half a tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of water and form a smooth paste. Gently scrub the affected area and keep it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat twice a week. You can also use this scrub before your daily shower.
Egg white and honey mask:
Known for their skin-tightening abilities, egg whites make an effective natural remedy for blackheads. When applied directly on the skin or as a mask, they shrink the pores, hence forcing blackheads out. Egg whites can also improve the skin texture and remove extra oil. Honey is great for oily skin as it keeps it moist and not oily and also nourishes and hydrates the skin.
Mix one egg white with one tablespoon of honey in a bowl. Apply this mixture to your face and let it dry for about 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Repeat this process once or twice a week.
Being rich in Vitamins C and A, tomatoes have skin-brightening, oil-absorbing and pore-shrinking properties. They can effectively clear out any extra grease without being harsh.
Cut a few round slices from a tomato. Rub a slice on your skin, focusing on the blackhead-infected areas. Alternatively, you can apply tomato pulp on your skin and wash it off with water once it dries.
Cinnamon powder and lemon juice mask:
Cinnamon powder has anti-fungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It tightens the pores and improves blood circulation. Lemon can decrease oil on the skin and reduce inflammation.
Mix two tablespoons of cinnamon powder with two tablespoons of lemon juice, making a smooth paste. Apply it on the affected areas and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. You can repeat this process three to four times a week.
Turmeric and coconut oil mask:
This mask has proven to be the most effective home remedy of all. Turmeric contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components. These can provide glow to the skin, whereas coconut oil gently soothes and hydrates the skin.
Mix one tablespoon of turmeric with coconut oil and form a smooth paste. Dab the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat three to four times a week.
Subjecting your face to steam is an effective way to soften stubborn blackheads and eventually clear them away. Steaming the face makes the skin sweat, which in turn helps to clear out toxins from within. It also softens the pores, making stubborn blackheads easier to work upon and remove.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 26 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly