These Derm-Recommended Blackhead-Removal Methods Are The Real Deal

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Blackheads — those little dots that form when sebum in your pores is exposed to oxygen — sure do suck. There's no getting around that. But look on the bright side: Misery loves company, and no one (except maybe Bubble Boy) has a nose that's completely free of clogged pores. Blackheads are just a normal side effect of things like having hormones that produce oil, wearing makeup, walking in polluted air, and not exfoliating regularly.

But what can you do to get rid of them at home? Start by moving your fingers away from your pores and putting down the extraction tools (which few of us actually know how to use properly). Instead, take it from the dermatologists, facialists, and editors sharing the blackhead remedies they swear by — ahead.
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The Pro: Dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD

The Fix: "Pore strips are my all-time favorite blackhead remover. I use Pond's [Ed. note: discontinued] because it seems to give the best yield and leaves no tacky residue, but there is a specific protocol I teach patients. First, you must start with squeaky-clean skin. Wipe with toner to remove oil. Next, apply the strip to wet skin and massage it continuously onto the skin until it's completely dry. Then, pull it slowly, using your other hand to pull skin in the opposite direction the strip is pulling."

Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $8, available at Target.
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The Pro: Facialist Gina Marí

The Fix: "This gentle product (suitable even for sensitive skin) uses multi-fruit enzymes and lactic acid to remove dead skin cells and reveal fresh, clean pores. One of our specialties as skin-care professionals is extracting blackheads; however, we would never recommend doing this on your own! A tiny blackhead that is not properly extracted can lead to marks, irritation, and even scarring. Additionally, it is easy to spread bacteria, which can lead to an even more severe breakout. Book an appointment with your skin-care professional if you’re tempted to pick!"

Goldfaden MD
Fresh A Peel, $85, available at Goldfaden MD.
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The Pro: Megan McIntyre, R29 beauty features director

The Fix: "Most mud masks can be super-drying, but this sea-clay mask from holistic aesthetician Susan Ciminelli pulls everything out of your pores (and I mean EVERYTHING) but doesn't strip away moisture or irritate. When I smooth it on, I can actually see it absorbing into my pores and uprooting all the sludge stuck in there. It's pretty thick, so I like to dilute it by spraying a bit of a facial mist (Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist is a great choice) on a dab of it and mixing it together in my hands before applying to my face."

Susan Ciminelli Sea Clay Mask, $55, available at Susan Ciminelli.
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The Pro: Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD

The Fix:
"This has exfoliating beads, but it's also got salicylic acid, which dives into the pores and dissolves the intercellular cement that’s sticking it all together, helping everything come to the surface. And it’s not too aggressive. The worst thing you can do is buy an at-home extractor. Warn your readers. [Ed. note: You've been warned.] I see so many ice-pick scars from people who buy the devices and start extracting at home and stretching out their pores."

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator, $58, available at Sephora.
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The Pro: Alix Tunell, R29 senior beauty editor

The Fix: "When my skin feels really congested, I like to boil a pot of water and add in this herbal blend (full of skin-loving plant extracts like lavender, rose, and chamomile). I let it steep and cool for 10 minutes, then I put a towel over my head and lean over the pot to let the steam open my pores."

Mullein & Sparrow Facial Steam, $22, available at Mullein & Sparrow.
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The Pro: Nataly Gold, RN, president of iGlow Med Spa

The Fix:
"Our product of choice is Le Mieux skin-clarifying pads. These pads have ingredients such as mandelic and salicylic acids. They don't dry the skin, and they prevent further blackheads from developing," says Gold, who recommends doing a professional pore cleaning once a month.

Le Mieux Skin Clarifying Pad, $30, available at Karin Herzog.
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