We've all seen enough Dr. Pimple Popper videos to know that the most serious of blackheads require the skilled hands of a professional to be extracted. Though the videos might inspire us to do the same with our own open comedones, which oxidize and turn black with exposure to oxygen, Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., warns us that the extraction of less Instagram-worthy blackheads is also best left to the professionals. "Beware of home extraction tools: they can do more harm than good," she says.
When it comes to preventing new blackheads from forming, however, we have considerably more control over achieving a clear-skinned state. "Oil, dirt, and environmental debris build up inside the pore channel," Dr. Shamban says. When combined with professional extraction, the best course of action is a kick-ass skin-care regimen that, she says, "helps prevent the formation of new blackheads and treats the underlying cause — which is acne."
For that, we asked Dr. Shamban and five other top derms exactly which products they reach for in order to keep blackheads from taking shape on their own skin. Ahead, the Holy Grail cleansers, masks, treatments, and toners the pros swear by — and that will hopefully save us from the temptation of playing Dr. Pimple Popper in our own bathrooms.