To Pick or Not to Pick: Should You Extract Blackheads?

“Don’t pick” is a must-follow mantra that’s imbedded in most of our minds simply because picking can cause scarring. But do you really need professional help in the form of a facial or a visit to the dermatologist to rid your skin of unsightly blackheads? “Extracting blackheads at home can be fine if it is done gently after a steam bath or shower when the skin has been softened,” says celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy. “But there are some people who are better off not even trying to do it because they can damage their skin by being too rough and not knowing when to stop.” Adds West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist, Kenneth Beer, MD, “If blackheads are superficial and if you are very careful, it’s OK to extract at home. The one thing that doesn’t get them out is scrubbing—it just leads to irritation and inflammation.”

Insider Tip: Do you skip a night or two because you are too tired to wash your face before bed? According to Joy, that’s probably the main cause of your blackheads. “By just sticking to your daily cleansing regimen—especially at night—your blackheads will most likely appear smaller.”


The Daytime Fix:
Treating blackheads at night is great, but blasting the skin with complexion-clearing actives during the day is even better. This powerful primer does just that while it tackles oily spots and redness and makes makeup budge-proof. Cover FX Mattifying Primer, $38, coverfx.com.

“This miracle gel-primer keeps skin matte even by midday. You’ll only need a few weeks to see the benefits when you aren't wearing it––but stick with it; it's totally worth the wait."


The Pore Shrinker:
Lines and wrinkles are obvious signs of aging, but so is the lesser-known culprit of enlarged pores, which can cause blackheads. This lotion treats all of the above with skin-firming DMAE and anti-aging alpha lipoic acid. Perricone MD Intensive pore Treatment, $75, sephora.com.

"Works like a magnet to rid the skin of excess oiliness and just about any other pore problem."


The Makeup Melter:
From the brand that brought the world “pore strips” comes a salicylic acid cleanser that washes away dirt and oil while working overtime to effectively (and gently) exfoliate so you’re less inclined to develop blackheads. Bioré Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser, $7, target.com.

“You can feel this creamy cleanser working to erase every last trace of makeup and anything else the day leaves behind."


The Deep Cleaner:
This high-tech skin-care device claims to use gentle silicone touch points for deep cleansing to help rid the skin of dirt, oil and other impurities. Foreo Luna Mini, $139, foreo.com.

"This handheld device sits in the palm of your hand but delivers serious benefits to get your face cleaner—and clearer—than ever before."