The Most Effective Blackhead-Busting Products

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The Most Effective Blackhead-Busting Products featured image

Blackheads. The mere word makes our skin crawl, and chances are if you have them, you’ve been fighting the battle for far too long—and been on the never-ending hunt for the best blackhead products to incorporate into your routine.

Blackheads occur when pores become clogged with sebum (or oil), dead skin cells and impurities like pollution, makeup, dirt and bacteria. Because the pore is open to air, the contents inside oxidize and evolve into a dark color visible to the eye, hence the name. Unfortunately, blackheads are relatively common. According to Cleveland Clinic, blackheads are seen most among adolescents, but up to 10 to 20 percent of adults have blackheads too.

Sure, shelves are lined with products formulated to help treat, remove and camouflage blackheads, but which really do the trick? From peels, brushes and patches and spatula-looking devices, we’ve rounded up the best blackhead products to help ditch—and prevent—blackheads for good.

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Neutrogena Stubborn Blackheads Daily Serum ($19)

Gentle enough to use daily but powerful enough to unclog pores and keep them clear, this salicylic– and glycolic acid–boosted serum is affordable, effective and worth folding into your routine.

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Dr.Jart+ Pore Remedy PHA Exfoliating Serum ($45)

Safe for even sensitive skin types, this superlight serum is charged with 7 percent PHA to gently exfoliate and decongest clogged pores and shrink their appearance while also de-slicking skin.

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Perricone MD Acne Relief Gentle Exfoliating Toner ($45)

Sweep this salicylic– and lactic acid–infused formula onto your T-zone to tone, exfoliate and dislodge clogged pores or use it all over to treat blemish-prone skin. It’s created with citrulline to quiet any potential irritation.

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Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($30)

The exfoliator that broke the internet, this swipe-and-treat formula drastically clears out pores and refines them with help from salicylic acid. The best part? It’s safe for all skin types.

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Peter Thomas Roth Blackhead Eliminator ($68)

Blackheads and enlarged pores have met their match with this shiny gold tube that’s packed with salicylic acid and exfoliating crystals. Apply a thin layer onto congested areas and let it dry for up to four minutes before massaging with wet fingertips. You’ll notice smoother, less-congested pores after a single wash.

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Farmacy Deep Sweep Pore Cleansing Toner ($28)

Hundreds of happy users agree: this BHA- and papaya-infused toner sinks deep into the pores to instantly make skin feel cleaner and zap excess oil without making skin feel dry. Over time, you’ll notice smaller, cleaner-looking pores and an all-around brighter complexion.

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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx Blemish Solutions Acne Eliminating Gel ($40)

Whether you’re facing a bout of acne or stubborn congestion, this supercharged gel—it’s packed with salicylic acid, niacinamide, retinol and glycolic acid—clears it up without any flakiness.

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TULA So Poreless Deep Exfoliating Blackhead Scrub ($32)

Volcanic sand, witch hazel and natural acids combine in this vacation-scented polish that deeply exfoliates and purifies congested pores sans unwanted irritation.

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Babor Doctor Babor Cleanformance Clay Multi-Cleanser ($25)

The first step in any good skin routine is an effective cleanser tailored to your skin’s needs. This one is infused with natural kaolin clay, along with pre- and probiotics, to sop up excess sebum and clear pores.

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First Aid Beauty Pharma BHA Acne Spot Treatment Gel ($26)

Pore-clearing salicylic acid and resurfacing glycolic, along with smoothing papaya and soothing willow bark extract, offer up the ultimate blemish-busting routine in this lightweight gel.

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Formula 10.0.6 Pores Be Pure ($7)

Mud masks and calming properties don’t usually reside in the same tube, but this strawberry and yarrow root formula begs to differ. One use loosens congestion, refines pores, softens skin and quiets inflammation—all for less than $10.

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HydroPeptide Bambusa Blackhead Banisher ($22 for eight strips)

Some nose strips just pull on blackheads—this one removes dirt and oil, detoxifies pores and refines for a serious improvement in minutes.

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Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion ($72)

When those stubborn blackheads just won’t quit, try this fine, enzyme- and acid-spiked polish out for size—just a couple of uses noticeably improves the look of blackheads, enlarged pores and a lackluster tone.

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Follain Dual Detox Mask ($34)

A gentle combination of purifying clays plus AHAs and BHAs means this mask checks two major boxes at once: delivers clearer, decongested skin while brightening and resurfacing a dull complexion.

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My Clarins CLEAR-OUT Blackhead Expert Stick + Mask ($26)

This innovative, two-in-one solution to blemishes offers up a polishing “exfoliating stick” to bust blackheads on the go, plus a creamy detoxifying mask for when you have a bit of extra time.

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Rodan + Fields The Pore Cleansing MD System ($260)

Inspired by the high demand of blackhead extractions they heard in the office everyday, Drs. Rodan and Fields created this user-friendly, at-home suction tool that vacuums blackheads and blemishes with help from two interchangeable heads.

Photo Credits: Rodan + Fields
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Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner ($25)

If busting blackheads and nailing a matte finish is what you’re after, this minty-fresh toner delivers. Simply swipe the saw palmetto– and salicylic acid–infused cocktail on congested areas and watch pores—and blackheads—shrink over time.

Photo Credits: Origins
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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Po Facial Steamer ($149)

The perfect compliment to any of these topicals and devices, this brings-the-spa-home tool opens up pores to allow for easier—and less painful!—removal of stubborn blackheads in minutes.

Photo Credits: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
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Proactiv Blackhead Dissolving Gel ($32)

A few uses of this twice-a-week leave-on treatment lifts blackheads, clears clogged pores and delivers a deep clean without making skin feel stripped.

Photo Credits: Proactiv
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REN Clean Skincare ClearCalm Non-Drying Acne Treatment Gel ($21)

Unlike its concrete-like predecessors, this acne gel doesn’t dry out a blemish to death; instead, it infuses the area with naturally derived salicylic acid, botanicals and prebiotic chlorella extract to keep skin healthy and clear, not red and angry.

Photo Credits: REN Clean Skincare
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Dermaflash Dermapore Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser ($99)

This funky looking tool utilizes ultrasonic technology to deliver a (very satisfying) deep-clean by painlessly pushing oil, dirt and gunk out of pores before your eyes. Plus, its sonic vibrations boost the penetration of your topical products deeper into the skin for a double better-skin whammy.

Photo Credits: Dermaflash
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PCA Skin Pore Minimizer Skin Mattifying Gel ($70)

A new addition to my everyday makeup bag, this niacinamide- and oleanolic acid–infused gel instantly mattifies skin, curbs redness, boosts hydration and fights hyperpigmentation over time.

Photo Credits: PCA Skin
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Clinique Blackhead Solutions Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor ($29)

When mixed with water, this unique formula creates a warming sensation to gently open up and loosen tightened pores for easy removal of blackheads. (See above for the ultimate pair.)

Photo Credits: Clinique
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bareMinerals Poreless Clay Cleanser ($22)

Safe to use both morning and night, this creamy clay cleanser—it’s worth noting that the formula is also paraben-free and vegan—helps de-grease oily skin while gently decongesting pores and keeping the skin barrier intact.

Photo Credits: bareMinerals
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Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask ($19)

We’ve all used a clay mask when our skin is bugging out, but creamy and hydrating are the last words we’d use to describe them—until now. This surprising white clay– and salicylic acid–infused exfoliator boasts a milky formula to draw out blackheads and impurities while improving the look of large pores, too. 

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Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant ($62)

The instant this highly active powder formula activates upon contact with water, ingredients including activated binchotan charcoal and niacinamide begin to work their magic as dirt, oil and grime trapped deep within pores—as well as environmental pollutants often creating a dull complexion—all get washed down the drain.

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M-61 Powerspot Pads ($69 for 30 treatments)

Each of these petite clarifying pads is packed with salicylic acid, tea tree, camphor, aloe and witch hazel to cleanse problematic skin, then unblock pores, erase blackheads and reverse blemishes. Focus on your problem areas like your chin and T-zone or, if you have problematic skin in general, the pad contains more than enough treatment to use around the entire face for a clean sweep.

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COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid ($25)

This lightweight serum uses white willow bark water and betaine salicylate to act as a vacuum for stubborn blackheads and prevent new ones from forming. After cleansing, simply apply one or two pumps to problem areas and watch as your blackheads drastically reduce in severity in no time at all.

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Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer with Bamboo Charcoal ($38)

Formulated with pore-purging salicylic acid and micro-fine bamboo charcoal, this refreshing cream keeps skin dewy and clear without plugging pores.

Photo Credits: Origins
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GLAMGLOW SuperMud Clearing Treatment ($60)

This powerful mud mask uses charcoal to draw impurities out of your pores and unclog them right before your eyes. Apply a thin layer to your trouble spots (this works on breakouts, blackheads or ingrown hairs), and you’ll see dots of vacuum extractions through the mud when it’s ready to be removed. Your skin will be left looking healthy and radiant.

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Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar ($14)

Not your average bar of soap, this one contains detoxifying charcoal to deep clean pores from blackhead-causing oil and grime. Lather in between your hands with water, then apply all over your face and body for a total detox. 

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Active charcoal and oxygen work hand in hand in this dark treatment, frothing up and cleansing pores of dirt, blackheads and whiteheads, leaving you with your best skin. 

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Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask ($62)

Daily cleanser, spot-treatment or full-on mask—however you want to use it, this mask is a must-have for oily, congested skin. Umbrian clay works to deep-clean pores and balance skin while also clarifying a ruddy complexion simultaneously. 

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This super thick purifying mud rids skin of any dirt, oil and impurities that are taking up space and enlarging your pores while infusing your skin with a healthy dose of vitamins and moisture. 

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Dr. Jart+ Blackhead Master Patch ($35 for box of five masks; $8 for a single sheet) 

This two-step nose treatment goes beyond your regular blackhead patch. The first step, the dry patch, removes blackheads and whiteheads, and the second step, the moist patch, retightens pores. Recommended for congested T-zones and dark pores, this treatment takes anywhere from 20–30 minutes (depending on how long you want to keep each patch on), and leaves your pores feeling clean and tight. 

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Mario Badescu Silver Powder ($12)

This powder is specifically formulated to target excessive and stubborn blackheads. Once or twice a week, dip a water-dampened cotton ball into the powder and press it onto your nose, chin or any other blackhead-congested area on your face and wait 10 minutes until it’s fully hardened. Wipe off with a toner or astringent, and voila—clean pores.

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Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion ($58)

This professional-grade physical and chemical exfoliator works to reduce the appearance of large pores by removing blackheads and other impurities while keeping oil and shine at bay. In just one use, your skin is smoothed, your blackheads are notably less visible and your pores are tightened. 

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