The removal of blackheads is more than just a simple skin care step at this point—it’s now bordering the likes of a sacred ritual. Weekly pore purging is beyond satisfying, and the fascination doesn’t just end at cleaning out our own pores. People have become obsessed with watching others clean out their pores as well—just look at how many millions of people follow Dr. Pimple Popper and her blackhead-removing videos.
Because of this fixation, people have begun getting super creative when it comes to cleaning out blackheads. The latest example? Skin gritting. According to Refinery29, Reddit users on the SkincareAddiction thread are using this new technique to remove blackheads through a special, three-step cleansing method that brings all the gunk (which they’ve nicknamed “grits”) to the surface of the skin.
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The steps are as follows: First, they clean their skin with an oil cleanser, followed by an application of a clay mask. Then, they use the oil cleanser on their skin again, however, this time they forcefully scrub their skin to loosen the blackheads and bring the oxidized sebum to the surface where they’re finally removed.
If you need proof of this method’s efficacy, just check out the pictures of extracted blackheads post–skin gritting that are currently all over Reddit (it’s a bit unsettling to see, actually). However, while these images are pretty convincing, it’s still important to avoid going overboard when scrubbing away the debris in this fashion: “Massaging the oil cleanser in will help loosen blackhead plugs and physically encourage their removal somewhat, but the concern is that vigorous massage will irritate and inflame sensitive skin, so do it gently,” says New York dermatologist Rachel Nazarian MD. Additionally, Dr. Nazarian recommends swapping out the clay step for something that works a bit better against blackheads. “Ideally ingredients that better help dissolve blackheads would be used in this, such as those that contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid. Clay, although a good cleanser, isn’t really targeted for blackheads.”
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So, the takeaway here is that while skin gritting might work in terms of loosening up blackheads, it shouldn’t necessarily be used all the time otherwise all that vigorous rubbing will wreak havoc on your skin. Instead, try swapping in products with glycolic acid or salicylic acid—like Dr. Nazarian recommends—to keep blackheads at bay without the risk of damaging your skin.
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