What Happens If You Don't Remove Blackheads

What Happens If You Don't Remove Blackheads

What Are Blackheads and What Are Their Causes?

Blackheads look like tiny dark dots on the surface of your skin. While they may seem like specks of dirt, they're actually the visible surface of clogged pores. Over time, dead skin cells, oil, and sebum (a natural oily substance produced by your body) can build up in the pores of your skin. This forms a small bump that eventually spills out onto the skin's surface. Once that buildup exposes itself to the air, it starts the process of oxidation, ultimately leading to that darkened or black appearance.

There are many reasons you could develop blackheads on your skin. Here are some of the most common potential causes:

  • Dead Skin Cells: Without proper routine exfoliation, you'll likely experience a buildup of dead skin cells. This can also occur if your natural skin cell regeneration process isn't up to par.
  • Hormones: Changes in hormone levels occur all of the time for a variety of reasons. The most notorious culprits include puberty and pregnancy, but stress, dietary changes, and aging can also affect them.
  • Improper Hygiene: If you're not keeping yourself and your environment as clean as you should, it could be the reason your skin is suffering. In addition to keeping your face and neck clean, it is incredibly important to wash your skin thoroughly after you work up a sweat. You should also change your bed sheets at least once a week; dirty linens could transfer more bacteria and oil back onto your skin, adding to the existing buildup in your pores.

There are many more reasons you may be dealing with an influx of blackheads. Pay close attention to how your skin reacts after using certain products. Genetics and your skin type may also be to blame. If you're having trouble pinpointing the exact cause, a dermatologist may be able to help.

What Happens if You Don't Remove Blackheads?

The human body is very self-sufficient and it has a lot of systems in place to deal with unwanted substances, both internally and externally. Will blackheads go away on their own? In some cases, yes. Your skin undergoes natural self-exfoliation on a daily basis and it sheds some dead skin cells and buildup even without the help of products or scrubbing. Many blackheads will be removed during this biological process. Even so, it's not always the most efficient method.

Some untreated blackheads are a bit more stubborn than others and can become inflamed or infiltrated by bacteria. What happens if you don't remove blackheads like these? They'll likely turn into deep blackheads and, eventually, pimples.

Some untreated blackheads are a bit more stubborn than others and can become inflamed or infiltrated by bacteria. What happens if you don't remove blackheads like these? They'll likely turn into deep blackheads and, eventually, pimples.

Because blackheads are a type of clogged pore, they can become painful, red, and swollen, and can even develop pus down the road.

How to Treat Blackheads

If you want to know how to get rid of blackheads and keep them from coming back, these products and tips can help. Try a combination of options to see which ones work best for your unique skin.


Because most blackheads aren't usually inflamed or painful at first, they can be very easy to treat. This is especially true if the surrounding skin has not been irritated or damaged. These particular options offer speedy results.

Pore Strips

Pore strips are a must for every skincare routine. They're very effective at instantly removing blackheads and other types of pore buildup for fresher, cleaner skin. You shouldn't use pore strips on broken skin, but this usually isn't a problem when you're dealing with just blackheads.


Best Seller
Regular price From $12.49

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel uses powerful ingredients to remove the most superficial layers of the skin. The buildup in your pores is removed in the process, resulting in fewer blackheads. Many people love this type of treatment because it also makes for smoother, more radiant skin. For a gentler option, you can use a daily chemical exfoliant in the form of a toner with Glycolic Acid or Witch Hazel.

Treatment Masks

For a gentler approach, try a clay or charcoal mask. These products help draw material out of your pores, so they're a great way to get rid of blackheads. Keep in mind that these types of masks aren't usually recommended for daily use. Once or twice a week is a good place to start.

Professional Extractions

If you're dealing with a lot of pesky or persistent blackheads, you may want to schedule a professional extraction from your dermatologist or esthetician. This helps you get the instant results you want without risking unnecessary damage to your skin. Many people prefer this alternative when they have a big event coming up.

Retinoid Products

The right ingredients can make all the difference in treating clogged pores. Look for products that contain retinoids, a vitamin A derivative that helps clean out your pores and treat blackheads. It's also a great preventative treatment that helps reduce dead skin cell buildup. Keep in mind that most people are sensitive to retinoids at first. Start with a low dosage and give your skin time to adjust.

How to Prevent Blackheads

No matter what type of skin issue you're dealing with, prevention is always your best option. Develop some healthy habits by following these suggestions and you'll stop many skincare problems before they even have a chance to start.

Build a Solid Skincare Routine

To keep blackheads from popping up, you must keep your skin clean while maintaining the proper balance of natural oils. Use a good cleanser to wash your face twice a day and after you exercise. You should also exfoliate your skin anywhere between one and three times each week. Physical exfoliants can slough away dead skin cells and buildup, but chemical ingredients, like beta hydroxy acids (e.g. salicylic acid) and alpha hydroxy acids (e.g. glycolic acid) can also do the same trick.

Every time you cleanse or exfoliate your skin, be sure to follow up with a moisturizer. This keeps your skin from drying out and producing more oil to compensate, resulting in more clogged pores. If you have oily skin, opt for a lightweight product to keep your skin soft and smooth but not greasy.

Use Non-Comedogenic Products

Many beauty products contain ingredients that are known to settle into pores and lead to more clogs and breakouts. When shopping for skincare products and makeup, look for the words "non-comedogenic" on the label. This means they aren't made with pore-clogging ingredients and are much better for your skin.

Keep Your Skin Clean

Cleansing alone isn't enough to protect your skin from excess dirt and oil. Keep your bedsheets clean, especially your pillowcases, by washing them at least once a week. Make sure that any fabrics you put near your face are also cleaned often. This includes hats, scarves, headwraps, and headbands.

Get Smart About Hair Care

If you have oily skin, there's a good chance oily hair is an issue for you too. This can create more blackheads, so keep your hair clean and try to choose a style that keeps it out of your face. You'll also want to be mindful about the hair products you use. Some may contain ingredients that can clog pores and irritate your skin.

What Not To Do

No matter how tempting it may be, you should never try to remove your blackheads by:

  • Picking
  • Extracting
  • Squeezing
  • Popping

Most of the time, this will only make clogged pores worse by ramping up inflammation and bacterial exposure. Remember, your fingers could potentially transfer a host of unwanted material to your face.

Trying to squeeze or pop blackheads can cause hyperpigmentation or irritate your blackheads. Too much manual manipulation can also aggravate your skin and may even lead to scarring. Be as gentle with your skin as possible to protect it and keep it healthy.

Key Takeaways

  • Blackheads are clogged pores in which the buildup has darkened from exposure to oxygen. They can be caused by numerous issues, including hormonal imbalance, poor hygiene, and a buildup of dead skin cells.
  • Sometimes, your body will take care of blackheads by itself through the natural process of skin exfoliation. However, some blackheads can develop into pimples if left untreated.
  • There are plenty of professional and over-the-counter options for successfully treating blackheads, from pore strips and masks to professional extractions and treatments. Prevention is just as important, so develop a healthy daily routine to keep clogged pores under control.
  • Never pick at, squeeze, or pop your blackheads yourself. You'll only make matters worse. If extraction is a must, see a pro instead.

When it comes to protection and health, your skin can usually take care of itself. This is true even when it comes to blackheads. However, if you want a complexion that's fresh, bright, and smooth, you might want to help it along by building a proper skincare routine and good lifestyle habits.

SHOP Best Sellers