Out of a panoply of skin concerns you may encounter, blackheads are one of the most confusing and difficult to oust. And people with all skin types can deal with blackheads, not just oily and acne-prone. The best blackhead remover for 2021 can help you extract those pesky things but it’s important to understand exactly what they are first. Did you know they aren’t actually pimples? People talk about blackheads hand-in-hand with whiteheads but they’re not that alike. Here’s a quick rundown.
You’ve probably seen the best blackhead removers online and in beauty supply stores. They’re not vacuums. These are actually called comedone extractors. They’re small and generally affordable, with two loops on the ends. Comedone extractor are basically tools that take the place of your finger when releasing blackheads from your pores. They’re often safer—as long as you’re careful. That’s because blackheads don’t “pop” like a pimple does. The black dot you’re seeing is actually sebum and dead skin cells that have hit the air and oxidized, turning black.
So, how do you use a blackhead removal tool? Well, carefully. You’ll want to clean the tool with alcohol first so you don’t get bacteria on your face and cause more issues. Then, you put the spot inside the loop and press gently. If nothing comes out, stop and talk to your dermatologist. You don’t want to press too hard, scrape or rub the tool on the skin or you can cause tissue damage.
You should only have to use the best blackhead removal tool once in a while. For daily maintenance and to keep blackheads from forming in the first place, you’ll want to make sure you’re incorporating chemical exfoliating products into your beauty routine. Cleansers, serums and masks with glycolic acid, a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (or AHA), will remove those dead skin cells and control sebum production. And poof! No blackheads to form.
If you incorporate an AHA into your routine, as well as a good oil-free moisturizer that doesn’t clog your pores, you’ll be sure to increase cell turnover and have less dead skin cells sitting in your pores. But if a blackhead or two still pops up, you can shop the best blackhead removal tools, below. It’s good to have one around just in case. Wash your face with warm water and apply a warm washcloth to your skin. This will help relax the pores (note: they don’t “open” and “close”) making it easier blackheads to come out.
It’s important to ensure you’re not trying to extract any type of blemish that isn’t “mature” enough, meaning it’s still under the skin. You want to wait until you see a blackhead pop up or an actual white pustule make an appearance. This might not happen right away. Your spot might need a few days (use that AHA cleanser!) to be at the surface and ready to extract. Cystic acne needs a dermatologist or esthetician to remove. Put down the needle. You can cause scarring, or worse, an infection. This would be the time to book that facial appointment you’ve been wanting or to talk with a doctor about a new skincare regimen.
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Bestope Blackhead Remover Pimple Comedone Extractor Tool
You get five different tools in this handy kit, which includes a carrying case to keep them clean plus a guide for each tool.
Tweezerman No-Slip Skin Care Tool
This stainless steel blackhead remover features ridges so your fingers don’t slip causing skin injury.
Ulta Blackhead Extractor
When you’re looking for the best blackhead remover, this strange contraption might not look like the right tool. But it can be helpful in extracting tough blackheads. The fine point tip gives you control to remove the blackhead safely.
Sephora Collection Double-Ended Blemish Extractor
Use the small loop for whiteheads and a flat side to extract blackheads.
Venicare Blackhead and Pimple Remover Kit
This 7-piece kit includes all different sizes for different blemish removal, plus a travel case.
Zoe Ayla Deep Cleansing Kit
Not only does this 7-piece set include four double-sided extractors, but it also comes with two silicone fingertip scrubbers and a silicone cleansing pad. You can use the pad to gently wash your face with an AHA-infused cleanser to break up dead skin cells. The little finger pads are helpful for getting hard-to-reach gunk. Of course, there’s a helpful carrying case, too.
Foamily Professional Blackhead and Blemish Remover
You can’t get more affordable than this simple tool that does the job it promises. It’s still stainless steel and has that textured grip.
SpaLife 5-Piece Blemish Extraction Set
How chic is this rose gold? These might just be the prettiest blackhead removal tools we’ve seen—not that the bar is super high for a skin care tool. It comes with a clear carrying case so the color really stands out.
Japonesque Skin Clearing Tool
If you’re looking for the best blackhead remover at Target, well, take a second look at this one. It actually has rubber on top of the stainless steel for a truly non-slip handle. If you’re a beginner, this one will be especially easy to use. Just like with other tools, the smaller hole is for blackheads and the larger one is for other pimples that have come to the surface.
USColor 6PCS Dual Heads Blackhead Remover
This six-piece kit includes just about the biggest range of sizes we’ve seen. If you aren’t sure what size you need, there will definitely be the right size here. Pro tip: use the smallest size for blackheads and larger ones for whiteheads. Don’t press more than a few times before giving your skin a rest. It’s possible the blackhead just isn’t ready to come out yet.
A version of this story was published on September 18, 2020.