Blackheads are dark spots on the surface of the skin which indicate that there is an opening of the pore that is clogged by debris.

A blackhead is not a pimple but can lead to a closed form of acne in the pore when bacteria attack the blockage and lead to what is commonly known as a white head.

What is the difference between a blackhead and a whitehead?

Blackheads range in color from a slight yellow appearance to various shades of brown and black. The main difference between a blackhead and a whitehead is that if the pore is open, the sebum will appear darker when exposed to air.

A whitehead that has formed over the pore closing it off not allowing any air to come in contact with the sebum which prevents oxidation of the oil.

What Causes Blackheads?

During certain periods of a person’s life or during times of stress, the sebaceous glands are overstimulated and create too much sebum which is a natural chemical produced by the body to moisturize the hair and skin.

When pores become blocked through this overproduction, a blackhead forms and the sebum turns dark when exposed to air at the opening of the pore.

Some blackheads and other acne are not caused naturally but by unintentionally blocking the pores with creams moisturizers, sunblock or other types of cosmetics and makeup.

Does stress cause acne?

There is no evidence that stress directly contributes to the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands, however, stress may lead to more fidgeting with bacteria laden hands on the face which can lead to clogged pores.

What Are Blackheads? Home Remedies for Blackheads
Credit: By Hilda Bastian (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Do Certain Foods Cause Acne?

According to most research, various foods such as chocolate do not cause acne or blackheads, nor do they make them worse. There is some evidence that shows limiting dairy products can be beneficial to the skin.[1]

It is not recommended that you pick or pop out blackheads either with your fingers or blackhead removing tools since this can often lead to scarring of the skin. Your fingers are typically filled with bacteria so touching the area actually makes the problem worse.

How to Remove Blackheads

There are several ways to get rid of blackheads but scrubbing will not help and squeezing blackheads is not recommended. You need to gently massage your skin with a mixture that forms a mask in order to remove the dead skin cells and debris that is clogging your pores.

While there are many commercial products you can buy, here are several home remedies for blackheads. The reason these combinations work is because many of their ingredients have antibacterial properties which reduce the bacteria in the pores. 

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Natural Mask for Removing Blackheads

The best home remedies for pimples is to maintain a regular cleansing routine using a homemade cleanser with antibacterial properties. Drying facial masks help pull blackheads out of your pores allowing the face to firm and absorb any excess oil produced by the sebaceous glands. Best of all, the are not harsh like some of the commercial products you can buy at stores.

When using any of the following recipes, allow the mixture to dry, then rinse first with warm water which is better at cleansing the skin. Do not ever use hot water when washing your face directly, or allowing it to come in contact with your face when taking a routine shower as it tends to redden the skin.

Honey and Cinnamon Mask

Mix a small amount of honey with a teaspoon of cinnamon and massage it gently on your face or other acne prone area. The honey will cling to the debris blocking your pores as you massage your face. Honey also has antibacterial properties so as it clears pores, it fights bacteria within them. It is one of the best way to get rid of blackheads. Rinse with warm water, followed by cool water.

You can also make a similar thicker mask by mashing a banana and combining it with a tsp of honey

Epsom Salt and Iodine Mask

Combine 1 tbsp. of Epsom salt with several drops of iodine. Before applying to your skin, the salt should be dissolved completely. Dab the mixture on the skin with either a cloth, sponge or cotton swap. Allow it to dry for several minutes, then rinse with warm, then cool water.

Toothpaste and Sea Salt Mask

For one best way to get rid of blackheads mix a small amount of toothpaste and sea salt in a bowl and gently massage  on your face where you are experiencing blackheads.  Allow the mixture to dry for at least 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then cool water.

Oatmeal and Yogurt Mask

Begin by combining ¼ cup of yogurt with 2 tbsp. of whole oatmeal. Add a few drops of lemon juice and olive oil. Mix thoroughly, then gently applying onto the bridge of your nose or other problem area. Rub it over your skin and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse after several minutes with warm water first, then cool water to close the pores.

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How to Reduce Pimples

What Are Blackheads? Home Remedies for BlackheadsCredit: By Elecbullet (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThere are several things you can do to limit the amount of acne and blackheads on your face and body.

Clean your cellphone daily  with antibacterial wipes to remove bacteria before putting it up to your face for use.

Avoid wearing any type of ball cap, you may irritate the area on your forehead under the cap especially if you are outdoors or exercises strenuously.

If you are experiencing severe acne, try changing your pillow cases every other day since they absorb oil from the face and can harbor bacteria.


Through a combination of preventative measures and routine cleansers, blackheads and other forms of acne can be managed. The home remedies provided in this article are just a few of the options that will exfoliate and unclog your pores.

To prevent acne from returning, maintain a cleansing routine and avoid touching your face with your hands, keep your hair pulled away from your face and routinely clean any device that comes in contact with your skin including hats, phones, hands or pillow cases. With proper care and moisturizing, you skin will remain firm and youthful.