Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose

Blackheads are not embedded dirt in your face; they are clogged pores on the skin that have blackened masses of oil and debris inside. They occur when sebum, an oil that your body naturally produces, builds up in a pore and causes a blockage.[1] Dermatologists call blackheads “open comedones” because they remain open to the air, which causes the debris inside to oxidize and results in the “black” coloring.[2] Several conditions and circumstances can cause blackheads, the most common being oily skin. Luckily, you can treat blackheads with simple steps.


Treating Blackheads With Your Skincare

  1. Wash your face twice a day, every day. This is the easiest and one of the most important methods for treating blackheads. Regular washing helps remove impurities and keep your skin and pores clean.[3]
    • Wash your face with water and a mild face cleanser two times a day. You should also wash your face any time you’ve sweated a lot, such as after exercise.
    • Use your fingertips to gently massage the cleanser into your skin in small circular motions. Never scrub or scrape at your skin or use “exfoliating” washes or products. These can actually make blackheads worse.[4]
    • Don’t forget to moisturize with a skin-type appropriate cream.
  2. Buy a skin cleanser or cream that contains benzoyl peroxide. This medication is the most commonly used for acne, including blackheads. You can find it in a range of skincare products, including cleansers, creams, gels, and lotions.[5]
    • Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria on your skin that can cause inflammation and pimples, P. acnes. It may also reduce your skin’s natural oil production, which can help keep pores from getting clogged.[6]
    • Children under 12 and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant should talk to a doctor before using products that contain benzoyl peroxide.[7]
  3. Buy a skin cleanser or cream that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps break down the oils in the pores and may keep skin cells from clogging pores, resulting in smoother and clearer skin. When used consistently, it can even prevent future blackheads from forming.[6]
    • Use a salicylic acid face cleanser to wash your face and/or apply salicylic acid cream to your face.[8]
    • You should not use any other skin products except mild cleansers when using salicylic acid without first consulting your doctor. Do not combine it with other treatments such as benzoyl peroxide unless specifically prescribed.[9]
    • Caution: Keep this medicine away from the eyes & mouth and outside your nose. If the medicine does come in contact with those areas, immediately flush with water for 15 minutes.[8]
    • Consult with your doctor before using salicylic acid if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant. If you have ever had diabetes, kidney or liver disease.[9]
  4. Ask your doctor about products that contain retinoids. Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, and in the US they are usually available by prescription to treat acne. Retinoid creams help unclog existing blackheads and improve the way skin grows and sheds dead skin cells. Regular use of retinoid creams causes the outer skin layer to even out and get thicker, while the outer dead layer of keratin material sheds more efficiently. Sometimes there is noticeable peeling, but after regular use of three to seven times weekly for four to six weeks, the side effects lessen and the skin appears clearer.[6]
    • Caution: retinoids are photosensitive and should only be used at night. Never go outside or into the sunlight with it on. Wear sunscreen when you do go into the sun.
    • There are some retinoid products that are available over-the-counter, such as adapalene gel (or Differin gel). It is a little milder than prescription preparations and is available at most drugstores.
    • You may actually see an increase in blackheads and other acne for the first two to four weeks. This is normal with retinoid therapy, and your skin will improve significantly after this initial period.[10]
  5. Clear your skin with a clay mask a few times a week. Bentonite clay is a mineral-rich healing substance that draws out oils or other impurities locked in the pores. When using this type of clay mask, the skin gets to soak in all the minerals while the clay draws out the blackheads. Add in a little jojoba oil to help moisturize your skin.[11].
    • Use one tablespoon of Bentonite clay.
    • Add water to form a paste.
    • Using clean fingertips cover your face with a thin layer of paste.
    • Let it sit for 10 – 25 minutes.
    • Rinse off with lukewarm water.
  6. Use pore strips once or twice a week. Pore strips may help provide immediate improvement for plugged pores. However, pore strips can dry your skin and thus, you should only use them once or twice a week.[12]
    • Wash your face with soap and lukewarm water.
    • Thoroughly wet your nose and apply the strip.
    • Let the strip dry for about 10 – 15 minutes until stiff to the touch.
    • Carefully peel off the strip and the blackheads with it.
    • Avoid using on acne blemishes or swollen, sunburned, excessively dry skin, or skin prone to spider veins.
  7. See your dermatologist. Dermatologists can provide treatments such as chemical peels and blackhead extraction in sterile, safe conditions. These are professional methods that should be done only as recommended by your dermatologist. Chemical peels are fairly effective for treating blackheads.[13]
    • Your dermatologist may also perform a “comedo extraction,” using a small surgical tool to remove your blackheads. This should only be done by a trained professional. Attempting to extract blackheads at home using tools could cause infection and permanent scarring. You may be a good candidate for extraction if your blackheads keep coming back despite other treatments.[14]
    • A trained professional aesthetician can also provide many of these treatments, but you should always consult with your doctor or dermatologist before getting a chemical peel, extraction, or other skin treatment.[15]

Treating Blackheads with Home Remedies

  1. Understand that home remedies may not work. Natural and home remedies are very popular, but unfortunately there is little evidence that most of them work for blackheads.[5] Some people will see better results than others.
  2. Apply tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is one of the few natural remedies to be clinically proven to work in most cases. Use a product containing at least 5% concentration of tea tree oil, or apply 100% tea tree oil directly to blemishes.[16]
    • It can take longer for tea tree oil to work compared to benzoyl peroxide. However, tea tree oil does not usually cause the side effects that the harsher chemicals do.[17]
    • Do not ingest tea tree oil. It is toxic when consumed.[18]
  3. Make your own pore strips using honey. A pore strip mixture made with honey, lemon juice, and egg white will help heal your skin and reduce blackheads. Honey has natural antibacterial properties that will help kill acne-causing bacteria on your ski.[19] The egg whites will thicken the mixture and the lemon juice will help with brightening the skin. Mix together 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 egg white, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a small bowl.
    • Add 1-2 drops of an essential oil. Try calendula oil, which helps accelerate skin healing and is antibacterial.[20] Lavender oil is also antibacterial, and can soothe and calm you as well.[21]
    • Heat the mixture in the microwave for about five to 10 seconds. Do not overheat! Applying an overheated mixture could seriously burn your skin.
    • Spread a thin layer of the mixture over the blackheads.
    • Press a strip of cotton over the mixture and let it dry for 20 minutes.
    • Carefully peel the strip away and rinse your face thoroughly with cool water.
  4. Take a sauna or steam facial. A steam bath will help open your pores and can also treat blackheads by using an antibacterial essential oil.
    • Boil 1 quart of water. Add one to two drops of herbal essential oils. Try any of the following:
      • Peppermint or spearmint. Both of these contain menthol, which is an antiseptic and can help boost your immune system.[22]
      • Thyme. Thyme oil is antibacterial and helps open up blood vessels.[23]
      • Calendula. Calendula is antibacterial and can help accelerate skin healing.[20][23]
      • Lavender. Lavender is also antibacterial and will help soothe and relax you.[23]
    • Let the boiling water cool briefly. Cover your head with a light towel and hold your face over the steaming pot for 10 minutes. Keep your face at least 12 inches away from the water so you do not burn or scald your skin.
    • Wash your face with a mild cleanser and moisturize.
  5. Try a blend of vinegar and essential oils. Vinegar contains acetic acid,[24] which has been shown to help reduce acne.[25] Creating a blend of vinegar and orange and sweet basil essential oils, which both have antibacterial properties, may help get rid of your blackheads.[25]
    • Dilute 1 tablespoon vinegar with 2 tablespoons water. Add five to 10 drops each of orange essential oil and sweet basil essential oil to the dilution. It is important not to have a solution with more than 3 – 5% concentration of oils. Start with the lower concentration and increase it if necessary, but not past the recommended amount.[26]
    • Use a cotton swab or pad to apply the treatment to your blackheads.
    • Do not go into the sun after applying this treatment, as orange essential oil makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight and you could burn.[27]

Preventing Blackheads

  1. Keep your hair clean. Your hair contains natural oils that can be transferred to your face. Keeping your hair clean will help prevent the spread of oil, which can cause blackhead breakouts.[4]
    • Try keeping your hair pushed off your face, too.
  2. Avoid heavy makeup. Many makeup products contain oil that can clog pores. Look for mineral-based makeup or makeup products that say “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free.” This will help prevent future blackheads and will not aggravate existing ones.[6]
  3. Use an oil-free moisturizer that also contains sunscreen. Moisturizers that contain oil may make blackheads worse. Choose a moisturizer that contains sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin from the sun.[28]
    • Stay out of the sun and don’t use tanning beds. These increase your risk of skin cancer. Additionally, some acne medications can make your skin very sensitive to sunlight, and you could burn.[3]
  4. Avoid overwashing. Washing your face too often can leave it dry and irritated, which can make existing blackheads appear worse.[3] Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You should also wash your face after sweating.
    • Do not scrub at your skin. This will make your blackheads worse.



  • Wash and moisturize your face daily but exfoliate and/or use pore strips only a few times a week to prevent your skin from drying excessively.

Sources and Citations

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  20. 20.0 20.1 Efstratiou E, Hussain AI, Nigam PS, Moore JE, Ayub MA, Rao JR.Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis petal extracts against fungi, as well as Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical pathogens.Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):173-6.
  21. Sienkiewicz M, Głowacka A, Kowalczyk E, Wiktorowska-Owczarek A, Jóźwiak-Bębenista M, Łysakowska M.The biological activities of cinnamon, geranium and lavender essential oils. Molecules. 2014 Dec 12;19(12):20929-40.
  22. Kamatou GP, Vermaak I, Viljoen AM, Lawrence BM., Menthol: a simple monoterpene with remarkable biological properties.Phytochemistry. 2013 Dec;96:15-25.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2
  25. 25.0 25.1
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