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What are blackheads and how can you get rid of them?

In pursuit of smooth, clear and bright skin, we’ll go to great lengths! But it can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve tried all manner of products and techniques to remedy skin that’s acting up, but find yourself floundering and flip-flopping to manage it.

The quickest route to a remedy, especially when it comes to continually clogged pores, blackheads, acne or random breakouts is to consult an expert and devise a plan of action that is based on proven results with expertise driving it. Clear Skincare Clinics are a good place to start, as they offer advanced, doctor-developed and results-driven treatments with a range of approaches depending on what you’d like to achieve. Including, like the name says – clear skin! 

What are blackheads and what causes them?

In this increasingly filter-loving society, the lack of visible pores on faces and bodies on social media has contributed to a lot of us becoming fixated on our own, most-definitely visible ones. In particular blackheads, the tiny dark specks that take up residence in our pores, leading us to think everyone is looking at them. Spoiler alert: although they are visible to us, it’s fair to say our friends and family aren’t quite so aware of them. Still, it would be nice to vanquish them once and for all!

Blackheads, medically-known as open comedones, form when the opening of a hair follicle becomes clogged or plugged with dead skin cells and sebum, a natural oil formed by your sebaceous glands that are located adjacent to the follicle. On contact with air this material becomes oxidised and appears black, hence the name blackhead. Though they are most commonly seen on the face, you can get them anywhere there is a hair follicle. 

They differ to whiteheads because a whitehead is a closed or almost closed comedone, that’s also commonly in an irritated state. 

What can I do to get rid of them?

The tricky thing is, even when a skin issue, like blackheads, is incredibly common, it doesn’t always mean it’s a straightforward route to fixing it.

A blackhead is not dirt, so excessive scrubbing and over-cleansing is not guaranteed to help – on the contrary, you might stimulate your skin into producing more oil! It’s why expertise can be the quickest way to a solution. 

At home skincare

Clear Skincare Clinics have its own range of targeted at-home skincare with active ingredients that support the maintenance of clear, healthy skin. 

Any approach that causes excessive irritation to the skin should be avoided but using products designed to minimise dead skin cell build-up and keep pores clear is a good idea. In particular those with salicylic acid like the Clear Skincare 2% Salicylic Toner are a great start as the ingredient is known to help keep unplug pores and prevent sebum build up. Salicylic acid, derived from plant and bark, is able to enter follicles and dissolve oil, sebum and dead skin cells.

Occasional use of a gentle exfoliant like Clear Skincare’s Microdermabrasion Creams, particularly if you’re dealing with blackheads on your body, can also be useful. 

Extracting them with your fingers by squeezing – while tempting – puts you at risk of damaging skin or the capillaries nearby or contaminating skin by introducing bacteria from your fingers. If you can’t resist, try Clear Skincare’s Easy Squeeze tool. The small tool uses a unique patented vertical pressure, which is applied onto the clogged pore and helps encourage it to give up the contents whilst minimising skin trauma and associated scarring. 

In clinic at Clear Skincare Clinics

Some approaches available at Clear Skincare Clinics that help to minimise the appearance and recurrence of blackheads are also designed to smooth and strengthen skin, and many of the benefits remain long after each treatment.

Microdermabrasion (seen above) is a simple, straightforward option that’s a godsend for deep cleansing pores with a deep, even exfoliation that won’t damage skin. The treatment, suitable for most skin types, clears skin congestion, refines open pores, improves texture and encourages your skin to naturally renew itself. After a cleanse, the skin is passed over with a diamond tip wand and suction twice to remove the dead skin cells that lead to skin congestion. An active serum is then applied before a moisturiser and then BB cream.

Clinical-strength Skin Peels use naturally-derived acids to dissolve the surface layer of old, dead skin skin and stimulate the regeneration of new skin without manual exfoliation. Renewed skin is then clearer, smoother and more even.There are a number of peels available, but the Salicylic Acid Skin Peel for clearing is particularly useful for dealing to blackheads. It deep cleans pores, removing whiteheads, blackheads and skin congestion. It is also very effective at fading the marks left by acne and breakouts. The process involves application of a treatment product onto the surface of skin for a short period before it is cleansed away. 

Additionally light therapy can be used to soothe inflammation, rejuvenate skin and stimulate its natural healing processes. Clear Skincare’s LED Light Treatments use varying wavelengths of light, including red and blue, in a non-invasive, calming treatment that is popular for helping treat acne as the blue wavelength can help fight and destroy the bacteria that causes it. The bank of lights is simply placed near your face to deliver its benefits and can be used in conjunction with a number of other treatments to best target your concerns, including recurring blackheads. 

Signature acne treatment

If its not just blackheads that are the issue but ongoing – and unpredictable – breakouts, it’s worth seeking advice on further treatments that might help. Clear Skincare Clinics have become well known for a unique acne approach. In particular, they have developed a signature acne treatment using a process called ‘sebaceous gland ablation’, or SGA for short. Sebaceous glands are small oil-producing glands present in the skin. These glands can occasionally start overproducing oil, clogging the skin and leading to breakouts, often in the same place. SGA precisely targets the cause of acne using heat to destroy rogue sebaceous glands, without any impact on surrounding healthy skin, effectively stopping the acne cycle in its tracks.  They’re so proud of it, they even offer the first treatment for free. 

  • For the best approach appropriate for your skin type, visit one of Clear Skincare Clinics’ locations for a consultation or visit clearskincareclinics.co.nz. With over 80 clinics across Australia and New Zealand, and more than 20 years experience in skin and aesthetic treatments, the brand’s highly trained doctors, nurses and therapists are drawing on a wealth of knowledge to deliver great results. 

Selena Gomez’s ‘feel good’ makeup collection lands here

Celebrity beauty lines are landing at an astonishing rate these days, and this week is no different with the arrival of Selena Gomez’s makeup collection Rare Beauty at Sephora.

However, even if you only have passing knowledge – or interest – in the Texas-born singer, her collection is one to seek out regardless, as its performance is very good and there are lots of worthy options to add to your makeup bag. 

According to Gomez, who worked on the line for two years before it first launched in the US in September last year, the collection is intended to help everyone celebrate their own individuality.

Having spoken often about the pressure of social media and the pervasive, unrealistic standards of perfection it often fosters, Gomez is insistent that Rare Beauty is intended to offer makeup that you can “feel good in, without hiding what makes you unique.”

The Rare Beauty website states the brand’s vision is “to create a safe, welcoming space in beauty – and beyond – that supports mental well-being across age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, cultural background, physical or mental ability, and perspective.”

“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand, says Gomez. “It can make an impact. I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and just start embracing our own uniqueness.

Part of that vision includes Gomez establishing the Rare Impact Fund which has pledged to donate 1% of all Rare Beauty sales to help make access to mental health services more accessible, especially in underserved communities. 

Along with an online store, information on the products including full, detailed ingredients lists and a shade finder function, the Rare beauty website also shares considerable resources on mental health education. 

“Mental health is personal for me, Gomez states. “Figuring out how to manage my own mental health hasn’t always been easy, but it’s something I am constantly working on and I hope I can help others work on, too.”

The Rare Beauty ranges offers complexion, lip and eye makeup products. 

In terms of the products, the well-received makeup collection offers light, airy and buildable formulas with face products in an inclusive number of skin tones (48 foundation shades!) and creative modern colour options that go on with no-fuss application. 

Our pick of the bunch is the blush, both the Soft Pinch Liquid Blush that comes in matte and dewy finishes and is able to be dabbed on cheeks with a wand applicator and the Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush, a cream form with vibrant shades that gives a beautiful soft-focus finish. 

The rest of the collection includes liquid lipstick, primer, eyeliners, blotting paper, brushes and more. 

Rare beauty is available from Sephora NZ now.