Blackheads happen to the best of us, and they arise when your hair follicles are clogged with excess sebum. "Blackheads are essentially an accumulation of skin oil and dead cells that get trapped within the pores on the nose," explains dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. "Because the pores are large, the blockage is visible in the form of a black dot." Like people with no manners, they always show up unannounced and force you to deal with them. Most of the time, blackheads aren't even a result of you neglecting your skin—the annoying tiny dots decide to take a pit stop on our skin whenever they want to.
But don't let blackheads deter your skin from living its best life. Thankfully, there are blackhead treatments to put them to rest.
When searching for the best blackhead treatment, it's important to ID certain ingredients. For instance, glycolic acid is like a magic eraser for blackheads. So any product that has a hefty amount will combat clogged pores. We all have been around the block with blackheads a few times, so we're right there with you in the struggle. Byrdie editors have countless blackhead remedies, and the below outshine the rest.
"I mentioned this exfoliating-masking hybrid last week in Hallie's story, but I truly can't stop kicking myself for not using this sooner. (The 'woes' of being a beauty editor—an epic overstock of products.) I've been using it twice a week immediately after cleansing, and I notice my blackheads have significantly decreased. (I get lots of little tiny ones on the sides and tips of my nose.) The formula is incredibly lightweight, clear, and, thus, fuss-free, and you only need to leave it on one to five minutes for it to work its tingly magic." — Erin Jahns, assistant editor
"I use Renée's Pore & Wrinkle serum more as a preventative measure than a treatment, but as a combo skin type, I apply this AHA- and BHA-infused formula at night three times a week to keep my clog-prone pores in check. It tingles just the way you want it to (just a teensy bit so you know it's working) and results in a glowy complexion and pores that are generally less clogged than they would be otherwise." — Amanda Montell, features editor
"I actually learned this tip from Padma Lakshmi, who's unexpectedly a total natural beauty guru: If your pores are super clogged, simply smear raw honey all over your face, let it sit there for 20 minutes, and rinse. Honey is antibacterial (and obviously sticky) but also really gentle so it draws out the impurities in your pores without screwing with the pH balance." — Amanda Montell
"When my blackhead situation is out of control, I reach for these trusty pore strips. I've always had blackheads, and these guys have been by my side through some pretty dire times (read: middle school). I know that dermatologists can be pretty divided on them, but I swear there's nothing more satisfying than pulling one off and seeing all the gunk that was in my nose. So gross yet so satisfying. " — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I first caught wind of these when I saw Charlotte Cho, the founder of Soko Glam, use them on her Instagram. These "peeling sticks" come individually wrapped and look like large cotton swabs, except the cotton part is soaked in exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid and glycolic acid. I apply this over my nose and chin after I get professional extractions and notice that it prevents my blackheads from coming back as quickly as usual." — Faith Xue
"Eve Lom's Muslin Clothes are probably not exactly the product you'd expect to help with blackheads, but they do. I wash my face using them each morning and night—first applying cleansing balm to dry skin, working it in, and removing with a steamy cloth to really get everything off. The texture of the cloths, though, is where the magic lies. They're not fluffy or entirely soft, just structured enough to do a gentle exfoliation as I wash. I've noticed a significant reduction in the number and size of my blackheads as a result.
It's a miracle." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"When I want to pull out the big guns, I go from Renée Rouleau's Mint Buffing Beads. The exfoliating formula uses natural jojoba beads, as they're better for your skin and the environment, to buff away dullness, dead skin cells, and, yes, you guessed it, blackheads. All the while offering a super minty, invigorating formula and super lit-from-within glow." — Hallie Gould
"I think the key to removing deep blackheads (and estheticians tend to agree) is to extract them physically. This can be tricky because too much pressure can make matters worse, so finding a way to lift the clog from the pore first makes for a much easier process. These nose packs from Skin Miso do just that by lifting sebum to the surface so you can go in with a comedo remover and gently remove any buildup. It also comes with a 'silky essence' to help prevent future clogs. I've noticed such a difference in the number of blackheads on my nose after using this.
Plus, it's so satisfying to get all the gunk out." — Lindsey Metrus, managing editor
"First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Pads are my secret weapon for keeping blackheads at bay. After cleansing, I take a single pad and swipe it around my face, concentrating most of the exfoliating acid on my nose and chin, which is where I'm most prone to breaking out. I let it sit for two to three minutes while the glycolic and lactic acids dissolve pore-clogging gunk, and then I follow up with a moisturizer. After I'm done, I see a real and visible difference in the clarity and radiance of my skin.
It's my go-to product, and it has been for years." — Kaitlyn McLintock, news writer
"Cecilia Wong's Blemish Peel Mask is intense, which is why I don't use it often. I only reach for it when I feel like my blackheads and blemishes are out of control. Even though it makes my face temporarily red and tingly, in an hour or two, the result is super-smooth, bright, and clear skin. It's thanks to sage, spearmint, and kaolin clay, which draw out impurities, detoxify the skin, and boost the circulation of oxygen. Like I said, it's intense, which is why I wouldn't recommend it to someone with sensitive skin.
If you have normal to oily skin, though, and blackheads are an issue, this might become your new favorite product." — Kaitlyn McLintock
"I've yet to meet a mask as hardworking as this one. Bold statement, I know, but it's true. This Supermud Mask has a texture that you have to mentally prepare yourself for. It's far from gentle, but when you're dealing with blackheads, it's not time to play nice. This mask is full of activated charcoal and six acids. Whenever I need a heavy-double skin overhaul to zap blemishes and unclog my pores, I reach for this. It might not be the most relaxing mask, but it gets the job done and my skin feels totally renewed afterward." — Maya Allen, assistant editor
"If I'm on a mission to transform the texture of my skin, which turns dull and uneven when I'm tired and stressed, I slather these pads all over my face. I tend to get blackheads the most on my nose. So annoying. And these pads contain 30% glycolic acid, which lifts dirt and smoothes over those rough surfaces. Since I have sensitive skin, I use one pad every two days as a preventative measure." — Maya Allen
"Another powerful pad for the win. These little gems are made of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and witch hazel to deep-clean your pores and diminish the look of dark spots. Honestly, one of these is all my skin needs when blackheads creep in. What I love the most is how soothing they are because of the tea tree oil. My skin is prone to scarring, and sometimes blackheads even leave behind little marks. I find that they fade away quickly when these pads are in rotation." — Maya Allen
"The name explains it all—this mask is essentially a vacuum cleaner for your face. Don't be scared, though. It's safe. When your pores are in need of an overhaul (aka, you spot a blackhead), this acid-filled mask will lift dirt, debris, and oil." — Maya Allen
"Made of Mediterranean rose clay, this mask is good for you for many reasons. For one, clay-based masks take the power back from your pores by ridding your skin of gunky buildup. And if you're dealing with dark spots or acne-prone skin, this will lighten them and leave your skin looking radiant. I'm very into this mask because it works magic when it comes to exfoliating. My skin always feels baby-soft and rejuvenated after leaving this on." — Maya Allen
Don't even trip the next time you spot a blackhead. As long as one of the above tried-and-true treatments are in your arsenal, your skin will remain sucker-free.