In a perfect world, we’d all have a silky-smooth, soft, and radiant skin. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, we’re faced with pollutants in the air, bacteria living all around us, the imperfections of the physiological processes our body undergoes, and the stroke of luck we get from the gene pool we’re made of.
So, it’s quite understandable how difficult it can be to achieve, let alone maintain a flawless appearance of the skin.
One of the most annoying things standing on the road to heavenly skin is comedogenic acne, or as you might know them - blackheads and whiteheads.
Blackheads and whiteheads are the mildest forms of acne, but the most annoying ones. No matter how well you take care of your skin, they’re still there. You might have tried squeezing them out, getting a facial, using nose strips, special creams, and masks, but nothing worked.
It’s time to give natural home remedies a chance to help you finally get rid of comedogenic acne. And, if you ever wondered why, when, and how can natural ingredients be effective for skin troubles, we’ll start from the beginning.
Keep reading to find out exactly how and what works best as a home remedy for blackheads and whiteheads.
Our skin loves oil and needs its moisture to function properly. This is why we have sebaceous glands in the skin - small glands that secrete an oily substance (sebum) into the hair follicles, to lubricate and moisturize the skin.
It’s all great and perfectly normal, until the oil, hair, dirt, debris, and, dead skin cells plug the pores of the surface of the skin. Once this happens, the plug hardens and you can feel small bumps that look like white or black dots.
Both blackheads and whiteheads are called comedones.
Blackheads are a plug of sebum, debris, and dirt in a hair follicle. The pore is open and we see the plug which is dark because it undergoes an oxidation process. They’re also called “open comedones”.
Whiteheads are also a plug of sebum, debris, and dirt in a hair follicle, but the pore is closed, and the plug is trapped inside the pore. Unlike blackheads which can sometimes be pushed outside the pore, whiteheads are comedones with a thin layer of skin above them and appear as a raised white bump. They’re also called “closed comedones”.
Comedones are the most basic type of acne and are typically in a mild form, and painless. Problems occur when bacteria get involved. The clogged pore offers a perfect environment for the bacteria living on the skin to start growing. Overgrowth of bacteria triggers the immune system which leads to inflammation, redness, pain and a more severe type of acne.
This highlights the importance of regular exfoliation to keep the skin clear and clean.
Among the variety of beauty products on the market, natural home remedies have a well-deserved reputation as remedies against blackheads and whiteheads. Here’s why.
There are several reasons why people turn to natural home remedies for skin ailments.
First of all, home remedies are “natural” which appeals to most people. Although, we don’t like this term because most of the chemicals in cosmetics are also technically natural, and I believe we shouldn’t have an aversion toward the word “chemical”, what makes home remedies different from the beauty products on the market is the production process. Cosmetic products are processed when active ingredients are isolated, combined, and blended to produce the greatest effect for a specific problem. This is why sometimes they are too harsh or unsuitable for sensitive skin. Home remedies can offer a milder approach, with you being in charge of what ingredients you want to put on your skin.
The second, and probably the most common reason for using home remedies for problems like blackheads and whiteheads is that they are practical and cheap - meaning easily accessible to everyone. Most of the stuff you’ll need, you can already find in your fridge, and the other you can buy in your local supermarket for a very low price. They’re easy to make and won’t take much of your time.
Third, home remedies are powerful. Being cheap doesn’t make them ineffective. A lot of people swear on natural home remedies. While anecdotal evidence has been piling up over the years, scientific research has also given support for many of the natural ingredients.
If you know your skin type and learn how to combine and use the best home remedies for blackheads and whiteheads, you will most likely see your skin improve. But it takes patience, effort, consistency, and most of all - realistic expectations.
Over time, you can see improvement in your skin texture and tone, reduced appearance of whiteheads and blackheads, clearer skin, and a more healthy, glowing look overall.
However, don’t look at the remedies as a magical fix that will change your skin in a couple of days or weeks. That’s impossible no matter what you’re using.
The road to radiant, flawless skin is a long one and it takes the commitment of a lifetime.
You can get the best results if you use home remedies in your skincare routine regularly, combined with skincare products that work well on your skin type.
Lemon juice is highly acidic and capable of drying out and shrinking the pores. This is good news for people with oily skin since it can soak up the excess oil from their skin’s surface and prevent pores from clogging. Tightening the skin and shrinking the pores can prevent oil and debris buildup, which leaves no room for the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
Additionally, lemon juice has potent antibacterial properties which can reduce inflammation on the skin.
Lemon juice as an ingredient with one of the most powerful effects on the skin, but it also comes with several side effects.
Lemon juice is not recommended for people with dry and sensitive skin, because of its highly acidic nature, which can cause irritation and redness.
If you still want to get the benefits you can use it in small amounts as part of a blend with other gentler ingredients.
Also, if you decide to use it directly on the skin, it’s best to apply it as a spot treatment, rather than spread it on the whole face. It can very easily overdry the skin and trigger the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive which will produce a counter effect. To prevent this, always use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer after treating your skin with lemon juice as a remedy.
Apple cider vinegar is another strong acidic remedy with similar effects as lemon juice. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It’s considered an astringent and it can also dry out and shrink the pores. Besides, apple cider vinegar can balance the skin’s pH levels and remove dead skin cells, helping you clear your skin.
The best way to use apple cider vinegar is by diluting it with water and applying it directly on the skin with a cotton pad. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with eight ounces of warm water and gently apply on the affected areas of the face. Let the substance act on the face for about 20 minutes and then wash your face.
As with lemon juice, the same precautions apply for the apple cider vinegar. If you have dry or sensitive skin it’s better to use some of the other alternatives mentioned here that might be a lot more suitable for you.
When you finish with the treatment, always use a moisturizer. You don’t want to dry the skin too much and cause adverse effects.
On the other side of things, we have baking soda that has an alkaline nature. When it comes in contact with acids (the skin’s surface is acidic) it produces a reaction which alters the skin’s pH levels. By altering the acid mantle of the skin, baking soda prevents the natural secretion of oils and dries the skin. If your skin is too acidic this can be a good thing.
For example, if your skin is inflamed, red, or irritated, baking soda can help. It can shrink the pores, soak up excess oil, and reduce inflammation. It’s a common ingredient in many natural homemade recipes for pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
To use baking soda on your skin, mix equal amounts of the ingredient with water. You’ll get a smooth paste, which you can gently apply and massage on a clean face. After 5-10 minutes, wash your face with lukewarm water.
Tea tree oil is a very famous ingredient present in many skincare products. It’s most commonly used for treating acne vulgaris, inflamed pimples, and comedones. It’s a highly anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredient.
You can buy pure tea tree oil extract in almost any drug store or even online. You can use it directly on the affected areas of the skin. If this is too strong for you, you can always dilute it by blending it with other remedies.
Jojoba oil makes a good combo with the tea tree oil. You can mix both oils and use them directly on the skin. Leave the blend for about 10 minutes on the skin and then rinse off.
A powerful natural remedy that soothes the skin and cleanses the pores. It has antioxidant and antibacterial properties which will help prevent the development of whiteheads and blackheads. The antioxidant ability will prevent damage on the skin and keep the pores healthy and clean, while the antibacterial properties will keep bacteria away from your pores.
Additionally, aloe vera promotes the absorption of skincare products which means you can use it before applying a more specific product.
You can use aloe vera in a combination of other remedies, or apply pure aloe vera gel directly on the skin. The best part is, you can extract the gel yourself if you have an aloe vera plant in your home.
Some of the most famous home remedies with aloe vera are blends with lemon juice, honey, tea tree oil, and turmeric. Check our article on "Aloe Vera For Acne" where you can find a lot of recipes combining aloe vera with other beneficial substances.
Avocados can act as an amazing moisturizer for the skin because of its high content of fatty acids. They’re loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamins A, E, B, and K. What can you ask more, right?
The omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improving acne lesions, as well as the comedogenic type of acne, because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
So, if you have dry or sensitive skin and you’re unable to use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, avocados are the natural remedy tailored just for you.
Another way in which avocados are good for comedogenic lesions is because of a protein found in them called sterolins. This protein helps whiten the skin and reduce the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
You can make a powerful facial mask by mixing banana peels with avocados. Bananas are filled with antioxidants and vitamins good for the skin. Prepare the avocado by cutting it in half, scraping it off from the peel and blending it along with one banana peel. After you mix well and get a paste-like consistency you can gently apply it on a clean face and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. After this, wash your face with cool water.
Honey is naturally antibacterial, which means it will prevent acne-causing bacteria to invade your pores. It’s full of antioxidants and helps scavenge free radicals. It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow, but without making your skin greasy. Its sticky consistency will help the mixture stay on the skin for some time, in the meantime, allowing all the nutrients to absorb into the skin.
So, how can you use honey to remove blackheads and whiteheads?
In a small bowl add two strawberries, 2 teaspoons of honey, and a ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Grind the ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Apply this paste on the skin and leave it for 15-20 minutes. After this, you can wash your face with lukewarm water.
The strawberries can also help reduce blackheads and whiteheads by cleansing the pores that are blocked.
Witch hazel, like tea tree oil, is a popular ingredient in skincare cosmetics, many of which are designed target comedones. It’s a famous remedy because it contains astringents which cause the cells to shrink, reducing the possibility of oil and debris buildup.
Witch hazel can also help in controlling the oil production on the skin, as well as reduce inflammation.
You can buy pure witch hazel extract and use it to make DIY face packs, or add a couple of drops in your skincare products.
If you’re using witch hazel as a pure extract directly on the skin, have in mind that’s highly potent and can cause irritation and dryness.
If you want a gentler remedy, you can mix it with chamomile.
In a small container add some chamomile herbs (more herbs - stronger potion) and pour witch hazel over them. Fill the container with witch haze, close it well and store it in a cool and dry place for two weeks. It’s recommended that you shake the container every add, and check if it needs more witch hazel. After two weeks, your tonic is ready to use. You should strain the liquid and use it any time you feel the need.
Anecdotal evidence has shown that rose water is effective as a home remedy against whiteheads and blackheads. This is most likely because rosewater balances the skin’s pH and promotes healthy circulation. It helps open the pores and unclog them.
To use rosewater as a home remedy mix it with almonds.
In a blender, grind almonds to make an almond powder and slowly add rose water until you get a thick paste. Gently apply the paste on the face for about 20 minutes and then wash your face with lukewarm water.
Turmeric has is all - antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s considered to be an amazing healing agent that successfully battles redness, itchiness, hyperpigmentation, pimples, and comedones. Turmeric contains fatty acids, vital vitamins, and minerals.
One way to use turmeric is to mix one tbsp of it, with two tbsp of mint juice. Stir well until the ingredients mix and you get a homogeneous mixture. With a cotton ball apply the tonic on your face and let it dry for 10-15 minutes. After, wash your face with lukewarm water.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols – antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals. Along with other polyphenolic components, they also help lower inflammation in the body, which is one of the main causes of pimples.
Additionally, green tea help balances the hormones in the body, which can bring you relief from the annoying breakouts during that time of the month.
So, adding a green tea mask to your skincare routine a couple of times a week can help you control and reduce blackheads and whiteheads on the face.
You can go for the simple option and make yourself a home remedy from green tea alone. Mix a tablespoon of leafy green tea with a few drops of water so that you create a paste. Gently apply the paste on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes after which you can wash your face.
You can also mix green tea with honey, turmeric, or baking soda.
Egg whites are really popular for removing blackheads and whiteheads because they’re excellent at tightening pores. This is due to albumin, the key ingredient responsible for this pore-tightening property. They can help remove current blackheads and whiteheads, as well as prevent new ones from breaking out.
Because an egg white mask can leave your skin tight and dry, it’s best to mix it up with honey. The antibacterial properties of honey will work perfectly in clearing the pores and killing any bacteria present.
To make this mask you’ll need one egg white and one teaspoon of honey. All you have to do is mix the egg white with the honey and stir well until the ingredients blend. After this, apply the mask on your face and leave it to dry off. Wash off with lukewarm water.
Charcoal is a wonderful ingredient that attracts the toxins trapped in our skin. A charcoal mask will attract and bind with the impurities inside your pores, so when you pull the dry mask off, the dirt and debris will get out of the skin’s surface too. Just be careful, it can dry out the skin if used too often. Use it once or twice a week, and always apply a moisturizer after using it.
All you need to do is mix 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder, 1 teaspoon of green clay, and 1/2 teaspoon of warm water. Stir well until you get a smooth consistency of the paste. You can use a makeup applicator, a sponge or a brush to apply the blend evenly on your whole face. Avoid the area around the eyes. Let the mask completely dry and then wash your face with cool water. You can repeat the procedure once or twice a week for best results.
One really popular method for removing blackheads and whiteheads is by scrubbing your skin with natural ingredients. And of course, the most frequently mentioned is brown sugar. This process can be a powerful exfoliating tool, which will open your pores and let the active ingredients feed the skin. But, is it safe? Well, it depends on how you do it, but it’s not recommended for people with sensitive or problematic skin. The sugar is rough and the rubbing can irritate the skin and cause redness and even aggravate the comedones even more.
So, even if you think your skin can handle it, be very gentle.
With that being said, here’s one recipe from which you can make a sugar scrub.
You’ll need 2 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon granulated brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon honey and a couple of drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients and then gently massage your face with the mixture for 5-7 minutes. Let it sit on the skin for another 5 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Your skin should feel very soft and smooth.
Our bodies are not perfect at handling all the things that are happening in the inside, as well as the outside environment. Sometimes, the stress, hormonal changes, genetics, lifestyle choices, harsh climate, as well as pollutants and bacteria in the air can become too much for the skin to handle and we’ll get breakouts in milder or more severe form.
The good thing is that blackheads and whiteheads are the most basic form of acne, and they’re painless and less visible than inflamed or cystic pimples. The bad thing about them is, they’re probably the most annoying acne lesions and amazingly hard to get rid of.
Combining medicinal and cosmetic products like AHAs, BHA, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids, with natural home remedies might do the trick.
Just, don’t overdo it. Be patient, be consistent, and take your time to learn what works best for your skin type.