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How to Pop Blackheads (The Right Way): Ultimate Step by Step Guide on how to Pop a Blackhead

by Christine GlasgowOctober 18, 2016

Very important!!! Before thinking about popping your blackheads, please read this first.

Blackheads are a common feature on almost every person’s face. Take a close look in the mirror and focus especially on the nose. What do you see? If you have blackheads, you will probably notice a lot of tiny black marks all around your face. They are quite tiny, and often quite dark. There’s no correlation between the darkness of the blackhead to the color of your skin. Blackheads, by virtue of their name, have to be black. You can’t have brown-colored blackheads although in some cases, the gradient might vary slightly.


Most people don’t really understand the nature of their skin. By its very design, your skin protects the tissue lying underneath. Your skin requires a considerable amount of water to maintain its elasticity. Unless you keep yourself properly hydrated, it won’t be long before your skin begins to crack or wrinkle. Blackheads and pimples are quite common if you don’t treat your skin properly. Learning how to deal with them can be slightly difficult, especially if you don’t know much about how they occur and what you can do to fix the problem.


However, before we talk further about whether or not you should pop a blackhead, it’s important to understand some facts about your skin. Your skin is made up of a series of different layers. There are three main layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis, which is the outermost layer, is responsible for creating a waterproof barrier. It also helps in creating the skin tone. On the other hand, the dermis, which is the layer that exists right underneath the epidermis, is the layer of the skin that contains the sweat glands and, most importantly, tiny hair follicles. The last layer of skin that lies beneath the dermis is known as the hypodermis.


Even if you don’t have hair on your skin, there are hair follicles that exist underneath. The last layer, the hypodermis, contains a number of connective tissues and is largely composed of fat. Our focus lies on the dermis, which contains these tiny hair follicles. The hair follicles generally grow out of your skin through minuscule pores. These tiny pores are located all over your skin. They become most prominent on your face, as that is generally the part of the skin that’s directly exposed to the sun and external elements throughout the course of the day.


Popping Blackheads – The Science Underneath It All

So far, you’ve gained a clear idea about the layers of the skin. Now, let’s focus on blackheads for a bit. Your skin produces this oil-like substance that’s known as sebum. It is designed to regulate moisture on the skin. You might have noticed that some people have quite oily skin. It’s difficult for them to apply makeup and keep it there for a longer period of time. After all, that’s the reason why there’s a whole separate section for oil-free makeup at the local super market.


Every second of the day, your skin is shedding millions of dead cells and making new ones in its place. If you maintain a healthy diet and exercise properly, the effects will first begin to show on your skin. Most of these dead skin cells fall off from the surface. However, in some cases, they might get stuck in the open pores. This happens when your skin produces more oil than the body required. The excessive oil might create a layer on the open pores, essentially creating a trap for different kinds of bacteria on the skin and the dead skin cells.


The sebum oil traps bacteria and skin cells, which then becomes “clogged” in the pores. However, that still doesn’t explain what turns them black. Basically, the sebum oil contains this pigment called melanin. When the sebum reaches the top of the pore, it reacts with the oxygen in the air, causing a reaction known as oxidization. As soon as the melanin oxidizes, it takes on a darker appearance. And thus, a blackhead is formed.


Now, under ideal circumstances, I would not recommend you pop blackheads. There are a number of different ways by which you can remove them.

Here’s the 3 best ways to effectively get rid of blackheads instead of poping them and prevent them from coming back


1. Use a Blackhead Vacuum Suction

The market is full of hundreds of different blackhead removal tools that you can purchase. Each of them offers different benefits, so it’s important that you choose the right on. The good thing about a blackhead vaccum cleanser is that it sucks the dirt from the root —  This helps a lot if you don’t want the blackhead to come back.

One of the best blackhead remover or removal tools in this category would be the Vikeepro Blackhead Removal Electronic Facial Pore Cleaner below. Remember to open up your pores with steam or other method to make this more effective.

The Price: Usually cost anywhere between $25 to $129 on Amazon. The one below cost $100 but it’s on sale for only $41

You must take a warm shower or steam your face with a towel prior to using. And then you can use it gently to suction the blackhead and acne out. You can use it 2 times for a week.


Electronic Facial Pore Cleanser Blackhead Vacuum Extraction

Pore vaccum blackheads cleanser


Buy from Amazon

2. Use a facial cleansing brush

This often consist of a rotating or pulsating brush head with tiny vibrating bristles that lightly scrub your skin and help promote a breakout-free, bright complexion.

A quality cleansing brush for oily skin and acne can do more to help clean your pores and heal and prevent pimples than your fingers and soap alone — provided you are selecting the right one and taking good care of it.

I use the Clarisonic Mia2 — it’s the best one in the market right now. It’s a bit more expensive, around $129, but this baby is a miracle worker.

The Price: The handheld devices range in price from $100 to $265, while replacement heads ring out to about $30.

Clarisonic Mia2 Cleansing brush system


3. The Clever Clay Mask

There are a number of different clays you can choose to use to make a mask but the most effective for those with a blackhead problem is Bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is actually formed out of volcanic ash and contains a number of skin loving minerals that are drawn in by the skin as the clay draws impurities out.

Not sure where to buy it? It’s actually available in both health stores and via online on Amazon for rather reasonable prices. Once you have got your hands on some it is simple to mix it with water and make use of it as a very effective once a week mask treatment that will really help zap blackheads for good.

Here’s hands down the best clay mask to get rid of blackheads: The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, I wrote a full article about it here . It cost less than $15 on Amazon.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing clay

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Buy from Amazon


In some cases, squeezing a blackhead might be the only way to get rid of it immediately if you want to use nothing but your own hands. All other methods require a little bit of time to work. The steps guide below is not the most effective way since you might affect the area and cause a breakout but here’s how to do it right without making a mess if that’s the only option you’ve got.

How to Pop a Blackhead- A Step by Step Guide (5 Steps)


First of all, you need to know which blackheads you can target. Not all blackheads should be popped. It’s a temporary solution, so the blackheads are more than likely to return. However, you should turn your focus to blackheads that have existed on your skin for a long time. You will notice that they are darker than the others. Think of it like pushing the “reset” button. The blackhead won’t permanently go away, but it will be much easier to deal with when it does return. Make sure that you don’t squeeze every single blackhead on your skin. Some might be covered by the opening of the pore, so squeezing will just damage the skin around the blackhead.



Start by using a mild skin cleanser. If you use harsher cleansers, it will just damage your skin and increase sensitivity, thus making it impossible to squeeze properly.



One of the best pieces of advice that I often give to readers is that you should take 20 minutes to apply steam to your face. You can either keep your face close to a bowl of hot water or you can sit in a nice, hot shower to let the pores open. Steam helps to keep the pores open and will also soften the blackhead, allowing you to pop it easily.



Do not touch the blackhead directly with your finger. Your fingers probably contain more bacteria and will just exacerbate the problem. Instead, take a tissue and wrap it around the index finger of each hand.



Then, target the blackhead by bringing each index finger from opposite sides and squeezing them. You need to be gentle. There’s no need to try and scrape the blackhead using your nails. Instead, try to create a rolling motion as if you are applying pressure from underneath the blackhead.

After a couple of squeezes, you should start moving your fingers about, so that you aren’t just focusing on a singular area of the skin.


Remember, the key is to not apply too much pressure. If a blackhead is ready to pop, it won’t require a lot of pressure. Older blackheads are generally larger in size, which is why it doesn’t take very long to pop one. There will be times when you can squeeze out 2-3 blackheads in a swift motion and then dust them with a tissue.


Popping Blackheads on Your Nose

Now, the nose is a slightly tricky area, which is why you need to be a little bit more careful when popping blackheads here. Here’s how you should pop a blackhead on the nose.

  1. Use your thumbs, not your index fingers. You need to use them to “brace” the opposite side of the nose.
  2. You can use your other thumb to do the same rolling action while pushing down on the skin.
  3. In some cases, using a blackhead extractor tool seems like a wise choice. A blackhead extractor or remover tool , like the one below. It’s made out of stainless steel, and is mainly used by professional beauticians.
  4. The tool basically allows for the application of pressure on a specific, targeted region. This will allow you to remove the whole blackhead or at least loosen the blockage so that you can pull it out by using the same rubbing motion.


Final Note

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to pop their own blackheads — because picking and poking your zits just might make its appearance worse. You are at risk for more inflammation which may leave a scar. Use one of the 3 methods above to make sure this is done properly to avoid any sort of infection or scars.

Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.
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