When you look at your face in the mirror, do you see tiny black dots on your nose? If so, you may have blackheads, a very common skin conditioning precursor to basically every type of acne. Blackheads can develop on the neck, back, and chest, however, they are most common in the “T-zone”. There are hundreds of serums, soaps, and moisturizers that claim to remove blackheads but very few of them actually do anything. Many actually aggravate the skin and expand the pores, leading to even more blackheads.
Several readers have asked if waxing could be an effective treatment to remove blackheads. In this article, we will answer the question: Does waxing really remove blackheads? Read up to find out!
What causes blackheads?
Before we explain the best way to remove blackheads, we first need to determine why we get blackheads.
The outer layer of our skin (epidermis) is home to open pockets called hair follicles, each pocket contains one sebaceous gland and one hair. The sebaceous glands produce the oil or sebum that protects and keeps our skin soft and supple. However, when there is overproduction due to hormones, inflammation, or external environmental factors, the oil and dead skin cells can fill the gaping holes, causing clogged pores. This triggers the formation of fleshy dots called comedones. When the comedones seal the opening of the hair follicles, they’re called whiteheads. In contrast, if the holes remain open, you’ve got blackheads.
Other factors can also set off the formation of blackheads, such as cosmetics, high humidity, activities like shaving that expose the hair follicles, and certain health conditions and medications.
Blackheads are a type of acne, a common condition afflicting as many as 50 million Americans every year. Like fungal and bacterial acne and other types of acne, It can also be persistent. Thus, acne treatments abound in the market. However, not all work. Can waxing be one of the more effective ones?
Does waxing your nose remove blackheads?
Waxing can help in getting rid of some blackheads instantaneously. However, it can do more harm than good. Waxing can be painful. And it doesn’t just test your pain threshold. Worse, it can result in hair follicle inflammation and skin irritation. It can also negatively interact with any retinoid creams and other anti-acne products you may be using, leading to chafing and infection. In extreme cases, it can lead to scarring.
Waxing can also tear and enlarge the pores, which makes it easier for bacteria, skin cells, and oil to clog the cell. The larger your pores become, the more likely it is that oil and debris will fill the hole, leading to blackheads and deeper acne breakouts. Therefore, you should avoid waxing to help the blackhead holes on your skin return to normal size.
You also shouldn’t be waxing if:
- You have a wart or mole on your nose or face
- You’ve got sunburn or any open areas like wounds
- You had laser skin therapy within the past 12 months or a chemical peel within the last two years
- You’ve undergone tanning in the past 24 hours
- Your skin becomes extra sensitive when you have your period
- You have varicose veins
Does hard wax remove blackheads?
Hard wax may indeed remove blackheads. This type of wax is first applied warm and then hardens, enabling customized molding to the body or facial feature to be treated. Once the wax has set, you can then remove it with your hands along with the blackhead that’s stuck to it.
The evident risk is the possibility of getting burned, causing blisters. You may also experience such side effects as skin rashes and allergic reactions.
Is cold wax for blackheads effective?
Unlike hot waxing, cold waxing uses strips pre-applied with a wax solution. The cut pieces are then pressed onto the body parts to be treated.
Although this type of waxing may help with blackheads, it is less precise than hard waxing because you can’t contour the wax to fit the targeted skin zones. Also, even if you aren’t likely to get burned from the cold wax, it may still cause sun sensitivity, skin irritations, and folliculitis.
Does ear wax remover work on blackheads?
If you’re thinking about ear wax removers (or ear wax removal kits) as a possible miracle solution to this dilemma, you may want to rethink that.
Ear wax removers work to lubricate and loosen the wax buildup in the ears. The solution can be any gentle oil that you use for the skin, such as mineral oil, baby oil, or glycerin. Others use a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide, 50% water, and a mild disinfectant.
While these can be beneficial in dissolving ear wax, they can have a different effect on your blackheads. Depending on the solution, your ear wax remover can either clog your pores (mineral oil) or even irritate the skin (hydrogen peroxide).
Do wax strips remove blackheads?
Removing blackheads with wax strips is another popular means to get rid of blackheads. Just take out a piece from the store-bought pack, unpeel it and press it onto your nose or facial area with blackheads. Then hold one end firmly and pull the strip in the other direction.
The caveat is that wax strips may also cause inflammation. And just like pore strips, they can also worsen rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
Best ways to remove blackheads
Blackheads can initially look harmless, but they can lead to such problems as hyperpigmentation and keloid scarring—not a pretty sight. To keep your skin healthy and blemish-free, you’ll need an effective and safe solution. Fortunately, some products and treatments don’t just work but also get you out of harm’s way. Here are a few we recommend.
1. A healthy diet
You are what you eat, or better yet, your skin is what you eat. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, then you know the best way to have clear, healthy skin long-term is to follow a low inflammation diet.
Here are some must-eats for clear, smooth, and glowing skin.
- Salmon/Mackerel/Sardines – These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation and keep acne from forming.
- Oysters – Oysters are not only delicious but also have loads of zinc. This nutrient may help in killing acne-causing bacteria. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve swelling from acne and reduce residual acne scarring.
- Turmeric – This favorite Indian spice is a top anti-acne ingestible. It has curcumin, an anti-inflammatory micronutrient that cuts the growth of acne-causing bacteria. You can boost your green smoothie with turmeric powder or sprinkle your food with it.
- Green tea – This beverage is packed with catechins, another plant-based micronutrient that fights inflammation and free radicals. Research shows that green tea is beneficial in addressing acne by minimizing sebum production.
2. Use Skincare Products Strategically
If you want to clear blackheads, we recommend using gentle, non-comedogenic products. These products use naturally grown or developed ingredients, so they don’t include any harsh chemicals that can damage your complexion. The GoodGlow team has put together a list of “blackhead-safe” facial cleansers that anyone looking to clear their blackheads should seriously consider. The list contains over 10 options, so there is a good fit for every budget and skin type.
For instance, Clearstem Skincare’s Clearity Blackhead dissolver is a powerful exfoliating serum that uses Vitamin C and mandelic acid to remove excess dirt and oils without stripping the skin of essential skin oils or inflammation. It boasts of having AHA mandelic acid, a natural derivative of bitter almonds. This potent ingredient helps unclog pores, calm active breakouts, regenerates skin cells, and stimulates collagen production without irritating the skin.
Also, if you are interested in blackhead-removing tools, check with your dermatologist or a licensed skincare professional before doing anything yourself.
3. Minimize stress
Many people are surprised to learn that stress greatly contributes to acne. Stress can alter the hormones, trigger insulin spikes, and prevent healthy gut bacteria from developing. This is especially common in teenagers who suffer from hormonal acne.
4. Watch out for external factors
One of the most common ways blackheads develop from external factors in contact with your skin. This includes your hands, sheets, pillowcases, soaps, and clothing.
While waxing may be used to pull out blackheads, this treatment can destroy your skin in the long run, especially in the face. If you find clogged pores in less sensitive areas like the stomach the risk would decrease significantly. Regardless of the type of waxing method, it can be dangerous, particularly if you have diabetes or circulatory problems. So why take the risk with your skin and your overall health?
If you cannot clear your blackheads, naturally, you should speak with your dermatologist about medications like Accutane. However, before you do this, there are several natural remedies you should try that come with far fewer side effects. Instead, go for beneficial skincare products and skin-loving food that can help get you beautiful and blackhead-free skin effectively and safely. Check out our ebook to discover how your diet can naturally clear your skin.