Troubleshooting Blackheads: What are they? And how can plant-derived ingredients help?

Troubleshooting Blackheads: What are they? And how can plant-derived ingredients help?

Blackheads. No one wants them, but many of you ask about them. Some very common questions we get at Picasso Skin are: How can I get rid of blackheads? And how do I keep from getting them?

Before we dive in, it's important to understand what blackheads actually are. 

Simply put, a blackhead (aka open-comedone) is a congested hair follicle clogged with dead skin cells (mostly keratinocytes), bacteria and oil (sebum) which then oxidizes and turns a dark color. It’s also worth noting that a blackhead is not the same thing as an oil plug or sebaceous filament, which tend to show up on the nose and mimic the appearance of a blackhead. These oil plugs often get mistaken for clogged pores, but they are completely normal and not meant to be messed with.

Blackheads on the other hand, are unwanted guests with a tendency to also overstay their welcome. With that in mind, here are our top tips for giving your blackheads the boot:

Prevention is Key

As we've already discussed, blackheads are clogged or congested follicles, but how is it that they get clogged to begin with? In our experience some of the most common causes are: insufficient cleansing and/or exfoliation, pore clogging (comedogenic) ingredients in other products, or makeup and even internal imbalances in the body. 

Wash regularly

To keep buildup from happening in the follicles, you don’t need expensive treatments or products. The real fix is daily cleansing with a face wash designed for your skin type. This helps purify the skin and prevents blackhead-causing debris from accumulating in the first place.

Exfoliate regularly with AHAs and BHAs


Exfoliation is another great preventative defense against congested skin. More specifically, for addressing blackheads, we find that the most effective form of exfoliation is chemical exfoliation.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) such as lactic acid and glycolic acid as well as beta-hydroxy acids (mostly salicylic acid), are plant-derived acids and in our opinion, work best for dissolving oil plugs and dead skin cells. We also love fruit acids and botanical enzymes - like bromelain and papain - which encourage the exfoliation process, helping your skin to more easily purge impurities.

 Keep the Skin Hydrated and Moisturized

In order to complete cellular turnover at a healthy rate, it is also critical that you fuel your skin with vital moisture and hydration. Although you may be concerned about additional layers of product causing more blackheads, we promise that moisturizing is not the problem.

All skin types need moisture to function properly. In fact, it’s when your skin becomes sluggish from dehydration, that skin processes slow down and unwanted debris really begins to accumulate in the follicles. By applying a moisturizer daily, you’ll be ensuring your skin stays healthy and hydrated and help keep blackheads at bay.

 Picasso Skin’s Product Picks

Ready to tackle blackheads with a few good products? Here are our recommendations:


AHA + BHA Exfoliators



Although many people struggle with blackheads, it's important to know that there are many options available to combat and control these little pests as described above. Taking proactive measures such as washing your skin and moisturizing regularly will go a long way. In addition, plant-derived ingredients, such as those found in many of our products are exceptionally effective at preventing and removing these oxidized, clogged pores and unwelcomed guests.

Lastly, it is also important to note that despite the presence of blackheads, those who struggle with them are still beautiful people. Plus, for most people, with the proper skincare routine and products and ingredients mentioned in this article, one should be able to handle these clogged pores with ease. We sincerely hope this has helped someone out there.

We hope you have enjoyed this 4th article of 7. Please stay tuned for the next:

 Next Article: How to deal with oily skin.

As usual, please feel free to comment below...looking forward to your responses.


Important: Always remain patient when undergoing any skincare routine. It may take weeks to months and even up to 6 months for some users to see very significant results when using over-the-counter products. We are not doctors or dermatologists and our advice is based off of scientific research, our own experiences, available and reliable literature, safety analysis and our customer experiences. Our recommendations are for informational purposes only, so always contact your dermatologist before using any product or starting a skincare routine of any kind. We are always here for you as we are a company who truly cares about our clients satisfaction. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions you may have. 

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