Blackheads or Open Comedones are a form of acne, which can turn into pimples & cause scarring.

The common home remedies patients employ these range from the benign and ineffective (bitter gourd/neem packs, steaming the face) to the somewhat effective (mint clay pack) to the popular and dangerous (DIY charcoal masks, manual extraction). The important thing to realize is that over enthusiastic blackhead removal can actual cause more damage by pushing infection deep into the skin, by causing trauma and scarring and leaving open pores.

The best treatment plan, which I employ in my practice and for my skin starts with rigorous home care - a salicylic acid based cleanser/gel during the day and a combination of topical benzoyl peroxide & prescription retinoids at night. Thus prepped, the skin often clears up in a week or two. Alongside, manual extraction can be done using gentle suction accompanied by gentle chemical peels (wet dermabrasion such as a HydraFacial - which I have used for five years. We now use a different custom made device that has more applications.) Mechanical extraction if desired can be done using a clean flannel cloth with gentle pressure after steaming the face - about once a month - and followed with proper toning. Another thing to bear in mind is that in old age, the skin loses elasticity and the pores become prone to collecting debris - forming what are called 'senile comedones'. The above methods work for all skin types and age groups.


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