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Best blackhead remover 2023: Remove blackheads with the best masks, exfoliants and skincare tools

Purge clogged pores and keep blackhead-causing gunk at bay from just £5

Blackheads are unwanted tenants that are super hard to evict. They’re like squatters, only they’re hiding in your pores. Dead skin cells and sebum (aka oil) are the pore-clogging culprits, and it’ll take a top-notch skincare routine to kick any pesky black dots to the curb.

Blackhead removal has progressed heaps since the advent of pore strips — a trend that can remain in the 90s — thanks to face masks, chemical exfoliants and safe-to-use extraction tools that hygienically draw out the debris from pores without damaging delicate skin.

Eliminate any temptation to pick, push and prod clogged pores (we’ve all been there) with our line-up of the best blackhead removers. These heavy lifters use a recipe of hero active ingredients or gentle manual extraction techniques to reveal clean, fresh complexions. Hallelujah!

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How to choose the best blackhead remover for you

What are blackheads?

Thinking that trapped dirt, grime and leftover makeup contribute to blackheads is a common beauty faux pas. Blackheads, also called open comedones, form when dead skin and sebum combine to clog tiny hair follicles. These pore-plugging materials oxidise and turn black once they touch the air, which is how they came to be named.

How to get rid of blackheads?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news but blackheads are notoriously tricky to treat and often reappear after a few weeks, if not days. The best line of defence is to regulate oil production and make sure that dead skin cells are regularly getting sloughed away. A balancing skincare regime that includes exfoliants will be your complexion’s knight in shining armour.

Is it safe to extract blackheads myself?

Attempting to extract a blackhead (or two) yourself can be a painful process. In fact, dermatologists claim that this only pushes the inflammation deeper into the skin which can lead to scarring. Beauty therapists incorporate blackhead extractions into facials and peels, so leave stubborn spots to the professionals and treat your skin to a pamper.

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The best blackhead removers to buy in 2023

1. Best cleanser for blackheads: CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

Price: £12 | Buy now from Boots

CeraVe’s SA Smooth Cleanser is formulated with 0.5% salicylic acid: a hero active ingredient for removing blackheads. Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) which means it’s a chemical exfoliant. In a nutshell, the acid penetrates deep into pores to dissolve sebum and debris while gently exfoliating the outermost layers of skin. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties soothe angry, red blemishes that pop up.

The CeraVe cleanser has earned dermatologists’ seal of approval thanks to its fragrance-free, non-comedogenic formula that’s made without harsh physical exfoliants. Lather up the creamy cleanser on wet skin and massage into areas that get easily congested like the nose, forehead and chin. Although, we’d recommend using this product a few times a week or once daily since it can be stripping on drier skin types.

Buy now from Boots

2. Best blackhead remover tool: Dermaflash Dermapore

Price: £89 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Extracting blackheads yourself is a risky business but we’re happy to put our pores into the hands of Dermaflash’s expert skin tool. The Dermapore gently massages gunk out of clogged pores with its ‘Extract Mode’ feature. It sounds gross, but it’s oddly satisfying. Whether you like to do your pore-purging over a sink or in the shower (it’s waterproof to boot), the tool’s curved spatula hugs the contours of your face to achieve a thorough clear out.

Skincare nerds will also appreciate that the Dermapore makes your skincare regime work even harder. Its ‘Infuse Mode’ uses a gentle tapping motion to help work serums and moisturisers deeper into your skin. We’re big fans of its pastel aesthetic, too.

Buy now from Cult Beauty

3. Best chemical exfoliator for blackheads: The Inkey List Apple Cider Vinegar Peel

Price: £15 (30ml) | Buy now from Cult Beauty

The Inkey List took the beauty world by storm when it launched in 2018. Formulating results-driven skincare without costing a mint, The Inkey List helped to bring otherwise inaccessible active ingredients to the masses. Combining a recipe of 2% apple cider vinegar, 10% glycolic acid and a 5% multi-fruit blend, the Apple Cider Vinegar Peel transforms dull, congested skin into its glowy, smooth potential.

Star ingredient, glycolic acid, is classed as an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which means it exfoliates the skin’s surface to slough away the dead skin and debris which clogs pores and causes blackheads. Prevention is definitely easier than cure, so apply the gel textured peel to damp skin and leave it to work its magic for no more than 10 minutes.

Buy now from Cult Beauty

4. Best retinol for blackheads: Paula’s Choice Anti-Ageing 1% Retinol Booster

Price: £48 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

An anti-ageing hero with pore-purging powers, incorporate the Paula’s Choice Anti-Ageing 1% Retinol Booster into your beauty regime to reap the benefits of blackhead-free skin (no crows feet would be nice, too). A derivative of Vitamin A, retinol ramps up cell regeneration to keep churning out perfectly plump skin cells. The risk of pores getting clogged with sebum and dead skin falls considerably thanks to these faster cell turnover rates. Bye blackheads!

Your skin won’t be impressed if you go in all guns blazing with a high concentration of retinol. This product’s 1% retinol formulation strikes the balance of making a noticeable difference to the refinement of pores without irritating your complexion. It’s perfect for retinol novices and seasoned pros. Drip feed it into your skincare with a drop or two in your moisturiser.

Buy now from Cult Beauty

5. Best serum for blackheads: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots

Skincare doesn’t come cheaper than The Ordinary. A trail-blazing brand, it’s stripped back on fancy packaging, marketing and “filler” ingredients to deliver high-performance products that go the distance. Its Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is a godsend for oily skin that’s prone to blackheads, whiteheads and sore under-the-skin spots.

A true multitasker: niacinamide regulates oil production to keep skin balanced and eliminate excess sebum, uses its antibacterial properties to heal existing blemishes and shrinks large pores. Balanced skin makes it much harder for blackheads to set up shop. For supercharged absorption, tap a drop of the serum onto freshly cleansed, damp skin.

Buy now from Boots

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