The 13 Best Blackhead Removers, According to Skin Experts
If you’ve ever found yourself in front of a mirror pinching your skin to squeeze out an unwelcome blackhead, you’re certainly not alone. Blackheads (which occur when pores become clogged with oil and dead cells and then oxidize when they're exposed to oxygen, turning black) are not only one of the most annoying skin issues, but they’re also one of the most common. Oof. And without taking the necessary steps, you can actually do more harm than good trying to purge your skin of dirt, oil, and makeup buildup.
To properly get rid of blackheads, you need to thoroughly wash your face with a blackhead-specific cleanser; follow up with a facial steamer to open up your pores; and apply a clay mask, which will gently pull dirt, dead skin, and oil from your face, says Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a board-certified Boston dermatopathologist and CEO of GFaceMD. Then, employ a blackhead removal tool to extract those stubborn dots, and polish off your face with a clarifying toner.
While the beauty market is totally saturated with blackhead treatments—from face washes to pore removal strips—only so many of these products truly make a difference, no matter how religiously they’re used. Luckily, Dr. Frieling and a couple of dermatologists have several recommendations for tools that will unclog even the most blackhead-prone. From pore vacuums and spatula scrubbers to facial steamers and masks, here are the best blackhead removers, according to an expert. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Rid of Blackheads)
- Gugugu Skin Scrubber
- The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser
- Sephora Collection 3-in-1 Extractor
- Bee Stunning Diamondbuff Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Tool
- SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- Amconsure Facial Steamer
- Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
- Gackoko Facial Cleansing Brush
- Freeshow 2020 Upgraded Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum
- Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner
- Rodan + Fields Blackhead Remover & Pore Cleanser
- Carbon Theory Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Bar
- Bioré Charcoal Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
Gugugu Skin Scrubber
This spatula-like tool works to exfoliate and remove dirt, oil, and grime trapped in your pores through high-frequency vibrations. It also features four settings to cleanse, moisturize, reduce oil, and lift skin. The cleansing mode removes even the deepest impurities, while the lifting mode helps to firm, plump, and reduce wrinkles. (Related: The 11 Best Anti-Aging Serums, According to Dermatologists)
The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser
Salicylic acid is one of the best blackhead fighting ingredients, says Alexis Stephens, M.D., a Florida-based dermatologist and founder of Parkland Dermatology. Included in this Inkey List cleanser, Dr. Stephens notes that it “helps to remove blackheads by diving deep into the pore and clearing out the excess oil and dead skin cells.” She recommends pairing this cleanser with a lactic acid exfoliant, as it can increase cell turnover and lead to brighter, clearer skin.
Sephora Collection 3-in-1 Extractor
For fans of Dr. Pimple Popper, it will come as no surprise that an extractor made the list. Dr. Frieling recommends this tool for hard-to-reach areas — like ears or near the side of your nose — since it features a small loop to remove whiteheads and a flat side to extract blackheads. “The key is to not put too much pressure on the skin by dragging the tool across the surface of the skin, which can cause tearing,” she points out. (Related: How to Safely Use a Comedone Extractor on Blackheads and Whiteheads)
Bee Stunning Diamondbuff Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Tool
Exfoliation is necessary for both blackhead prevention and treatment, and this professional microdermabrasion tool has a head that’s made of crushed diamonds to gently remove dead skin cells. The buffer is small, which allows it to target more difficult areas around your nose, and you can use it weekly to eliminate blackheads, soften fine lines, minimize the appearance of pores, and give skin a healthy glow. (Related: The 9 Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Products for Your Glowiest Complexion Ever)
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
According to Los Angeles-based dermatologist Christine Choi Kim, M.D., this cleanser was made for ridding the face of makeup and dirt and cleansing clogged pores.. “It contains both naturally-derived alpha-hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, citric, and malic) and salicylic acid, which is a pore-penetrating beta-hydroxy acid,” she explains. “Smooth jojoba spheres help to physically exfoliate the skin and prevent blackheads with minimal irritation.”
Amconsure Facial Steamer
A facial steamer is absolutely critical when it comes to getting rid of blackheads, according to Dr. Frieling, since the heat gently opens pores to allow for better penetration with your extraction tool. (Speaking of, this steamer comes with five!) On top of removing lingering makeup and clearing clogged pores, facial steamers also improve the absorption and effectiveness of your skin-care products and boost blood circulation, which helps promote collagen and elastin production to make skin appear younger-looking. Just hold your face over a facial steamer designed for treating blackheads for 5-8 minutes, instructs Dr. Frieling.
Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Alternate between a face mask and your extraction tool to prevent skin from becoming irritated. Clay-based formulas are known to target blackheads, as they're a gentle way to remove oil and dirt from the skin, says Dr. Frieling. This one by Fresh features Umbrian clay to purify the appearance of your complexion (read: bye-bye, blackheads), while sandalwood oil, chamomile flower, and lavender water calm and soothe skin. (Related: This $10 Face Mask Has a Cult Following—and the Before-and-After Photos Prove Why)
Gackoko Facial Cleansing Brush
Clarisonic loyalists were most likely pretty bummed when the brand announced they were going out of business this year. Luckily, Amazon has a super affordable and effective Clarisonic dupe that works to cleanse, exfoliate, and dramatically improve skin tone and the appearance of blackheads — while ringing in at a cool $12. This Facial Cleansing Brush has garnered more than 4,000 five-star ratings — with many reviewers noting that it is a budget-friendly alternative to Clarisonic that works amazingly well. (Related: These Skin-Care Tools Are the Secret Behind Rita Ora's Clear, Dewy Skin)
Freeshow Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum
This blackhead remover tool is so loved by customers that it's respectively earned its spot as Amazon's best-selling "blackhead suctioner" with a solid 4.4 rating. Reviewers rave about how it gently yet effectively removes gunk and blackheads — even for those with sensitive skin. It comes with five replaceable suction heads to provide deep cleaning and can be adjusted between five modes to unclog pores — whether due to makeup residue, acne, or blackheads.
Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner
Toners can help cut down on oil and bacteria. This one, in particular, features salicylic acid, which reduces shine and removes excess oil for a matte finish. “A good anti-blackhead and -acne toner will also soften the pores and dislodge deep blackheads,” notes Dr. Frieling. To use, just soak a cotton ball with the toner and apply it to your face, she adds. (Related: Is Salicylic Acid Really a Miracle Ingredient for Blackheads and Acne?)
Rodan + Fields Blackhead Remover & Pore Cleanser
Dr. Kim compares this tool to something a dermatologist would use in their office. Included in the kit is a solution that prepares your skin for blackhead extraction, as well as a blackhead removal tool that comes with two modes of suction and pressure. “In clinical studies, 97 percent of subjects reported seeing fewer clogged pores and blackheads instantly after just one use,” Dr. Kim notes. She adds that the tool is recommended for once-weekly use.
Carbon Theory Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Bar
Shoppers that have struggled with breakouts “for years” swear by this bar for lessening the appearance of blackheads and other blemishes. The charcoal-infused soap helps to draw out dirt that’s hiding deep in your pores, while the tea tree oil works to reduce inflammation and redness.
Bioré Charcoal Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
While not all dermatologists and skin experts recommend pore strips (since they can also remove skin along with blackheads), it can be super satisfying to see the tiny mountains of oil and impurities they extract from your nose after ripping one off. These strips contain charcoal, which (similarly to clay) behaves like a blackhead magnet, leaving you with clear pores after use. (Related: Do Pore Strips Actually Work to Remove Blackheads?)