Have you noticed tiny raised black bumps appearing on your nose and forehead? Well, blackheads show up on your face every time your skin accumulates dirt, sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells over time.
But on a brighter note, you can get rid of them by following simple and natural remedies. Besides, a proper skincare routine too can help.
In this article, we tell you what causes blackheads and how you can minimize the tiny raised black bumps.
- What Are Blackheads?
- What Do Blackheads Look Like?
- Which Skin Type Is Prone To Blackheads?
- What Causes Blackheads?
- What Are Symptoms Of Blackheads?
- Should You Remove Blackheads?
- How To Remove Blackheads Naturally?
- Do's And Dont's For Blackheads
- Is It Okay To Squeeze Out Blackheads?
- When Should You See A Dermatologist About Blackheads?
What Are Blackheads?
Medically known as open comedones, blackheads are non-inflammatory acne lesions which form when your follicle or pore is clogged with sebum, oils, dead skin cells, and environmental pollutants . After getting exposed to the oxygen in the air, these lesions turn into dark spots on your skin.
“Though blackheads are most commonly found around your nose and head regions, they can appear anywhere on your body,” says Dr. Zeel.
Your skin contains two types of pores: oil pores and sweat pores.
What Do Blackheads Look Like?
Blackheads look like tiny black bumps with large pores or openings.
Which Skin Type Is Prone To Blackheads?
What Causes Blackheads?
Ayurveda believes that everyone is the constitution of three vital energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. While each dosha deals with specific functionalities of your skin, the Kapha dosha is predominantly responsible for the secretion of oils and sebum. Any imbalance occurring in your Kapha levels lead to oversecretion of natural oils and sebum in your skin tissues.
As per Ayurveda, the occurrence of blackheads is primarily triggered by a raise in Pitta dosha in your body. The elevated Pitta dosha causes hormonal imbalance which in turn leads to the elevation of Kapha levels in the skin. Elevated Kapha dosha results in overproduction of sebum and oils. The open pores in oily skin attract dirt and dust from the environment which when accompanied by elevated Vata levels turns out to be hardened blackheads. Hence, the formation of blackheads can be attributed as Kapha-Vata disorder which is triggered by elevated Pitta dosha.
Different factors that contribute to the elevation of Pitta dosha in your skin:
- Eating Pitta aggravating diets (Over spicy, sour, salty and hot foods)
- Stressful lifestyle
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- Over physical exhaustion
- Improper sleep cycle, etc.
Also, factors such as unhygienic skin maintenance, build-up of leftover makeup and other chemical products you use on your skin can clog the pores and turn into blackheads over time.
What Are Symptoms Of Blackheads?
- Open and large skin pores with dark bumps
- Unlike pimples, blackheads are not painful and don't have inflammation
Should You Remove Blackheads?
Yes. Removing blackheads can unclog your skin pores and help you achieve clear skin. However, you need to do it with safer practices that do not scar your skin. Also, after removing the blackheads, your skin pores need to be shrunk to normal size. Otherwise, the unclogged open pores have a good chance to develop the blackheads again.
How To Remove Blackheads Naturally?
1. Ayurvedic Skin Care Treatment For Blackheads
Ayurveda has dosha-specific herbs and formulations which treat your skin ailments while balancing the elevated doshas in your body. Hence, you need to understand which doshas are in an elevated state to choose the right herbal formulations for blackhead treatment.
Step 1: Abhyanga(Oil Massaging)
In Ayurveda, Abhyanga is a procedure that involves massaging your body with warm herbal oils. It is a great way to trap excess Pitta from your skin. When you are with aggravated Kapha dosha, light oils such as canola, corn, safflower, or flaxseed oils can be used to massage your face gently. This warm oil massage softens the pores and dirt build-up of your blackheads. Remember to use the oil in very small amounts.
Step 2: Exfoliation
Ayurvedic exfoliation is called 'Udvartana' which involves scrubbing your skin with medicated dry herbal powders. This process removes dirt, dust, dead cells, and debris from your blackhead pores. While exfoliating your face, gently massage the herbal paste from below in an upward direction. 
You can use any of the following herbal formulations for exfoliating your skin:
- Kolakulathadi churna
- Kulatta churna(horse gram flour)
- Triphala churna
Step 3: Herbal Steaming
It involves taking facial steam for 5-10 minutes. Steaming helps to open up the pores more which naturally drives the blackheads out of them.
- For Kapha-Vata type- Add some lemon juice into the water and take the steam.
- For Kapha-Pitta type- Add ½ spoon of sandalwood powder into the water.
- For Vata-Pitta type- Add ½ spoon of licorice powder into the water.
“You can also add some rose petals to the steaming water as they have natural cleansing properties,” says Dr. Zeel.
Step 4: Clay Pack
Put a natural clay mask made of multani, charcoal, or bentonite clay to absorb the oils from your skin, thus preventing the recurrence of blackheads.
Step 5: Herbal Toning
Apply a herbal face toner that helps to balance the pH levels of your skin and close the open pores. Thus, it prevents the penetration of contaminants into your skin tissues. You can use toners made of aloe vera gel  and rosewater for any skin type.
Step 6: Moisturizing
Finally, you can apply dosha-balancing herbal moisturizer to your skin to keep your skin hydrated and radiant. It also works to balance your elevated doshas.
Below are the ingredients you can look for in your moisturizers based on your elevated doshas:
For elevated Kapha and Pitta
- Rakta chandana
For elevated Kapha and Vata
For elevated Pitta and Vata
For any skin type (tridosha hara herbs)
2. Home Remedies
Take 1/2 cup of mint juice and add sufficient turmeric to it and form a fine paste. Apply it on your blackheads and leave it for half an hour. Wash it off using lukewarm water and apply moisturizer.
B. Warm Honey
Take a spoon of raw honey  in a small glass cup. Place the cup in very hot water until the honey gets warmed up. Now, dab the warm honey on your blackheads using a clean cotton plug. Wait for 10-15 minutes. Later, remove the honey using a warm damp cloth. Repeat it daily.
C. Salt-Lemon Juice
Prepare a paste by mixing a spoon of table salt, one spoon of water, and 1/2 spoon of lemon juice. Apply it to your face and exfoliate gently for a few minutes. Leave it for half an hour and then wash your face with cold water.
D. Baking Soda
Add sufficient water to two spoons of baking soda to form a paste. Apply it to your face and give it a gentle massage for 3-5 minutes. Wash your face with warm water after half an hour.
Prepare a smooth paste by mixing a spoon of cinnamon powder and honey. Cover the affected area with this paste in the form of a thin layer. Now, take a clean cotton ball and dab on the layer gently. Leave it for 5 minutes and then remove the dried layers. Later, wash your face and moisturize.
3. Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurveda suggests specific guidelines for the diet to reduce elevated Pitta dosha in your body:
- Eating fruits and vegetables such as apples, berries, pears, pomegranates, raisins, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, ladies finger, peas, radish, spinach, sprouts, turnips, etc. benefits people with elevated Kapha dosha.
- Consume honey regularly. You can add it to your herbal teas as a substitute for sugars.
- Include grains such as millets and barley in your diet and avoid high carb-grains such as rice or wheat.
- Minimize the amount of salt used in your meals.
- Stay away from oily and deep-fried foods.
- Avoid eating nuts as they may increase oil production in skin.
4. Ayurvedic Lifestyle
- Have a proper sleep cycle while you sleep early and wake up early.
- Involve yourself in a regular physical exercise routine such as walking, cycling, jogging, etc.) or practice Yoga for at least an hour.
- Always keep yourself in a dry and warm environment.
- Cultivate hobbies, practice healthy routines to keep your stress levels under control.
Do's And Dont's For Blackheads
1. Wash your face using a gentle herbal cleanser and lukewarm water at least twice a day
2. Use gentle skincare products on your skin that are free of harmful chemicals, sulfates, and parabens. Products with natural herbal ingredients with pH regulating agents benefit your skin greatly
3. Ensure your moisturizing lotions and sunscreen are oil-free
4. Maintain a few hygienic habits such as washing your pillowcases and sheets regularly, having a bath when you get sweaty or after the workout, etc. Keep yourself and your environment clean
1. Do not use pore strips as they cannot resolve the blackheads in the long-term. Further, the pulling force causes enlargement of your skin pores over time, resulting in larger blackheads overtime.
2. While exfoliation is good for your skin, avoid using facial scrubs which may contain beads or jagged particles, that can give tiny cuts on your skin. The damaged skin tissues caused by bad scrubbing can become home to a variety of bacteria, resulting in blemishes and inflammation.
3. Avoid self-extraction of blackheads by pressing its surroundings with a needle. This may weaken the walls of blood capillaries in your skin tissue while it enlarges the pores. In case of deeper blackheads, make an appointment with a professional who can do the extraction gently.
4. Avoid washing your face overly with harsh soaps as it strips off the oils from your skin and causes dryness. This can further lead to your skin’s counterintuitive to overproduce sebum, where the blackheads thrive.
5. Avoid wearing too much makeup. If you do, choose the products that are natural and non-comedogenic.
Vedix Tip: Avoid touching your face with your hands. Also, always wipe off the dirt on your phone before you put it on your ear. These practices help you minimize the buildup of dirt and bacteria in the open pores of your face.
Is It Okay To Squeeze Out Blackheads?
No. You should never squeeze out blackheads as it can push the inflammation into the deeper tissues of your skin and may even cause scarring.
When Should You See A Dermatologist About Blackheads?
If the blackheads are recurring even after treating them with natural topical treatments for several weeks, then make an appointment with your dermatologist. Your doctor examines your skin and may prescribe hormone modulating drugs such as spironolactone  orally. These drugs work to control the oil production in your skin.
Please consult your Ayurvedic doctor or dermatologist before applying any of the blackhead treatments mentioned in this article.
The Last Word
Blackheads can be bothersome, however you can manage them by following simple natural remedies. Besides topical treatments, Ayurveda recommends a healthy diet and lifestyle for the good health of your skin. Also, avoid using chemical-based products that can be harsh on your skin. Ayurveda enables you to keep your body clean and calm inside out while maintaining the equilibrium of your doshas.
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