Skincare Tips from Renée Rouleau: Reducing Blackheads
Savvy, smart, and always knowledgeable, Renée Rouleau is my go-to for all that is skincare. She’s a celebrity esthetician with her own line (I love her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!), and she also regularly updates her blog with skin care tips and tricks.
My 3-Step Plan for Reducing Blackheads by Skin Care Expert, Renée Rouleau
Of all the skin questions that I get asked, “How do I get rid of my blackheads?” has to rank near the top of the list. Blackheads are a fact of life; almost all of us have them and we all hate them.
What is a blackhead? Blackheads are large, open pores containing oil that has oxidized from the air causing it to turn black. Contrary to what most people believe, it’s not “dirt”, it’s simply oxidized oil. You can remove the blackhead but once the oil fills back up in the pore, the air will cause the oil to oxidize again and now the blackhead is back.
Here’s my three-step plan for removing blackheads and keeping them away:
Step 1: Remove the blackheads
Whether you remove them yourself (gently, of course) or have a professional facial, they must be manually extracted.
In a professional facial, your esthetician will raise the temperature of the skin by applying warm steam to the skin and performing a facial massage to “melt” the hardened oil within the pores to make for easier extractions. When the skin is properly prepared, extractions shouldn’t leave the skin with significant red marks. A cooling mask post-extraction will help to calm the skin and reduce any visible redness.
For do-it-yourself extractions, it’s best to remove blackheads after a shower since the skin temperature has been raised. After showering, apply a thin coat of the heaviest moisturizer you have to the skin. By using a rich moisturizer, it will create a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin, which for extractions purposes is necessary. Next, cover the area with cellophane/plastic wrap and apply warm, damp towels for five minutes. Remove the plastic and wrap tissue over each forefinger and gently squeeze to remove blackheads. To avoid creating squeeze marks, be sure to relocate the position of your fingers. For example, position fingers at 3:00 and 9:00 and then 5:00 and 10:00. You can then apply a cooling gel mask to reduce any redness.
Step 2: Use acid-based products to keep pores clean
Once the pores are clean, it’s important to incorporate products into your routine that use acids, such as AHA’s and BHA’s to keep them cleaned out and prevent the oil from filling back up so quickly. Skin care products with acids might include cleansers (such as Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel), serums and peels (like Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel). Be sure the products are gentle and do not contain SD Alcohol 40 or Denatured Alcohol. Note: Do not use any acid-based products for at least 24 hours after manual extractions.
Step 3: Prevent oil from oxidizing
This part is key in lessening the appearance of blackheads. As I mentioned, a blackhead is oil that has oxidized and turned black, so if you can prevent the oil from oxidizing, the oil will not turn black (or at least as quickly).
Antioxidants used in skin care products have many benefits such as encouraging collagen production, lightening discoloration (brown spots) and slowing down the production of skin-damaging free radicals, but one surprising benefit is their ability to prevent oil from oxidizing, hence the name antioxidants meaning ‘anti oxidation’. When choosing antioxidant products, look for formulas containing Vitamin C, however be sure it’s stable, doesn’t sting or irritate the skin or change color (such as brown) in the bottle over the course of time. Renée Rouleau Vitamin C & E Complex uses three forms of stable, no-sting Vitamin C which makes this product not only suitable for preventing blackheads, but for sensitive skin too.
So there you have it – my professional plan for removing blackheads and keeping them from being so noticeable and re-appearing so quickly.
Note: Blackheads will slowly re-appear over time, so it’s important to get regular monthly facials to get the pores manually cleaned