7 Awesome Ways to Get Rid Of and Prevent BLACKHEADS -5 min read-

Joseph Lee27 comments

Blackheads are one of the worst annoyances when it comes to skincare. They are usually not big enough of a problem to warrant a trip to the doctor, unlike acne, but serious enough to cause you stress every time you look in the mirror. However, understanding what they are can easily help you minimize the presence of them or get rid of them completely! Here’s a little breakdown about them as well as 7 awesome ways to rid of and prevent blackheads from coming back.

Blackheads are simply pores that are clogged with a mixture of sebum (your skin’s natural oil), dead skin cells, and sometimes dirt particles. They are actually considered a mild form of acne in the medical world. When exposed to air and light throughout your day, certain metals and debris in the mixture oxidize and become a darker color, therefore making the clogged pore look “black.” If you don’t know what “oxidize” means, it’s a process that is very common in the world where a chemical reaction occurs in the presence of oxygen. When a metal rusts or an apple turns brown after being cut, it is all because of oxidation. So now that we have a better understanding of what they are, here are 7 ways to treat and prevent them!

ClearLee Mineral Water Cosmetics

1. Clays. When it comes to removing blackheads, there are 3 general ways we can do this: Extract them, Dissolve them, and/or Reduce pore size. Clays are amazing for extracting blackheads. Bentonite clay works exceptionally well in this case because the minerals in the clay hold a natural charge, which add to the extraction power when the clay dries on the skin. Although pore strips are fun to look at after peeling off, a bentonite clay mask will be a lot stronger and more efficient when it comes to extracting deeply buried blackheads. The use of clay masks can leave your skin dry so make sure you follow up with a toner and moisturizer afterwards!


2. Salicylic acid. When looking for ways to dissolve the blackheads, salicylic acid is one of the best options. Found as an ingredient in many cleansers and products for acne, salicylic acid helps by slowing down skin shedding in follicles (pores) to prevent clogging as well as breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. It works as a keratolytic, which breaks down and softens a protein called keratin. When targeting blackheads, try to look for a “leave-on” product with salicylic acid instead of a cleanser so that it has time to work. Dissolving a blackhead can take time so while some might take a couple of days to a week dissolve, others might take longer or simply stop dissolving after loosening up a little.


3. Enzymatic Exfoliator/Granular Exfoliator. An enzymatic exfoliator is a product that removes dead skin cells off the surface of the skin by digesting and breaking down proteins, oils, and debris. Cleansers and masks with ingredients like papaya, pineapple, and rice enzymes are most popular. On the other hand, granular exfoliators are products that contain small granules to debride dead skin cells. Cleansers and masks with ingredients like bentonite, charcoal, pumice, sugar, or salt make for great exfoliators. Exfoliating not only helps remove and break down blackheads, but it also make your skin glow radiant, lively, and healthy!

ClearLee Mineral Water Mud Mask Cleanser

4. Toners. There are many ways to reduce pore sizes (enough for a future article!), but toners are a great option. Toners that are great for acne will probably serve you best. Look for ones with ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and witch hazel. Toners targeted for acne will not only keep your skin moist to slow down oil build up and dense clogging, but they will also help fight off microbes while your pores open after a nice cleansing!


5. Retinoids. Retinoids are different forms of vitamin A and are another great option for targeting blackheads. They work by increasing the break down rate of cells on the surface to allow new cells to grow and migrate towards the surface. By doing so, you can essentially think of this method as pushing all the old skin out with new skin from below the surface. This is why they are great for wrinkles and for removing blackheads.

 ClearLee Mineral Water Toner

6. Cleansing. It may seem obvious, but cleansing is a great way to prevent blackheads. The good ole’ soap does a great job at washing away oils and dirt. Having blackheads does not mean you are dirty or washing improperly, since washing with soap or a cleanser would only target the surface while blackheads can form much deeper inside, but it can help prevent many surface level blackheads. Who knows, maybe you simply live in a polluted area or work in a dust-filled place, which are ideal for dirt buildup and shallow blackhead formation.


7. Doctor.  If you have a much severe case of blackheads, acne medication and/or micro-needling may be the magical treatment you are looking for. The common acne medication, spironolactone, or even some birth control pills can help control sebum production. Micro-needling can also be a quick way to dissolve or melt blackheads by heating specific areas of the deeper skin with lasers without hurting the surface. Make sure you see a doctor and get the full rundown of the drugs and procedures if you choose one of these methods.

     ClearLee Mineral Water Cosmetics

    Blackheads are definitely a nuisance when it comes to skincare but they are not too difficult to treat and prevent! Just stay vigilant and stay on top of your skin regime. We discussed some awesome ways to get rid of blackheads so try one, a multiple, or all of them out and see what works for your skin. If any of these options worked for you, I would love to hear about in the comments below! If you have any questions, feel free to ask as well! Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time!

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    What is a toner? -5 min read-

    Joseph Lee21 comments

    In today’s densely populated cosmetic world where every drug and beauty store carries hundreds of brands, there are so many types of products out there with new ones rising each day. Of these, one of the more popular types of product is a toner. You probably heard about how awesome a toner is from a friend and you may even own a couple yourself. But do you know what a toner is? Do you know it’s functions, the different subtypes, and which is the right one for you? I think it’s important to go beyond trying different products until the perfect one finds you but instead to understand the product so that you can go find it!


    Where do toners come from?

    Toners were created to be used after the cleansing phase of your routine. Before pH balancing and cosmetic regulation, soaps and other cleansers were usually made and left at a high pH that would be unhealthy for the skin. So toners were recommended as a mean to neutralize the rising pH caused by the cleanser. However, with today’s regulations and technology, most soaps are so mild that pH neutralizing is unnecessary. Therefore, the function of the toner is now also different.

     ClearLee What is a Toner Soap cosmetics

    Although soaps and cleansers are not pH damaging anymore, their function to clean is still the same. While this is good for the most part, they do have their downsides where they strip away the good oils, minerals, and other nutrients along with the “dirtiness”. So the role of a toner today is to provide the skin with all the nutrients it needs to restore and repair any damages. These nutrients can range anywhere from antioxidants to minerals and vitamins. With the right toner, your skin can feel and look healthier, more radiant, and younger.


    The types

    Toners can generally be categorized into 2 subcategories:

    1. Alcohol-based
    2. Water-based

    Alcohol-based toners usually also have water in them but, we call them alcohol-based simply because they have alcohol. The benefits of an alcohol-based toner is that it does a great job killing infections if you have a lot of open blemishes like acne. They also help increase absorption of nutrients in the skin if you have a tougher skin that does not like to let anything in. Unfortunately, they do this by breaking down a bit of the protective layer of your skin. So your skin might receive and enjoy nutrients in the short term, but in the long term, its defenses will weaken.

    Water-based toners are now the more popular choice of the two. You can think of them as humidifiers for your skin. They not only provide the nutrients your skin needs but also help maintain humidity so that your skin doesn’t dry out. Plus, they don’t break down the protective layer of your skin. Some water-based toners contain glycerin, which helps provide a protective layer on the skin to prevent it from drying out.

    Although it depends on preference, most will use a glycerin-based toner for night time use only, especially if they do not moisturize at night or their moisturizer does not contain glycerin. This is because glycerin can make the toner heavy and also leave a sticky feeling especially when used on top of makeup. So those that like to use a toner as a ‘day mist’ will almost always choose a glycerin-free water-based toner.



    What is the right toner for you? First of all, let’s cross out alcohol-based toners because usually, you can find water-based toners that have ingredients like witch hazel and specific essential oils known for their anti-microbial activity. While I have to agree alcohol is stronger at killing unwanted bacteria, water-based toners are a pretty close second and I don’t think it’s worth damaging the skin the long term. So no matter the skin type, I would suggest a water-based toner.

    Next are you going for a night time use or all-day use? If you want to use it throughout the day as well as night, I would stick with a glycerin-free water-based toner. If you are going for nighttime use, you can go for either.

    Finally, what in the skin are you looking to target? If it’s simply hydration, look for something with humectants like aloe vera, glycerin (for night time), and honey.  If you are trying to prevent wrinkles, look for toners with antioxidant qualities like retinoid and vitamin C or with plant extracts that provide vitamin A and C. If you are targeting acne prone skin, look for toners with witch hazel, tea tree, and aloe vera. If you have sensitive skin, toning with ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, glycerin, and chamomile can help greatly.


    Additionally, also look for one that smells good! I am a huge believer in aroma therapy and know how a really nice smelling product can bring you joy and a better complexion from the inside!

    So we now know more about the history, types, and choosing of the correct toners! What toners have you been using and what kind of skin type do you have? How has your experience been with it? I would love to hear your stories and your routines. Also, is there a toner you are looking for to target something else? I love seeing and responding to stories, comments, and questions so please join the conversation below!


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