Blackheads. We all get them, but few of us really understand them. The basic science behind them is this: Surrounding the root of each tiny hair all over our bodies are follicles. Excess sebum — the oily substance that keeps skin soft — can pollute or clog these follicles.
A buildup of oil and dead skin cells will mix with air at the surface and turn to dark spots around the follicle’s base, creating blackheads (ugh). A common misconception is that blackheads are a type of acne, when really, they’re actually an addition to acne.
The solution isn’t to pop the problem (and it never is, by the way), but rather to extract debris and oils. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out big bucks for in-office treatments like microdermabrasion. The answer to your skincare problems may very well lie in blackhead masks, which often use charcoal, mud, or both to detox pores back to a squeaky clean state.
Here are a few of our favorite, editor-approved masks to clear up your blackheads.
Bioré Charcoal Instant Warming Clay Mask
If you can’t take the heat, skip this blackhead mask from Bioré. That’s because things warm up on impact with this pick. We love the transition between hot and cold sensations with this treatment, and you’ll also get a satisfying tingle post-rinse. Unlike other masks that take up to 10 minutes of set time for optimal results, this in-shower solution takes all of one minute to activate and extract impurities. We’re also big fans of the brand’s nose strips!
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask
This incredible Irish Moor Mud Mask from Peter Thomas Roth is a blackhead’s worst nightmare. Formulated with volcanic ash and activated charcoal, this decongesting mask also minimizes the appearance of pore size, fine lines, and wrinkles. What’s not to love?
Innisfree Super Volcanic
Clear out pores with the power of volcanic clusters! This clay mask contains hardened lava from Jeju Island, South Korea that kicks blackheads and excess oil to the curb. It’s also formulated with exfoliating lactic acid, so you’ll treat dullness and uneven texture at the same time.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask
Everyone experiences different forms of acne, and we’ve finally found the all-encompassing product that combats it all. Aztec’s secret is out, and everyone wants in. This mask is an Amazon best-seller, and we totally see why. Don’t be put off by its powder form. Yes, you’ll have to add in your own apple cider vinegar, but the final result of a clear complexion is worth the groundwork.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore
Got 5 to 10 minutes? Then you can have clearer skin. Just massage this mask — made of white clay, salicylic acid, and natural exfoliants — into your skin and let it set for those 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.