- An overnight topical treatment can help remove blackheads in the morning.
- Deeper blackheads may be more difficult to remove.
- If a blackhead does not come out easily, do not attempt to force it out or you may damage your skin.
Removing blackheads typically requires washing, mild scrubbing or gentle pinching, but an overnight topical treatment can help make the process easier.
Topical solutions, however, can’t treat blackheads alone—some type of physical intervention is required.
Why Are Some Blackheads Hard to Remove?
Blackheads or open comedones are the result of hardened sebum, excess oil and dead skin cells that clog skin pores.
Factors that affect blackhead removal are depth of blackheads and skin type.
In some cases, this debris may extend deep within the pore, making it difficult to remove. Sebum may also adhere to the surrounding skin to form a tight seal. For those with dry skin, removal may be more of a challenge as this skin type is typically associated with smaller pores.
Can You Clear Blackheads Overnight?
In short, no. However there are steps you can take to prepare the blackheads for easier removal, beginning with step one in the evening.
- Cleanse skin gently with warm water and a product that is designed for your skin type. Follow with a spot treatment containing salicylic acid to loosen the sebum in clogged pores.
- In the morning, wash your face gently to remove oil, debris and any skin care products residue from the previous night.
- After gently drying skin, apply a noncomedogenic (oil-free) moisturizer.
To remove blackheads, use a tissue to gently pinch the surrounding skin. If using comedone extractor tools be gentle, as they can cause scarring if not used properly.
If a blackhead resists removal, stop to avoid damaging skin. Keep your skin oil-free, exfoliate regularly and try again in a few days.
Lastly, do not routinely pinch or pick at blackheads. These actions can lead to broken capillaries, infection and scarring.
Prevent Blackheads from Forming
Since overnight treatment is not possible, prevention is the best cure.
Regular treatments with alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid products will reduce oil production and slow the formation of comedones. These treatments include cleansers, at-home peels and facial serums.
For an in-depth look into ways to treat blackheads and prevent their return, please see our detailed article on blackhead treatments.
- Kim, S. J., Baek, J. H., Koh, J. S., Bae, M. I., Lee, S. J. and Shin, M. K. (2015), The effect of physically applied alpha hydroxyl acids on the skin pore and comedone. Int J Cosmet Sci, 37: 519-525. doi:10.1111/ics.12244