Quick question: Why is it so fun to watch like she's squeezing bubble wrap, but so damn hard to get rid of them at home?
Enter, blackhead masks. "Blackhead masks work by exposing the blackhead to ingredients that dissolve them while the mask is applied," says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD). "With continued use, and continued exposure to the right ingredients, blackheads can improve, and ultimately be prevented in the future."
Since the principle ingredient in blackheads is keratin, it's best to find masks that contain ingredients to break down the keratin inside the blackhead. "Ingredients like adapalene are known as 'comedolytic,' meaning they break down the core of the blackheads and can treat these particular lesions more effectively," says Nazarian. "Ingredients like and can also dissolve blackheads and improve acne with continued use."
So stop popping, and get your blackheads under control with the best blackhead masks, according to dermatologists.
Packed with benzoyl peroxide, this cleanser and mask powerhouse works wonders in the fight against blackheads. "Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin and can help open up blocked pores," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Use it alone or in combination with salicylic acid."
This pick "combines kaolin and bentonite clays to absorb excess oils and soothe the skin, while charcoal helps absorb dirt and impurities from your pores," says Zeichner.
Containing both salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid that removes surface dead skin cells) and clay to absorb moisture, this cult-favorite "is gentle enough for sensitive skin, but still has the necessary ingredients to treat blackheads," says Nazarian.
"This mask combines oil-absorbing clay with the red algae extract to reduce skin inflammation," says Zeichner.
"With multiple comedolytic ingredients, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid, this product works well to dissolve blackheads, and also lightens dark spots that acne can leave behind," says Nazarian.
This mask helps remove excess oil from the skin gently using red clay. "It also helps even skin tone and reduces inflammation with added botanical extracts and antioxidants, and can be used even on people with sensitive skin," says Zeichner.
"Salicylic acid helps remove excess oil and exfoliates dead cells from the surface of the skin, while clay further absorbs oil and helps calm inflammation," says Zeichner.
Even with 10% sulfur, this masks decreases oil without irritation. "It's likely because it also contains niacinamide, which calms skin and decreases redness," says Nazarian. "No parabens or sulfates make it a good choice for sensitive skin."
Both the lactic acid and the clay work to decrease the number of blackheads by breaking down the keratin and dead skin. "This masks adds a little brightening effect with added papaya extract and antioxidants which minimize dark spots as well," says Nazarian.
Combining charcoal and clay to absorb oil and remove blockage from the pores, this mask also contains vitamin C to help brighten the skin. "Plus, it dries fully so it can be easily peeled off of the skin," says Zeichner.
This mask can both treat blackheads and even skin tone. "Glycolic and lactic acid exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin while soy complex brightens pigmentation," says Zeichner.