Though harmless, they can be quite annoying.
They’re the little blemishes that prevent you from having that flawless skin.
Luckily, they’re nothing serious, so there are quite a few different remedies to get rid of them.
But before that, it’s useful to understand how blackheads form:
Blackheads form when your pores are open, and your sebaceous glands(in the skin) produce excess sebum(a natural oil produced by your body), which then clogs pores and traps dead skin in it. Because the pore is open, the skin-sebum mixture oxidizes upon contact with the oxygen in the air, and turns black. Blech!
Contrary to what many people think, blackheads are not caused by dirt – so no amount of scrubbing your face will remove the blackheads. In fact, you may even exacerbate the issue by exfoliating and creating more dead skin for your pores to trap!
So even though there are plenty of natural remedies to get rid of them, sometimes our need for a quicker solution kicks in, and product designers at beauty and cosmetics companies come up with devices like blackhead guns.
Blackhead guns are also known as blackhead vacuums or blackhead suction tools.
How do blackhead guns work?
Blackhead guns are literally tiny vacuum pumps. It’s a little plastic tube-like device with a suction nozzle at one end, which you’d place on your skin, and by pressing a button on the device(or flicking a switch), the machine would turn on, creating a vacuum inside the nozzle, and forcibly sucking out the blackhead – which is, after all, the little clog of oil and dead skin.
In theory, it’s all good. There are even a few decent models available, but there is a catch:
The machine is still a pretty powerful suction device, and if you overuse it, you’ll just be giving yourself a hickey – the boring way.
You also have to prep your skin a little before giving it a go – ideally, you want to gently wash and moisten your skin before you start vacuuming away.
- Gently wash your face/affected area with warm water
- Exfoliate your skin around and above the affected area, but very gently!
- Wash your hands and face, and the nozzle of the suction cup
- Hold the nozzle directly on your affected pore, and fire away. You’ll feel a gentle pulling sensation. Notice how I am overusing the word “gentle”. It’s an important detail!
- See what the result was. If satisfactory, clean up and you’re good to go.
To start using the blackhead gun, turn it on, place it to your face, and start making sweeping, slow motions towards your target areas. It’s not a one-shot-wonder, as you’ll have to smoothly do it and supposedly coax the gunk out.
On paper, all of this is great.
Drawbacks of blackhead guns
Most blackhead guns you can find are incredibly cheap and low quality. This is the first issue – the devices are just too poorly designed to really work well at all.
There are a couple of good quality ones, but then we run into problem number 2:
There hasn’t been any conclusive scientific study(yet, at least) of how effective these blackhead vacuums are, any information you’ll find online is purely anecdotal – you’ll find one person telling you it was amazing and their pores were cleared up instantly, and another person will say the complete opposite.
I think this is simply because there are too few reviews and far too many variables to isolate what conditions are best for these things. And I’m assuming the blackhead gun industry does not have enough money to fund a large scale study of the benefits!
Perhaps the whole fad of blackhead guns came about because professional skin care experts do use electric pore cleansing devices – but they do it in a professional environment, with far better tools than you and I have, and over a period of time that is designed to give you the best treatment possible.
If you’re interested, here is a video showing how the process works – if it catches your fancy and you are out of any other options, give it a shot, the machines are not expensive!
Of course, if you are up for splurging, there are “high end” machines as well that will most likely be built stronger and may work better for you – but the only way you’ll find out is if you actually give it a shot!
- Silk n ReVit at home device:
This is a pretty high end offering that does a lot more than remove blackheads – it’s also designed to help shape up skin and remove age lines. It’s quite pricey, but reviews are good – most people were satisfied with it – but bear in mind that may be for its other uses, not just blackhead removing.
- An even more expensive gadget is the PMD Personal Microderm. It uses the same suction and exfoliating principle, but is actually meant for what its name suggests: microdermabrasion, where old, dead skin is gently exfoliated and sucked off to reveal young and fresh skin below. It could be applied to blackheads, too.
- Finally, if you’re feeling very adventurous, a little cheap, but don’t mind experimenting for science, you can hop over to the dollar store and pick up a similar device to the one pictured above. Mind you, it’s gonna feel cheap and break easily, but if it works, it works!