Blackheads are a type of acne that form tiny dark bumps on the skin. Though they’re not a major cause for concern, many ask and wonder how to get rid of blackhead on lips, one of the many places they can develop.
Salicylic acid, retinoids, sulfur, and witch hazel are some common and effective solutions not only for blackheads but also for oil control. Some home remedies like tea tree oil and honey also proved to be useful thanks to their antimicrobial properties. And lastly, professional treatments like chemical peels and extractions are always available.
Of course, not everyone would want to go straight to home remedies and solutions, especially those with more sensitive skin. A trip and visit to your dermatologist for a quick check-in should be useful.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about blackheads, including treating and preventing them.
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads, commonly known as open comedones or simply comedones, are a type of acne that forms tiny, dark bumps on the skin. They’re rough and bumpy and give the skin an uneven texture
Though mostly typical in oily to combination skin types, blackheads are one of the most common types of acne and anyone can develop them, regardless of skin type.
Blackheads can occur anywhere on the body where there are oil glands – the face, neck, back, and on and around the lips.
Blackheads are open pores that have accumulated excess oil, dead skin cells, and debris. The pores open up and widen as it gets exposed to the air, oxidizing.
This is what causes a plugged duct that often looks brownish to black and is often pus-filled. This is what gives it a dark, black appearance – hence the name, blackheads.
What Causes Blackheads: A Combination of Oily Skin, Excess Oil, and Dead Skin Cells
There are many factors that can cause blackheads, but generally, they develop when there is an opening in a hair follicle. This can get clogged due to excess oil production of the sebaceous glands. The sebum mixes with dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria, leading to clogged pores.
When everything that’s inside the now-clogged pore gets exposed to air, oxidation occurs, and the open pore turns black. This is what we often associate when we say “blackheads”.
While the open pore is clogged, the skin’s sebaceous glands will continue to pump and naturally produce oil, forcing the formed plug into the surface of the skin. This forms uneven bumps.
Blackheads are often associated with acne but they can occur with or without acne.
An overproduction of sebum can also contribute to the development of blackheads, that’s why it’s more likely to occur for those with oily to combination skin types.
Constantly touching your face with dirty hands or without washing your hands first can cause blackheads as the dirt and bacteria from your hands can lodge deep within open pores.
Additionally, not removing makeup efficiently at the end of the day can contribute to the development of blackheads on the skin.
Blackheads and Whiteheads
Blackheads and whiteheads are often associated together. Just like blackheads, whiteheads are a type of acne.
Where blackheads are open comedones, whiteheads are closed comedones. Whiteheads have a thin layer of skin on top of the hair follicle.
In this sense, the oil and dirt inside the pores are not exposed to air and don’t oxidize as they do in blackheads. This gives whiteheads a more white, pink, or flesh color as opposed to the dark brown to black color of blackheads.
Why You Should Not Leave Blackheads Untreated
If left untreated, blackheads can lead to acne and pimples. If the accumulation of oil, dirt, and bacteria is left alone and untreated, this can lead to inflammation and potentially, to inflammatory acne.
Not treating blackheads for a long time can also cause them to harden under the skin’s surface, making them harder to treat and deal with in the long run.
How to Get Rid of Blackhead on Lips
If you want to get ahead of more serious skin issues, here’s how you can get treat blackheads on the sensitive and thin skin on your lips and around the lip line:
- Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a common acne solution and does wonders for blackheads as well.
What it does is remove dead skin cells and control oil production, both of which can clog pores and lead to blackheads.
Salicylic acid is formulated in a variety of skincare products from cleansers, gels, ointments, spot treatments, and scrubs. Depending on the product you opted for, you can either use salicylic acid on your entire face or spot-treat only the blackhead.
If you haven’t used salicylic acid before, it’s important to patch test first before application to ensure your skin won’t react negatively.
Retinoids are another topical solution to blackheads. This helps control excess oil production and helps the skin shed dead skin cells, preventing the clogging of pores.
Topical retinoids are available as a prescription or over-the-counter.
This treatment can cause dryness and irritation so avoid too much sun exposure and postpone your trip to the tanning salon while using this.
Sulfur has antimicrobial properties and helps the skin fight and kill acne-causing bacteria. At the same time, it can also help unclog pores.
Sulfur usually comes in spot-treatment creams or ointments. While directions vary per product and manufacturer, sulfur is generally applied to small areas only and not on the entire face.
- Witch hazel
Witch hazel helps the skin regulate oil production. Less oil produced means the likelihood of it clogging your pores is significantly reduced as well.
Witch hazel is formulated in cleansers, toners, spot treatments, or ointments.
If you haven’t tried witch hazel before, it’s important to do a patch test first to eliminate the risk of skin irritation.
- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial properties which help kill acne and blackhead-causing bacteria.
To use it, dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with carrier oil before applying it to the treatment area.
Honey has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that will be good both for pimples and blackheads.
Apply warm honey directly on the blackhead. Leave it on for a few minutes or until it dries down before washing or wiping it off.
- Chemical peels
Chemical peels are professional in-office treatments that help shed dead skin cells and unclog pores.
Additionally, it can help improve the skin’s texture, revealing smoother skin.
- Professional extraction
If blackheads persist or stubbornly come back even after the remedies above, you might want to visit your dermatologist for a professional extraction.
Remember, never extract and remove blackheads on your own. This invites even more dirt and bacteria to find their way into your pores, leading to infection.
How to Prevent Blackheads on Lips and Lip Area
You can also get ahead of blackheads (and lip pimples) before they develop with these easy methods:
- Wash your face at least twice a day
Wash and cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser and water at least twice a day. This helps remove excess oil, dirt, debris, and bacteria on the skin.
- Use only non-comedogenic and oil-free skincare and cosmetic products
Check your current stash of skincare and cosmetic products. You’d want to only be using non-comedogenic and oil-free products. This makes sure your pores don’t get clogged by too much oil and pore-clogging ingredients from these products.
- Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliating your skin regularly will help you shed dead skin cells, dirt, and debris lodged deep within your pores. While physical exfoliators and scrubs are the favorites of many, there are also gentle chemical exfoliators many turn to.
- Try clay masks
Clay masks can help suck out and get rid of excess oil, dirt, and debris inside pores. With these masks, the skin can dry out so a hydrating moisturizer should be applied after.
- Never sleep in your makeup
Before you head off to bed, always remove your makeup and wash your face properly. This will remove all the oil and dirt your skin has accumulated throughout the day so they don’t clog your pores.
- Resist the urge to touch and pick at your face
Don’t touch or pick at your skin with unclean hands as this will introduce all the dirt and bacteria your hands accumulated throughout the day to your pores.
- Change and wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly
Your sheets and pillowcases catch all the dirt, oil, and debris from your face and body and they stay there.
Wash and change them regularly to prevent irritating your skin and clogging your pores.
Blackheads are tiny, pus-filled, dark bumps on the skin. They can develop anywhere on the skin, even on and around the lips. They can be annoying so many wonder how to get rid of blackheads on lips.
Salicylic acid, retinoids, sulfur, and witch hazel proved themselves to be very effective at not only getting rid of blackheads but also controlling sebum and acne. There are also professional treatments like chemical peels and extractions many seem to be huge fans of. And of course, there are natural home remedies like tea tree oil and honey.
And that has been our detailed guide on getting rid of blackheads. If you have more questions for us, hit us up right below!