Branded content. Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.
Blackheads are something that almost everyone struggles with at some point in their lives. Those tiny black dots that appear on your nose or chin might be harmless, but they are also unsightly!
Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize the appearance of this common skin condition. Read on to find out the causes of blackheads, how to treat them, and which face washes work best at eliminating them!
What are blackheads, anyway?
Blackheads are a type of acne. Your face is covered with hair follicles, and sometimes those hair follicles get clogged with natural oils from your skin (sebum) as well as dirt and dead skin cells. This causes the pore that contains the hair follicle to become enlarged. The clogged material in the pore then oxidizes, turning a black or dark brown color (that’s where the name blackheads come from!). They are most common in the oily ‘T Zone’ or the forehead, nose, and chin, although they can occur on any part of the face and body.
What causes blackheads?
Although all blackheads are caused by buildup of oil in the hair follicles, some things can exacerbate them. This includes:
- Hormonal changes, such as during your period or during puberty
- Using skin care that is heavy or greasy
- Having skin that is genetically predisposed to producing more oil
- Wearing a hat or having hair over your forehead that traps oil and sweat close to the skin
- Not washing your face regularly, or using ineffective face washing products
Can they be treated?
Yes, they can! There are quite a few methods that can improve the appearance of blackheads, ranging from at home treatments to dermatological processes. These include:
- Making changes to your lifestyle, such as ensuring you wash your face more regularly.
- Avoiding using greasy products on your face
- Focusing on ingredients such as salicylic acid and bentonite in your face cleansers, as well as other ingredients that are known to absorb oil
- Having a professional extraction done by a dermatologist
- Having a chemical peel
1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Wash
If you’re looking for a treatment that will unclog your pores and leave your face feeling fresh, smooth, and hydrated, give Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser a try! The key ingredient in this product that will help improve the appearance of your blackheads is the bentonite, or volcanic ash clay. This substance works to draw the impurities and oil from your skin, penetrating deep into the pores to get right to the root of the problem.
A strong skin microbiome is essential for blackhead prevention—it helps your skin defend against aggressors, such as the bacteria that can worsen blackheads. That is where lactobacillus ferment filtrate comes in. This unusual ingredient harnesses the power of fermentation to protect and defend your skin, leaving it nourished and healthy.
We all know that harsh chemicals are bad for our skin, and that is why Blu Atlas is committed to using as many natural ingredients as possible. Blu Atlas products feature 98% natural, plant-derived ingredients, making this product as gentle and safe for your skin as possible.
One of these natural ingredients is pomegranate seed oil. This oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to its high levels of Vitamins A, C, and K, protein, fiber, and essential omega fatty acids.
Another great aspect of Blu Atlas face wash is that it comes in three different scents! You can choose between the classic scent, the tantalizing coconut apricot scent, or the fragrance-free option. It’s simple to use, too; just rub a dime sized amount between wet palms and rub it on your face, rinse it off, and you’ll be done!
If you’re looking for other products in your skincare routine, Blu Atlas also has a range of other top quality products, including moisturizers, serums, oils, and even beard oil, so there’s something for everyone!
2. Go-To Properly Clean Cleansing Mousse
Because blackheads are caused first and foremost by oil, having a cleanser that cleans away oil thoroughly and effectively is the best line of defense. That is where Go To’s cleansing mousse comes in. It is designed to remove any residue of makeup, oil, and dirt without stripping your skin and giving it that overly dry, tight feeling.
The natural ingredients in this product are what really sets it apart. Willow bark contains naturally occurring salicylic acid, which acts as an exfoliant. This means it works to help the skin shed dead skin cells and clear your pores, so there is less gunk to get trapped in your hair follicles and cause blackheads.
To clean your skin, the cleanser uses the mild surfactant sodium cocoamphoacetate, derived entirely from coconut oil. This cleanses your skin of blackhead causing oils, but is far less likely than harsher surfactants to cause any irritation or dryness.
And don’t worry that this cleanser will do such a good job stripping away oils that it will leave your skin too dry! The glycerin in the formula works to replenish the hydration that is lost during the cleaning process, meaning your skin will look dewy, smooth, and hydrated after using this product.
This cleanser is totally free of any harmful ingredients, including parabens, silicones, mineral oils, and sulfates, and is totally vegan, so you can be confident you are making the best choice for the health of your skin.
3. Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser
When you have blackheads, one of the worst parts is looking in the mirror and seeing enlarged pores staring back at you. That’s why Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser is next on our list of best face washes for blackheads. It not only removes blackheads, it minimizes the appearance of your pores, leaving your skin looking smoother and the texture better than ever.
Kiehl’s prides itself on its use of natural ingredients, and this product is no exception. The formula contains mineral-rich ingredients from the Amazon River, including Amazonion white clay. This works to absorb oil and impurities from your skin, detoxifying and helping to clear your pores.
The product also provides gentle exfoliation through the addition of oat kernel meal. This works to remove dead skin cells as well as absorb excess oil from your skin, leaving your face soft, smooth, and healthy looking.
And oat kernel meal isn’t just an exfoliant! This miracle ingredient is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so if you have sensitive skin that is prone to redness and irritation, you will be able to see a marked improvement after using this product.
It is also vegan and made without harsh ingredients, so you can be confident using this product won’t lead to any negative effects on your skin. Regular use of this cleanser will lead to a greatly improved appearance of your pores, and your skin will feel softer, smoother, and healthier than ever before!
4. Drunk Elephant JuJu Bar™
More and more skincare brands are releasing a solid facial cleanser option lately. There is increased demand due to their effectiveness as well as the environmental benefits. This offering from Drunk Elephant ticks all the boxes—it is effective and made with natural ingredients, and the packaging is completely plastic-free!
One of the most important things to look for in a facial cleanser is the pH, and this cleanser has that down to a fine art. It has a pH of 6.33, which is the perfect balance of being effective for cleansing while still maintaining the delicate pH balance of your skin.
The bar works through a combination of deep cleansing, exfoliating, detoxifying, and hydrating ingredients, which combine to clear the pores and leave the skin smooth, healthy, and hydrated. This cleansing bar contains bamboo powder, which works to gently exfoliate and penetrate the pore, removing dead skin cells that can clog hair follicles and brightening your complexion.
The heilmoor clay (a type of thermal mud) helps to detoxify the skin and absorb oil and impurities, while the virgin marula oil ensures that the skin is left hydrated and supple. The marula oil is high in antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, meaning it fights free radicals and assists to prevent signs of aging.
This bar is totally fragrance- and soap-free, meaning it’s safe for even the most sensitive of skin, and it is gentle enough to be used twice a day as part of your skincare regime. So if you haven’t tried a solid facial cleanser before, what are you waiting for? Give this one a try today; we guarantee you won’t regret it!
5. REN Clean Skincare Clearcalm Clay Cleanser
It’s no coincidence that clay is a key ingredient in many of these cleansers. Clay is one of the most effective ingredients for fighting blackheads. This product is no exception—the star ingredient is French kaolin clay, which works to combat acne and blackheads by clearing away excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. The clay deeply cleanses and exfoliates your skin, penetrating deep in the pore to remove excess sebum and impurities.
Further exfoliation is provided by the addition of willow bark, which gently exfoliates with its natural salicylic acid. The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of the willow bark work to ensure that your skin is left calm and uninflamed, perfect for those who suffer from redness and sensitivity.
This cleanser has one more standout ingredient to offer as well—manuka tree extract. Famous for its antimicrobial properties, this extract works to get rid of any bad bacteria that might be lingering on your face, helping to prevent breakouts and get in control of your acne.
Although particularly effective at treating blackheads, this cleanser is suitable for all skin types thanks to its gentle formulation, including sensitive skin, due to its lack of harmful ingredients.
6. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
Mario Badescu is known for offering reasonably priced, simple skincare solutions that focus on natural ingredients, and this product is no exception. It uses a unique enzyme-based cleanser instead of a soap based cleanser to gently dissolve dead skin cells and reduce visible blackheads.
As well as the enzymes, this cleanser contains two botanical extracts that work to keep your skin clear and healthy: papaya extract and grapefruit extract. Papaya extract is known for providing gentle exfoliation, and it promotes skin cell turnover, leaving your skin clear and fresh. Meanwhile, the grapefruit extract is designed to eliminate surface impurities, so your skin will become smooth and bright.
As you can imagine, this product also smells amazing! Thanks to the botanical extracts, it has a fresh, clean scent that is a treat for the senses.
Another feature that makes this product unique is its dual-action formula. This non-foaming gel combines cleansing and exfoliating to really get to the root of your blackhead problem, clearing and tightening your pores. You can use this product daily thanks to its gentle, non-irritating formula. We bet you’ll start to see a reduction in your blackheads soon enough!
7. Herbario Detox Cleansing Oil
Herbario Detox Cleansing Oil has earned its spot on our list of best products for blackheads due to its unique blend of natural ingredients and powerful cleansing properties.
This innovative product harnesses the benefits of oil cleansing, which has gained popularity in recent years as a gentle yet effective way to remove dirt, makeup, and excess sebum without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. As a result, it helps maintain a healthy balance of oil production and reduces the likelihood of blackheads forming.
One of the key reasons Herbario Detox Cleansing Oil stands out is its carefully curated combination of botanical extracts and natural oils. The formula is designed to deeply penetrate the pores and dissolve stubborn impurities, making it especially effective against blackheads. By breaking down and removing the buildup of oil and debris within the pores, it helps to prevent the formation of new blackheads while also addressing existing ones.
In addition to its cleansing properties, Herbario Detox Cleansing Oil is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that nourish and protect the skin. This not only assists to maintain a healthy complexion but also supports the skin’s natural healing processes. The use of natural ingredients also means that the product is less likely to cause irritation, so it’s suitable for a wide range of skin types, including sensitive or acne-prone skin.
We realize this product is a little on the splurge side for some people, but hey, sometimes you just have to treat yourself. And it works so well, we know you won’t regret it!
8. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Paula’s Choice is making a name for itself as a leading brand of affordable and effective skincare, and this product continues that trend. First and foremost, this cleanser is specifically designed for acne-prone skin, meaning it knows how to effectively combat blackheads without causing irritation or disrupting the skin’s natural balance. It’s gentle yet refreshing, providing a pleasant cleansing experience that leaves your skin feeling clean, soft, and comfortable.
The secret to its blackhead-busting prowess lies in its carefully chosen ingredients. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser features a combination of soothing plant extracts and powerful cleansing agents that work together to unclog pores, remove excess oil, and reduce the appearance of blackheads. And what’s more, it does all this without harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing particles, ensuring that your skin remains calm and protected.
Another reason why this cleanser is a fantastic option for treating blackheads is its compatibility with various skin types. Whether you’re dealing with oily, combination, or even sensitive skin, the gentle formula is designed to effectively cleanse without causing further problems such as dryness or irritation. So give this product a try—it won’t break the bank, and it’s a real contender for the results you desire.
9. Advanced Clinicals Face Wash Brightening Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
If you’re looking for an affordable facial cleanser that unleashes the power of Vitamin C, then you’re in luck! We love this product, which not only works to clear blackheads, but also leaves your skin looking brighter and more dewy than ever before.
The secret to its success lies in the combination of its cleansing and toning properties—the gel formulation gently clears away impurities and excess oil from your skin, while the toning properties even skin tone and reduce the size of your pores.
The star ingredient in this is the ferulic acid, which is proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark spots and pores. This means that after regular use of this product, you will see a visible difference in the size of your pores when you look in the mirror. What a relief!
While many products designed for oily or blackhead prone skin can be drying, this cleanser combats this by using hyper-hydrating aloe vera. This quenching ingredient penetrates deep into the skin, moisturizing, smoothing, and nourishing. And don’t forget the Vitamin C! This will brighten your skin, leaving you looking your absolute best every single day.
You can use this gentle cleanser everyday as it doesn’t contain any of the irritating ingredients that can cause problems, such as sulfates and parabens. We can’t recommend it highly enough!
10. Clinique Blackhead Solutions
Sometimes you need a product that is specifically designed for the job at hand, and Clinique Blackhead Solutions is just that when it comes to eradicating blackheads within seven days. This three-in-one formula works as a cleanser, an exfoliant, and a cleansing mask all in one, aiming to visibly reduce the appearance of blackheads and shrink your pores, thus improving your skin’s texture.
This is another product that makes use of the properties of kaolin clay. It uses it to absorb excess oil and impurities from your skin, leaving your pores tightened and your skin smooth and healthy.
While the kaolin clay deals with the oil and impurities, salicylic acid gently tones and exfoliates your skin, sloughing away any dead skin cells and leaving your skin bright and glowing. And to make sure your skin isn’t at risk of dryness after all that cleansing and exfoliation, the product contains Vitamin E, designed to moisturize and hydrate your skin.
We love that this product is so effective. Try using it for seven days, and you should see a massive difference in the appearance of your blackheads.
11. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel
This luxurious product is a little more expensive than some of the others on our list, but we think that the results will speak for themselves. Dr Dennis Gross products are known for their scientific approach to skincare, and this cleansing gel definitely belongs on our list of best face washes for blackheads in 2023 thanks to its tried and true ingredients.
The potent exfoliation provided by the inclusion of Alpha Beta acids in this vegan cleanser is one of its key strengths. These acids work diligently to lift away dead skin cells while simultaneously toning and smoothing the skin. As a result, the cleanser promotes a more refined complexion and helps prevent blackheads from forming.
Another reason this product is highly recommended is the presence of Farnesol, a unique ingredient that actively prevents breakouts by inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria on the skin. This feature makes the cleanser an excellent option for those looking to combat acne and blackheads without resorting to harsh chemicals.
It also contains Barosma Betulina leaf extract, a natural ingredient rich in flavonoids. This extract works wonders in reducing and refining pores by balancing sebaceous secretion, further contributing to the prevention of blackheads and overall improvement of skin texture.
12. Frank Body Original Face Scrub
Frank Body Face Scrub is a standout product when it comes to tackling blackheads and maintaining a clear, radiant complexion. Its effectiveness is largely due to the carefully selected key ingredients that work synergistically to provide an unparalleled skincare experience. As with many products on our list, the commitment to using natural, high-quality products is what sets this cleanser apart from the rest.
Firstly, this scrub contains roasted coffee grinds, which have multiple benefits for the skin. They stimulate blood flow, promote collagen production, and help fade scars, leading to a more youthful and even skin tone. The gentle exfoliating action of the coffee grinds also aids in removing dead skin cells, which in turn helps prevent blackheads from forming.
Another vital ingredient in this scrub is white clay, which specifically targets breakouts and effectively removes dead skin cells. This powerful component not only helps keep blackheads at bay but also contributes to a more refined and smoother complexion.
Frank Body OriginalFace Scrub also features rosehip oil, an ingredient packed with essential fatty acids and vitamins A and C. These nutrients are crucial for skin renewal and skin cell repair, making rosehip oil an excellent addition to a product designed to keep blackheads under control and promote healthy skin. The rosehip oil works in tandem with coconut, grapeseed, and sweet almond oil, leaving the skin as moisturized and nourished as possible.
As you would expect with all these high-quality, natural ingredients, this scrub is also totally free of any harsh, stripping ingredients that could damage or irritate your skin. As such, this product is a great, safe choice for anyone who is looking to get rid of blackheads without causing damage to their skin.
13. Origins Checks And Balances Frothy Face Wash
Last but not least for our list of best face washes for blackheads in 2023, Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face wash is an exceptional face wash with a focus on effective and unusual ingredients. These ingredients work together to deliver a refreshing and effective cleansing experience, while tackling unsightly blackheads and enlarged pores.
The crucial ingredient in this formula is broad leaf kelp extract, which is unmatched when it comes to combating excess oil production. It works to regulate sebum levels, which prevents clogged pores and reduces the formation of blackheads.
Another essential ingredient in this face wash is wheat protein. This is known for its hydrating and protective properties, meaning that it prevents your skin from drying out and becoming irritated after it has been cleansed. It helps your skin to maintain its natural moisture balance and ensures your skin is not stripped of its natural oils.
One highly unusual and yet effective ingredient in this cleanser is powdered tourmaline (yes, the gemstone!). This mineral is highly effective at removing dirt, makeup, and other impurities from the skin. This thorough cleansing is one of the key elements of preventing blackheads, as when the skin is dirty, it greatly increases the chance of blackheads and other blemishes forming.
This product is an environmentally conscious choice for consumers, as it is totally cruelty-free, incorporating certified cruelty-free honey and beeswax into its product and using no other animal derived products at all. It is also free of any harsh ingredients that can potentially harm your skin, such as sulfates, phthalates, and mineral oils. We love this product, and once you try it, we know you’re going to love it too!
Check out more of our picks and deals here!
This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women's sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.
The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!