I may be a beauty journalist and privy, therefore, to some of the best treatments, products and professionals around, but in all my years of research, I’ve never once found a solution to blitzing the blackheads that have plagued my nose since I was a teen.
Every facial I’ve entered into, they’ve been remarked upon, but none, until recently has been able to evict them. But (and listen in close), I’m pleased to report, I’ve found a fix. A fix in the form of microdermabrasion. It may not be new, but trust me, if you haven’t tried it, it’s revolutionary. Especially if you’re looking to tackle blocked pores.
Here's why microdermabrasion could be the answer to your skin problems
I went for my first treatment at where my aesthetician talked me through its skin-rejuvenating abilities. Essentially, it’s a complete overhaul for your complexion, and therefore best employed occasionally, maybe two to three times a year (as frequent use can thin skin). Consider it a deep spring clean for knackered faces. It basically sloughs off the top layer of dead skin cells, bestowing skin softer than I’ve felt in years.
And, it brings troublesome skin back in line. Really, it takes things back to basics. I’d been struggling for some time to get my products to absorb effectively into dry, sluggish skin brought about by overusing ultra heavy creams. This lifts the lot off and enables you to start from scratch.
As for blackheads? Well, that’s where things really get satisfying. If you’re the sort of person who appreciates a pimple-popping video, or you’ll happily get up close and personal with your nearest and dearest’s chin spots, you’re going to enjoy this. Allow Dr Barbara Kubicka, aesthetic doctor and founder of Clinicbe, to explain...
How exactly does microdermabrasion work?
“Microdiamonds on the surface of the device tip mechanically remove dead skin, while a suction method helps with lymphatic drainage and circulation, alongside removal of sebum [the oily substance that creates spots] in pores,” says Dr Barbara Kubicka. Some treatments even feature an infusion system that simultaneously pushes targeted ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C into skin at the same time as it sucks the dirt out. Effectively, though, microdermabrasion is a super-powered exfoliation that gets deep into pores and buffs skin’s surface to perfection.
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What is it good for?
“Microdermabrasion tends to be best for oily and congested skin,” says Dr Kubicka, just make sure you don’t have any active inflammation. Likewise, it works on “breakouts, blocked pores, dull complexions and sun damage,” adds Dr Kubicka, since the resurfacing action will help to lighten pigmentation such as sun spots.
Does it work on all skin types?
“All skin types can benefit from microdermabrasion but the strength of suction and grit of diamonds needs to be adjusted depending on the skin thickness and sensitivity,” says Dr Kubicka. Though, if you’re particularly sensitive, it may be too harsh, she adds.
How can it help to reduce the appearance of blackheads?
“When it comes to blackheads, the suction method pulls out sebum from the skin and through micro lymphatic draining brings it to the surface,” says Dr Kubicka. What makes this treatment especially good for blitzing blackheads, is even the ones which aren’t hoovered out immediately are loosened by the suction. Therefore the ultra stubborn ones can make their way naturally to the surface – which is why your follow-up routine at home will make all the difference (more on that next).
What else would you recommend to reduce the appearance of blackheads?
“Using mixed acids like glycolic, mandelic and even salicylic are really effective,” says Kubicka. Each has a different strength or works on a different level of the skin to cover all bases. Glycolic is very potent and offers up ample surface level exfoliation, mandelic is more gentle (though less powerful) and salicylic gets deeper down into pores to unplug them.
What can we do at home to keep up the good work between treatments?
“For at home maintenance a daily exfoliating wash is pretty effective at keeping blackheads under control,” Kubicka advises. “Ensure that you’re cleansing your skin daily and thoroughly, especially in the evenings.” And finally? “Use light non-comedogenic [non pore-blocking] moisturisers and serums as part of your regular regime and opt for mineral based makeup,” she adds. Long-wear foundations are one of the main culprits for rooting itself deep in our skin, so while they may make it through the day, you’re best off opting for something lightweight if you’re black-out prone.