The latest in trending blackhead treatments promises to leave skin smooth and blackhead free. It features a common ingredient we've all worked with at some point in our lives: Elmer's Glue. Does it work? I can't tell you, but I can tell you why you should try these alternative, but effective home remedies to remove blackheads. I'm not going to pretend like I've never tried a risky DIY treatment to remove blackheads or blemishes before. I too get caught up in the immediate results from a vlogger and disregard anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence. In fact, I'm sure I've encouraged thousands of people to put semen on their face — that is something I'm proud of because believe it or not, putting semen on your face isn't as dangerous as wearing glue.
But before we go any further, let's discuss how the Elmer's glue mask works exactly. By mixing charcoal and glue together and applying it as a mask, the blackheads are pulled out to the surface and rinsed away with water when rinsing the mask off. The idea is that the adhesive in the glue combined with the charcoal's ability to draw toxins will remove blackheads. Funny thing, though is that an activated charcoal mask will do that on its own. Charcoal is extremely absorbent which is why it's effective at pulling bacteria, dirt, and oil build-up to the surface. However, charcoal's deeply antiseptic properties mean you have to apply it responsibly and in moderation or you can irritate or dry out your skin.
Here's why you shouldn't jump into this DIY glue mask without knowing the risks: Let's start with the obvious risks which is the ingredients used to make glue. Most glue is made up of polymers that give it its sticky-strength, but some glue often contains aluminum powder which is def not what you want on your pretty face. This brings me to my next point, the familiar warning label on glues. According to Elmer's own site, if glue comes in contact with your skin, you should rinse it off immediately with soap and water. Glue is an adhesive and as Seventeen points out, you could actually end up clogging your pores even further. Pulling the glue off, as vloggers readily admit, can be painful and if you're aggressively pulling glue off your face you risk dryness and major irritation.
Don't worry, there is still hope for your blackheads. If you're looking for a way to pull your blackheads to the surface, there are way more effective and safer ways to do so. Bonus: The all-natural treatments can actually prevent future blackheads too.
1. Steam Your Face Regularly
Steaming your face weekly can prevent and treat blackheads. The heat from the steam will allow you to basically sweat out bacteria and dirt. I highly recommend adding cleansing herbs like mint or basil to help penetrate the pores deeply.
2. Make A Weekly Microdermabrasian Treatment
Gently exfoliating your face is the best way to keep pores unclogged and free from blackheads. You can make a simple paste with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, which is great for oily skin.
If you've found baking soda too alkaline for your skin or your skin is already dry from previous blackhead treatments, try this honey paste with cardamom. It is great for all skin types seeking relief from blackheads. Cardamom is a great natural ingredient for acne, using the powder can slough off dead skin cells while softly exfoliating your pores.
3. Apply An Egg White Mask
Egg whites have substantial anecdotal evidence for removing blackheads. Plus, they have vitamins A, D, and E which are great for your skin and they help heal and restore damaged skin cells. When you apply an egg white mask, leave it on for about 10 minutes so it can dry on the skin. You'll notice you face feels a little tight while wearing egg whites and smooth once you've rinsed it off with lukewarm water.
4. Clay Mask Sans Glue
If you're suffering from frequent blackheads and haven't tried clay, no wonder you've turned to glue. As I mentioned, clay has a strong ability to draw toxins to the surface. A clay mask can prevent both breakouts and blackheads by cleansing the skin gently without stripping it of its natural oils — we need these natural oils to keep us from future breaks out and external factors that dry out the skin. There are plenty to choose from and if you need a little help picking your clay, check out this post to see which clay is right for your skin.
5. Turmeric & Blackstrap Molasses Facial
If you really want to put something sticky on your face, swap the glue for molasses. Blackstrap molasses contains lactic acid which is hella beneficial for blackheads. According to sources at Organic Facts, it's often used as a natural remedy for acne because of its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and don't even get me started on how applying turmeric has helped my skin Use a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, a teaspoon of diluted warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of pure, organic turmeric and mix together in a bowl. Apply on makeup free skin and let your mask sit for five minutes before rinsing with warm water. If you're up for a challenge: ditch the water and apply molasses/turmeric on affected area and remove with a damp washcloth before cleansing.
6. Honey Pat Down
I learned the honey pat down can remove my own blackheads years ago from Wellness Mama, who is arguably the DIY mentor of the Internet. Apply raw honey to the affected area and rapidly pat down with clean fingers. If you've ever used tape to attempt to remove a blackhead, this will feel eerily similar, but less abrasive. The idea is the honey will cling on to the buildup in the pore and eventually come off.
7. Keep A Bourbon Toner On Hand
I always have a cleansing toning spray made to freshen my skin up midday. Most often, I skip my toner in between cleansing and moisturizing and save it for times where my face is feeling slightly oily or if I just happened to eat greasy food. Frequent use of alcohol on your face can dry your skin because of the antiseptic qualities, but if you want to work out existing and future blackheads, make a bourbon toning spray and use it for a week in between cleansing to keep those pores clear.
If you're doubting instant results from these blackhead remedies — you aren't far off, the results are dependent on how clogged your pores are and the quality of your ingredients. Take into consideration that natural remedies require diligence and patience: our skin is an organ and it takes time for it to heal. Glue, just like loads of OTC treatments, is a fast-acting remedy that leaves your largest organ exposed to skin irritation. Be patient with your skin and it will start behaving — trust me.
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (8)