The 12 Best Blackhead Removers of 2023

Goodbye, gunk.

best blackhead removers including glow recipe, dermaflesh, and dr. dennis gross exfoliator pads
(Image credit: Future)

Here’s the thing about blackheads: They really shouldn’t be popped. All that pressure and picking is going to leave your skin scratched up, irritated, and quite frankly, not looking any better. You’re much better off shrinking the appearance of your pores by using one of the best blackhead removers. From chemical exfoliants and physical scrubs to pore vacuums, there’s no shortage of products to help ~safely~ clear out the dead skin, oil, and bacteria clogging up your skin. And by using one of these blackhead removal products (we’re rounding up the best of the best below), you’ll likely have fewer comedones from here on out. 

But picking a blackhead removal product isn’t one-size-fits-all. A pretty intense salicylic acid serum might work wonders for someone with uber-oily skin, while a gentler alpha-hydroxy acid (think: lactic or glycolic acid) will do the job for those with more sensitive skin types. Regardless of what you need, we’ve got you covered. 

What Are Blackheads?

A blackhead is quite literally a pimple, specifically an open comedone, that has come to a black-colored head. “They are a type of acne lesion in which a pore accumulates dead skin, oil, and bacteria,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. They then turn black as a result of oxidation. Blackheads are going to be the *most* common in people with oily skin, but just about anyone can deal with ‘em. You can have sensitive skin and blackheads, dry skin and blackheads, combination skin and blackheads—you get the point. 

What to Look For

“Blackhead treatments can come as cleansers, toners, serums, or leave-on treatments,” explains Dr. Camp. “Some facial masks can also be used to draw out impurities on the skin to clean out pores.” Then there’s also pore vacuums, pore strips, and physical scrubs. In short: There’s a lot to choose from. But, the best blackhead remover for you is going to depend largely on your skin type. “People with more sensitive skin may elect to use a chemical exfoliant, as they tend to be more gentle on the skin than physical exfoliants,” says Dr. Camp. Lactic acid, glycolic acid, or poly-hydroxy acids can provide non-abrasive exfoliation. Now while those ingredients are all very, very viable options for oily or combination skin types, too, products with salicylic acid, scrubs, retinoids, or pore vacuums, are also an option. 

How Blackhead Removers Work

How your blackhead remover works is pretty dependent on the type of product you choose. Pore strips, for example, are going to use an adhesive material to grip dead skin and debris, while pore vacuums use suction to achieve the same end. Then there’s more traditional exfoliation. “Chemical exfoliants use ingredients that break apart adhesions between superficial skin cells to gently remove dead skin,” says Dr. Camp. “Physical exfoliants gently abrade the skin to scour away dead skin cells and debris.” 

The Best Blackhead Removers