I’ll admit it: I’m a serious perfectionist. This means on any given night, you could probably find me examining my pores in the mirror for at least 15 minutes post-cleanse to pinpoint and eradicate every little blemish. On top of choosing the best pimple patches and acne spot treatments to put an end to my merciless picking and prodding, I’ve also turned to some popular blackhead removal tools in my quest for a clearer, purer complexion.
“These tools come in various forms to physically extract blockages from within the pores,” says dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “They’re designed to be applied to the skin with light pressure and force the blackhead out of the follicle.”
Besides traditional pore strips and comedone extractors, there are a variety of electric blackhead removal tools now available. For instance, “poor vacuums use suction to extract blockages within the pores,” says Dr. Zeichner, mentioning that these are typically best for removing smaller, closer-to-the-surface blackheads. Meanwhile, “poor spatulas are vibrating tools with flat edges that are applied to the skin at an angle to force out blockages,” he says.
According to fellow dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, a blackhead removal tool may offer more precision in removing congestion than your nails. Nevertheless, it’s important to proceed with extreme caution. “Anything that you’re using to press or squeeze the skin with can create some inflammation or swelling,” she says. “All of that can lead to scarring or damage, and possibly a higher risk of the blackhead or pimple coming back in the same spot, if application is done incorrectly.”
“When using these tools at home, first make sure the tools, your skin, and your hands are properly cleansed,” Dr. Zeichner advises. “Apply gentle, downward pressure around the blackhead itself, and if the blackhead does not easily come out using the tool, abort the mission.” With pore suction devices specifically, start on the lowest setting to see how your skin reacts and to avoid any potential bruising. Most brands suggest using their blackhead removal tools no more than twice a week, but check each item’s specific instructions for guidance.
Prior to using a blackhead removal device, Dr. Day also recommends softening the skin by jumping in the shower or using a facial steamer, the latter of which can also provide temporary hydration. “This will help open up the pores, so blackheads come out more easily with less force,” she says.
If you, like me, are curious to safely test out these benefits, keep reading. Below, shop the 12 best blackhead removal tools per these experts, customer reviews, and my own honest feedback.