For a lot of guys, blackheads are a persistent annoyance—a roadblock to clear, healthy skin. Those pesky little dots just won’t go away, no matter how much scrubbing you do. That’s where science comes in. Once you understand them and how they work, you’ll be able to eradicate them. According to Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist at New York’s Schweiger Dermatology Group, blackheads are just an oxidized mix of oil and dead skin cells that are sitting in open pores. It’s the exposure to air that causes them to oxidize and darken.
Despite the off-putting color, blackheads have nothing to do with dirt, she says. Every skin type is susceptible to them, which is why they’re so common. But those with oilier skin are more prone to getting blackheads. The best plan of action when it comes to getting rid of them is not anything as gross as those squeezing YouTube videos (don’t Google it). It’s a simple 1-2-3 approach that slowly but surely dissolves them and shrinks your pores.