Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"How can one remove acne and clear blackheads?"


If I have acne and blackheads, what is the best way to treat both of them at once? I'm 23 years old and I've had moderate acne since I was in my mid teens, and now that my blackhead problem is starting to get worse I feel that I really need to do something.


Blackheads, also called "open comedones" are a type of acne vulgaris that results from material accumulating in the sebaceous (oil) gland, and becoming oxidized, resulting in the dark color. Whiteheads are similar to blackheads except they are not exposed to the air, so their contents do not become oxidized. Whiteheads are called "closed comedones.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dermatologists near you

" The best way to keep your skin clear is to wash it regularly with a non-foaming face wash. Foaming face washes can be overly-drying, which causes your skin to produce more oil and makes you more likely to develop clogged pores. After you wash your face, dry it and apply a moisturizer. You should only use oil-free products which are labeled as "non-comedogenic" which means they will not cause comedones. You may also use products with alpha hydroxy acid, which will help your skin shed dead skin cells so that they will not build up and collect in pores, as this can worsen acne. There are prescription strength medications which can help clear more serious acne, but these must be prescribed by a primary care physician or a dermatologist, are often expensive and can be very drying. You may want to start a regular skin care regimen before trying one of these medications, but if you experience scarring from your acne you should talk to your doctor to try to prevent further damage to your skin. A good routine is your best treatment!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.