How To Steam Blackheads

How To Steam Blackheads Out And Away

steam face blackheadsUsing what my sister calls a face steam machine, is an old and very simple way to remove blackheads and one which readers regularly ask about.

There are some do’s and don’t’s with this technique, so this aims to cover how to steam blackheads out properly and safely both with a proper face steamer and just  using a bowl and a towel.

Blackheads and whiteheads are formed when oils from your skin clog up the pores and then turn black deep inside.

Pores that get blocked like this often develop a spot close by and when you have a lot of them, you have an outbreak of acne.

The other problem with blackheads and whiteheads is that they expand and solidify, enlarging the pores as they do and once stretched, pores don’t always return to their original size, leaving them open to get blocked all the time.

A good skin care routine and the regular use of a face cleansing brush can help keep them unblocked allowing them to reduce in size and appearance so don’t skip it okay?

The best way to get rid of blackheads is by gently applying pressure either side of it and carefully forcing it out, however there’s usually a plug of hardened grease holding it in place, which is where the steam helps by softening the plug and beginning to draw it out.

Bowl and Towel Method

  • Take a medium sized bowl, (though I’ve done this with a coffee mug) and tip about three inches of very hot water in there.
  • Keeping your face at least 12-14 inches away, and obviously being very careful not to allow the steam to be too hot when it reaches your face, lean over the bowl
  • Now pull a large towel over your head and tuck it in as best you can. The aim is to hold in as much of the steam as possible – you’re trying to create a mini facial sauna!
  • Keep steaming for 5 minutes minimum, if you can keep it up for 10 minutes the blackheads will slip out much more readily – but 10 minutes is an awfully long time so keep taking breaks and topping up with hot water to keep the steam coming.

When done blot dry and begin easing them out immediately before they harden again.

To do that, either use a blackhead remover tool or your fingers and apply gentle pressure until it slides out. Deep ingrained blackheads may need several steaming sessions to shift them, but be persistent and they will go – you can steam blackheads out individually using the hot face towel method described next.

Method 2 – The Hot Cloth Treatment

  • You need two face towels for this as you swop them over
  • Take a bowl with water as hot as you can stand but without burning your fingers as you wring the water out
  • Put both towels in then remove one and squeeze it to remove surplus water
  • Now cover you face leaving your mouth out – you do need to breath…
  • Repeat for 10 minutes then try and ease a blackhead or two out, continue steaming until they are soft enough to slide out

Method 3 The Facial Steamer

Proper cosmetic facial steamers for home use are very inexpensive and for me a whole lot safer – having lost an argument with boiling water once I’m cautious about having a bowl in front of me and I don’t think the face towel method is as efficient as steaming properly. Follow the home face steamer instructions as they may vary with design.


1. Never have the steam so hot you burn your skin
2. Always try easing blackheads out immediately and if they don’t come away, steam a bit longer and try again, chances are you’ll have moved them and another 5 minutes will do it
3. Never ever squeeze, you’ll bruise your skin and quite possibly break up the blackhead inside, only removing the top part. If they don’t come out easily, see step 2 in this list!

Care of Your Skin After Blackhead Removal

Immediately following a blackhead steaming and removal session, try applying a clay face mask – I recommend and use Aztec Bentonite Secret Healing Clay (read more…)  – there are some tips on that post like mixing clay up with cold tea or rose water to add a little natural astringent.

Clay face masks are incredibly cheap and well known to tighten up pores, now whilst those open pores may never close up completely, using a clay mask will kick start the process for you. Try using iced water or mixing and chilling facial clay in advance. After all that hot steam a chilled clay facial will cool skin right down again.

Here’s to better looking skin!


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