Wednesday, April 17, 2024

12 Best Blackhead Removal Tools for Achieving Smoother Skin

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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.

  • 1

    Best Tested Pore Spatula

    Dermapore Pore Extractor and Serum Infuser Tool Dermaflash

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  • 2

    Dermatologist-Approved Pore Spatula

    Ultrasonic Facial Spatula Plum Beauty

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  • 3

    Best Pore Strips

    Blackhead Remover Pore Strips Bioré

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  • 4

    Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera

    Blackhead Remover Vacuum Ottleba

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  • 5

    Best Portable Pore Vacuum

    Mini Blackhead Pore Vacuum Microderm GLO

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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.


Best Tested Pore Spatula


Dermapore Pore Extractor and Serum Infuser Tool


Dermatologist-Approved Pore Spatula

Plum Beauty

Ultrasonic Facial Spatula


Best Pore Strips


Blackhead Remover Pore Strips


Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera


Blackhead Remover Vacuum


Best Portable Pore Vacuum

Microderm GLO

Mini Blackhead Pore Vacuum


Best Microdermabrasion Tool

PMD Beauty

Personal Microderm Classic


Most Versatile Blackhead Removal Tool


Facial Cleansing Brush


Best Comedone Extractor

SLMD Skincare

Comedone Extractor


Best Manual Kit


Blackhead Remover Tool Kit


Best For Stubborn Acne


Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum


Best Hydrating Pore Vacuum

Michael Todd Beauty

Sonic Refresher Microdermabrasion & Pore Extraction System


Best Gentle Pore Vacuum

Vanity Planet

Exfora Facial Microdermabrasion Wand

What are blackheads, and what causes them?

“Blackheads are blockages within the pores caused by oil and dead cells that get trapped within the follicles,” says Dr. Zeichner. “As the oil oxidizes, it turns black, which is what gives the blackhead a dark appearance. These typically occur in areas where there are active oil glands, like the forehead, nose, and chin, and have a wide opening to the surface of the skin—making them easily visible,” he adds.

Per Dr. Day, blackheads can be a result of both biological and external factors. “Hormones, stress, or having too much sugar in your diet can cause them,” she says. “Additionally, they can occur from using products that are irritating or too occlusive (aka thick and unabsorbent). All of these things can affect the way the skin naturally exfoliates and create an imbalance,” she explains.

Do blackhead removal tools actually work?

“When used properly, the procedure can be effective,” says Dr. Zeichner. “However, if the skin is treated with too much force, it can lead to more harm than good. Aggressive use of one of these tools can disrupt the skin barrier, leading to open or raw skin and ultimately potential scarring or infection.”

Are there any other products that can be used to treat blackheads?

Both Dr. Zeichner and Dr. Day agree that the best way to treat blackheads is by preventing them in the first place, namely with the help of products containing salicylic acid. “It’s a beta hydroxy acid (or chemical exfoliant) that works to remove dead cells and excess oil that block pores,” says Dr. Zeichner. Specifically, he recommends Jori’s Acne and Oil Control Primer, which contains “maximum strength” two percent salicylic acid and a range of botanicals to address the skin’s needs. “The product does double duty to treat and prevent breakouts, while reducing shine and blurring the pores,” he explains. “It can be worn daily on its own or under makeup to help it go on better and stay on longer.”

Dr. Day says a gentle retinoid can also be used to help treat blackheads. Before committing to any routine, though, she mentions it’s always best to consult an expert. “Make sure to see a dermatologist who can properly assess what might be causing the issue and better guide you—whether that’s with prescription or over-the-counter products that can help keep your skin clear.”

Dr. Joshua Zeichner is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. He is an associate professor of dermatology and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. Dorris Day is a New York-based, board-certified dermatologist specializing in laser, cosmetic, surgical and aesthetic dermatology.

Sam Peters is a seasoned commerce writer and editor with over five years of experience covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics. For this roundup, she spoke with two dermatologists about the best blackhead removal tools and how to safely use them. The author also tested one of these products and considered a range of top-rated blackhead removal tools on the market, evaluating each on their features offered and customer feedback.

Commerce Editor Sam Peters is a Commerce Editor at Hearst covering fashion, beauty and more.

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