There’s a New Way to Remove Blackheads—and Beauty Pros Can’t Stop Talking About It

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021

Does it really work?

If you get a curiously soothing satisfaction from watching blackhead removal videos, you’re definitely not alone. There’s just something so visually gratifying about watching someone’s pimple getting popped or blackhead getting extracted vicariously; even though we cringe at the thought of pus oozing out of skin glands, we just can’t look away.


If you find yourself nodding in agreement to that statement, you’ll get a rush out of potentially the most mesmerizing blackhead removal technique you’ve seen in a while. Spawned from Reddit’s Skincare Addiction, people from around the skin-care community have been posting the most effective way to rid your pores of those black specks that captivate us so.

Termed as “skin gritting,”  the disgusting (and fascinating) photographic evidence features little black grits literally scattered across people’s hands, grits that used to be in someone’s pores. Intrigued? The process involves massaging skin with oil, applying a clay mask, and then massaging skin a second time with oil. The result of your cleansing labor is a complete purge of the miniscule black plugs of sebum.

After seeing the bizarre demonstrations, we had to know more. We reached out to Dr. Howard Sobel, founder of DDF Skincare, to gain some insight on how it all works. “This technique works on the principle that the oil used in the treatment will dissolve the oils in the skin and that the clay mask will soften the blackheads allowing them to ‘slip’ out of the pores.”

However, every good thing has its pitfalls, and this one is no exception. According to Sobel, “Applying oils to oily or acne-prone skin may exacerbate the problem. The clay mask is very drying and can irritate already sensitive skin.”

Washing your face twice in a row may help the cleanser penetrate deeper into the pore for a greater cleanse, but it can also strip the skin of its essential oils. Even worse, the rough textures could break the skin capillaries, slicing micro-cuts in your skin that can eventually hyperpigment. Take care not to overly scrub your skin, and do it in moderation; in other words, don’t make it a daily practice. Don’t miss these other face-washing mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

“The combination of the oils and the clay mask and the rubbing of the skin can damage and irritate the skin,” says Sobel. “Be sure to thoroughly remove the oil and follow it with a hydrating serum and oil-free moisturizer with a sunscreen.”

If you have dry skin and are looking for blackhead removal alternatives that don’t involve applying maximum friction to your face, there are other ways. According to Sobel, “There are cleansing astringents with glycolic acid that can exfoliate the skin to prevent and dissolve blackheads. There are also medications such as Differin gel, which is now over the counter, that can exfoliate the skin. The hand held cleansing devices with micro crystals would also be a good alternative.” Just make sure you’re not making these exfoliating mistakes

Nevertheless, skin gritting can be worth a shot; aside from the initial revulsion, we understand the intense desire to do this to your face this very second. If you’re prone to clogged pores, refrain from coconut oil on your skin; the substance is comedogenic, meaning that it can actually clog your pores and worsen the situation. Otherwise, there’s no promise that it can hurt or help your skin, so grit away! (Just don’t say we never warned you).