A variety of products claim to banish blackheads but seldom work, and some end up exacerbating the problem. Suddenly, the blackheads on our nose begin to resemble moles, leaving us embarrassed and out of hope. However, clearer and healthy-looking skin is all about regular maintenance with our skincare regimens.

We have to know what a blackhead is before we start to treat it. These pesky skin invaders go by the medical term "open comedones" — comedo means "clogged pore." Pores can get clogged because of an overproduction of oil from the sebaceous glands. Sometimes, the mixture of natural skin oil, or sebum, along with dead skin cells and bacteria builds up forming a thick plug in a pore.

Because blackheads are open comedones, all the gunk is exposed to the air instead of being covered by a layer of skin. They get their appearance due to the sebum build-up along with the pigment, and those dead skin cells can be oxidized by the air to form a dark, almost black color.

So, how do you get rid of these menaces?

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliating regularly is essential to keeping blackheads in check. It scrubs away dead skin cells that could clog pores. The rule of thumb is to do it once or twice a week, but remember not to over scrub; you don't want to strip your skin. Use an exfoliating scrub or loofah and choose warm water to rub your skin in a circular motion.

2. Clay Masks

Clay masks are highly effective to treat blackheads because the skin gets to absorb all the minerals while simultaneously drawing out the blackheads. Facial masks are recommended to use for deep cleaning because it cleans out pores while leaving them smoother looking. Opt for a a mask with kaolin (a mineral-rich clay), sea mud, or even charcoal. When it dries and is rinsed off, the mask “pulls off” some dead cells, debris, and oil with it.

3. Salicylic and Glycolic Acid

One of the best ways to break down oil in clogged pores is using beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic) or peels that contain salicylic acid. This ingredient is commonly found in over-the-counter acne treatments in concentrations between .5 and 2 percent. This should be layered on the skin once or twice a day — so the longer it sits on the face, the more time it has to work.

4. Moisturize

Moisturizers won't prevent blackheads, but they can pll out dirt. Failure to cleanse, tone, and moisturize every day can leave makeup, oil, and residue on your skin that can lead to the formation of blackheads. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found those who used moisturizer were found to develop wrinkles at a fraction of the rate of those with dry skin. Moisturizing is particularly important for men.

5. Wash Your Face

This may seem redundant, but washing your face really does help keep your skin looking clean and healthy. A night of passing out with your makeup on won’t do too much harm, but periodically, this can lead to gunked-up pores. Washing your face will help prevent the development of blackheads and serious acne.

These tips will help keep your skin clear, and healthy, reducing the appearance of blackheads.