I never really had any problems with blackheads until recently, but I imagine most of you have been facing these pesky spots for a time now. So here are some tips on ditching these little buggers. Rid yourself of some of the ones you have now and prevent getting more in the future.

Exfoliate. Really. I know, blah blah blah, right? Wrong! If you don’t exfoliate, you will never get rid of those blackheads. Exfoliating your skin clears your pores of dead skin cells and other oils that clog pores and create those tiny spots we all hate. I would recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week to get rid of blackheads; any more than that will cause the skin’s natural oils to be stripped. I know some of you are probably cheering, but dryness actually causes your super-smart face to produce more oil, thereby creating more acne and cloggage.

Stop clogging your pores. Since blackheads come from dirt and oil clogging pores, keeping them free and clear of any foreign substances follows. To keep clogs at bay in the future, choose non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products. “Non-comedogenic” refers to a product being less likely to cause clogged pores, usually because it is water-based rather than oil-based. Toner is also important for keeping foreign bodies out of pores, since it closes and protects the pores.

Use cleansing masks. Masks of any type are extremely effective, since they allow ingredients to really seep into pores. Masks with fruit enzymes are very effective at removing dead skin cells, one of the naughtiest culprits in creating blackheads. Try to use some kind of facial mask at least 1-2 times per week. A warning, though: try and keep treatments with toner, exfoliant and masks spread out, since too frequent use could cause irritation and breakouts.

Don’t let your hair make it worse. Oil in hair is often a good thing; it can create a shiny, soft texture that makes hair look healthy and strong. But when your moist hair hangs out on top of your oil-mongering pores all day, your scalp’s sebaceous goodness seeps into your facial skin and causes blackheads and pimples. You may want to wear your hair up in a ponytail for a while. If you have bangs, well, try to see if you can live without them. I'm growing mine out because they really clogged my pores, and my forehead is starting to clear up now that they're no longer irritating my forehead.