All About Blackheads plus Tips for Adult Acne

What is a blackhead exactly?  And why are they black?  Is it dirt?

No.  It’s not dirt.  If you have blackheads, it does not mean you have a dirty face.  And it certainly doesn't mean scrubbing the hell out of your face is going to do one bit of good.

Blackheads do not mean you have a dirty face.  Blackheads are dark because of oxidized oil and dead cells.  Find out all about it on the Acne Whisperer Blog.

Exactly what is a blackhead?

A blackhead is an impaction made up of various oils and waxes made by your skin, mixed with skin cells that have died and have dislodged from the very top layer of your epidermis.  The same top layer that makes up the surface of your skin lines your pores as well. 

7 Ways to Clear Adult Backne

Back and Chest Acne in Adults

Clearing back acne breakouts in adults by finding the cause first

In the 17+ years of experience in skincare and acne clearing, I have observed that chest and back acne in adults is often completely baffling to the person going through this. 

As explained previously, acne in adults often hits with little prior history, if there’s any history at all, which is why it differs from teen acne so much of the time.  It can be such a total mystery for them, their skin has become completely jacked up from all the wrong products and medications by the time they contact me.   Body acne in the average adult occurs quite the same way - - with little to no previous experience with it.

I have found that there are a few surprising aggravators of body acne, besides the obvious stress factors and drastic hormonal changes of life. 

How to streamline your skincare routine for Adult Acne

Crazy busy? Multi-tasking Your Skincare Could Be The Answer!

Multi-tasking skin care - from lots of products to just a few

Last week I sort of brushed against the multi-tasking trend with the idea of multi-masking different areas where your skin is having different parties on multiple parts of your face. 

Multi-tasking with your skincare is quite different in that where we’re trying to use fewer products at a time to address different issues rather than using more.  

Having said that, properly clearing and soothing adult acne and sensitivity is somewhat difficult with just a “three-step” Cleanser-Toner-Moisturizer program.  

Multi Masking Skincare for Adult Acne

Multi-Task?  Multi-Mask !

I will get to the multi-tasking skincare issue, next week.  I have a few things to say on the subject, and it really does deserve special attention. 

But before that, I’d like to start off with another kind of multi-tasking, from another angle, which is how to deal with different parts of your face doing different things, even when your skincare routine is as optimal as can be.  

How to treat adult acne using different masks together

This may surprise you - only 10% of the world’s population has truly dry skin, ie, doesn’t produce enough oil to keep it lubricated and healthy, while only 10% of the world’s population produces way too much oil.  Everyone else falls in the spectrum in between. 

This is why my clinical instructor in beauty school first introduced us to the world of skincare with this adage:

Adult Acne Tip : You really do need a moisturizer !

There are often times when a new client fills out my Eval by Email® consultation form, and they leave the Nighttime Moisturizer field blank.  It seems many people think they don’t need a moisturizer because their skin is oily, or they’re uncomfortable with the idea because they’ve broken out so much from them in the past.

I have adult acne, do I really need a moisturizer?

I’d like to shed some light on moisturizers, why they seem to break you out, why you actually do need one, and how to obtain the right one for you.

A big part of the problem is they way most moisturizers are made.

20 Ways to Keep Adult Acne Clear While Traveling

How to keep up with Your Adult Acne Skincare Routine While On Vacay!

You have a great routine at home, you’ve done amazing things to clear up your Adult Acne, following the advice from my Eval by Email® service and instructions for using my products to the letter. 


Taking all your products in full sizes on your upcoming trip is not an option.  On the other hand, transferring them into tiny bottles is time consuming and wasteful.  There are also extra considerations, like hotter or more humid weather, constant sunscreen applications after swimming, evenings out and late nights.

So.  Here is a list of tips for packing your toiletries for your carry-on or checked-in luggage:

What can I expect after starting a better skincare routine ?

I get asked this question all the time, and rightly so.  A great deal of trust is being put into me.  The focus of my skincare practice is acne and sensitivity experienced by adults aged late-twenties on up.  Why is that?

There are two reasons for my focus on clients in their late 20’s and older. 

One, I believe that those of us who are looking for anti-aging products that won’t break us out and acne products that won’t dry or irritate our more mature skin, are being largely ignored.  I want to fill that void.

How to Prevent Butt Breakouts !

I’ve been telling you for a long time now, dear readers, that body breakouts are usually caused by friction and/or pressure.  Ill-fitting clothes, sitting for long periods, textured fabric rubbing against sweaty skin, long term exercise with no skin protection.  How much more is this true of butt breakouts??

There are actually two issues with breakouts on the behind, as well as the backs of the thighs.  

Is Benzoyl Peroxide The Devil ?

In my 17 years of helping to clear Adult Acne, I’ve heard differing opinions about Benzoyl Peroxide, aka BPO.  Some say it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread when used properly, in a very specific protocol.  Others believe it damages the skin leaving it thinned out and oxidized, contributing to pigmentation issues and aging.  Some don’t like it just because it’s a “drug”, preferring a more “natural” approach.

But learning exactly what BPO does, how it works, and how it can actually help rather than hurt, took more than just hearing an opinion or two.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you, and perhaps demystify, and even shed a positive light on Benzoyl Peroxide.

How to Control Oil During Summer

How do we Control Oil During the Summer? Plus my very first ever book review.

Who doesn’t love laying out under a tree shaded from the beautiful summer sun reading a good summer book?  Surrounded by flowers, enveloped by warm breezes, listening to kids playing in the park with their dads.  Spending an afternoon like this with a bottle of ice tea? Pure. Bliss. 

How Much of Each of My Skincare Products Should I Use?

After filling out my Eval by Email® form for Adult Acne and Sensitivity issues, a sample packet of an entire skincare regimen is sent to your home to check for likeability and any adverse reactions, after which you purchase the full size products from my web store.  

Of course, accompanying this sample packet is a full set of instructions with the order in which the products are to be used, and how to use them.

In addition, there are full step-by-step instructions in my web site’s Advice Section for an entire skincare routine for every skin type.

Every time a client comes to get a facial at my skincare salon, Daniela’s Facial Studio, or when a remote client writes that they need to order more product, I check on their previous product purchases, what they’ve been using, on what date they purchased last, and whether they might need to replenish or tweak. 

Is it OK to Use the Same Moisturizer for Day and Night?

SPF vs. Night Lotion

Last week, I covered the question of whether the same SPF lotion can be used for face and body.  This week I discuss the topic of using the same lotion for both morning and night.

As an online skincare coach, a substantial number of clients from across the country, people in their late 20s all the way up to their 50s, ask me if it’s really important to have two moisturizers, one for day and one for night.  Why can’t we just use the same moisturizer, why do we have to buy two?  There are several reasons, especially when it comes to Adult Acne.

"Can I Use the Same SPF for Face and Body?"

As an online skincare coach, a great many of the Eval by Email® forms I receive on a day to day basis reveal a pretty substantial number of Adult Acne sufferers who use the same moisturizer for day and night, or the same SPF lotion for face and body.  It may seem like this wouldn’t have any part in acne formation, and indeed, the part that moisturizers play in worsening acne is the same for all types of lotions; the presence of pore-clogging ingredients.  But there are other things to consider as well.

So, this week I'd like to tackle the question of Face vs Body SPF, and next week SPF vs Night lotions.

Is there really that much difference between 
Face and Body SPF lotions?
Let’s consider a few things.

SPF lotions for body are more likely to be pore clogging
This is true even of “sensitive skin” brands, and brands whose advertising implies that their products are healthy for the skin.  Since most people forget how much the hands and arms can touch the face every day, it’s easy to see why so many skincare formulators would use moderately to highly comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients in body moisturizers, figuring it doesn’t really matter. 

Nutrition that Might Help your Adult Acne?

With summer coming, Adult Acne sufferers know there are two types of “glow”...

There’s the glow of better health from finally getting outside and into fresh air and exercise, more fruits and veggies in one’s diet since it’s no longer uncomfortable eating cold foods, and the rosy glow that can come from sun exposure (we want to avoid that, though, don’t we!). 

The other glow is one we don’t like so much.  The glow of excess oil from increased exercise, heat, and goopy SPF lotions that clog pores.  Not to worry, though, I’ll be discussing solutions to all of those in upcoming blog posts !  In the meantime, you can check out the three SPF products I carry at my web store, which are not only guaranteed non-clogging, but are hydrating and really comfortable to wear.

Introducing an Ingrown Hair solution you can't resist!

Summer’s Coming !

Get your skin bikini-ready before summer !

I’ve been waxing bikini lines for the better part of the last 23 years.  Along the way I’ve not only become quite expert at the famed Brazilian Bikini Wax (thank you veddy much), I’ve also honed an expertise in Adult Acne.  Both of these have given me tremendous insight into the formation, and treatment, of the dreaded ingrown hairs and body acne, whether formed as a consequence of waxing or simply an oily skin condition. 

What do masks do? Part 2

Last week I talked about a few of the types of masks used in clearing Adult Acne to calm, soothe, heal and purify.  Having gone over Clay and Gel Masks, this week I’m concluding Mask Madness Month with an overview of Cream and Exfoliating Masks, as well as some of the other types of masks you may have come across.

What Do Masks Do? Part 1

In my skincare practice and my remote skin coaching program, Eval by Email® Online Skincare Consultation for adults 24+, an at-home weekly use of an exfoliator and mask is an integral part of my method of clearing Adult Acne.  I wrote a little about this last week when talking about how to prep for vacation. 

Continuing Mask Madness Month at Daniela’s Facial Studio®, let’s talk about how masks work and what ingredients and benefits make them such an integral part of an at-home regimen and in-studio facial.

Spring Break: After College?

I used to do a lot of waxing.  I mean, like, 16-24 clients per day, several days a week.  I currently do quite a bit less, now that I’m so much more focused on Adult Acne. 

Back then I was located two blocks from Depaul University, so I had a fair amount of students in my client base, many of whom continued to see me well after graduation.  Some still do.  

The majority of my waxing clientele, however, were actually 20-30-40something college grads, mostly professionals working in the corporate world in one capacity or other.

March is Mask Madness Month at The Acne Whisperer !

Yes indeed, folks, it’s Mask Madness time here at The Acne Whisperer! The entire month of March will be devoted to the masks offered at my main web site, what they do, how they work, how to use them and how to choose them.

With so many choices and benefits, I thought I would start out with a simple lesson in the best way to apply a mask.

Adult Acne and Acne Medication: Why Not Meds?

In last week's post, I discussed a few of the various types of medications that are sometimes prescribed for acne.

As an Virtual Skincare Coach specializing in acne conditions in adults 30+, I've noticed for years that many people who come to me for help have been disappointed by prescriptions that either simply didn't work or actually appeared to make things worse.  I have indeed seen skin clearance with medications as well - after all, prescriptions are not given based on nothing. They do sometimes help.

So why do medications disappoint so much of the time?

Adult Acne and Acne Medication: Why Meds?

As an Online Esthetician working exclusively with Adult Acne for people 30+ for the last decade or so, many clients come to me after being disappointed by doctors.  From differing hormone levels, to greater dead skin cell buildup as we get older, to a plethora of anti-aging products, there are so many new issues that arise over the decades, it baffles me how often people seem to get treated medically the same, irrespective of age.  

In general, I feel that throughout much of the medical profession, adult acne is not really well understood for one very simple reason - pore clogging and irritating ingredients in anti-aging skincare are not taken into account.  It's no accident that so much of the time a client will start out telling me that she never had a single pimple in high school - a definite indication her acne problem is not genetic!  What this means is that oil and bacteria may not be a problem in a case like this.

So why prescribe medication ?

All prescription acne meds are designed to either cut oil production, exfoliate dead skin cells or kill bacteria - and here's where it gets complicated.  If bacteria, excess oil production and/or dead skin cell build-up were all that were involved in the formation of adult acne, a string of prescriptions would likely do the trick for most people, and I would still be working in a fancy spa on the south side of Chicago doing fluff facials.  

What is missing here?  Why are these medications so often not helping?  

Oily Skin, Adult Acne & Hydration

"My oily skin has been really tight and dry lately. I'm using a thick moisturizer at night, but I just can't seem to get relief. I also think I'm breaking out more than usual because of the moisturizer, but I don't know what else to do. ...Am I using the wrong products?"
Simply put -- the key to this issue is hydration. Most moisturizers lubricate the skin more than they actually bind water to the skin's surface -- this is great for skin that doesn't produce enough oil, but it's actually terrible for skin that produces too much oil. 

Oily skin doesn't need more oil! What it actually needs is water.

The Workout Breakout Connection

It seems as though every blog and website on the planet is talking about New Year's exercise resolutions right now... While keeping up with healthy habits is very crucial, it's also important to not neglect your skin! It's still early in the year and we're all reevaluating our habits and/or making resolutions, but I also wanted to make sure to catch you at this time to help with preventing the acne breakouts that can result from new workout schedules.

Adult acne flareups that occur when working out can actually come from several factors, such as: not using the right skincare products for your skin type or skin concerns, wiping sweat away with the wrong materials, or not knowing when to fit in your skincare routine between workout sessions!  To help clear things up :), here are a few things to keep in mind:

Winter Skin: Why Sunscreen Is Essential

Think you don't need sunscreen in the winter?

Consider these facts:
  • On an overcast day that is bright rather than dreary, the sun will be reflected through the clouds in just as damaging a way as on a perfectly sunny day.
  • On a clear sunny day with snow on the ground, the sun will reflect off of the snow and damage your skin.
  • Experts are finding out that there are different types of light rays coming towards our skin from all types of indoor lighting, which can contribute to skin aging in small ways. Fortunately, broad-spectrum sunscreens can filter these harmful rays - it's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Sun damage is cumulative - most of us already have substantial sun damage from childhood and adolescence. Sun exposure on a clear day can contribute to that damage over time, especially when it's 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there either walking to a store or to our cars. Don't let cold temps, hats, and scarves make you think that you don't need sun protection!

Skincare Q&A: Eye Creams

As an online esthetician, I spend a great deal of my time answering questions about adult acneingrown hair problems, rosacea, or general skin sensitivities. So! I thought that I would feature a skincare Q&A on my blog to address some of these issues.

There are some questions that are sent to me via email or through ChickRx, a site where anyone can ask questions that relate to various lifestyle topics and experts (like myself) can offer valuable advice or suggestions. If you have any questions that you would like to ask (or have featured on the blog), please don't hesitate to speak out in the comments below! If you would rather have a question be answered privately, I am always available by email.

This week's Skincare Q&A features concerns about getting a head start on anti-aging products, including what role eye cream plays in your skincare routine.

"I'm 28 years old, and I don't have any wrinkles yet, but when should I start using anti-aging eye cream?"

I'll tell you a secret about eye cream... If you don't already have fine lines or dryness around your eye area, eye creams are a complete gimmick when it comes to preventative skincare.

Adult Acne in the Presence of Dehydration: Part 2

In Part One, I discussed how dehydrated skin can contribute to adult acne breakouts and blackheads. Blackheads, also known as “open comedones,” are made of a mixture of oil and dead skin-cells.  

Within the area known as the "t-zone” they're not only normal, but blackheads are actually beneficial! The oil of your skin is slightly acidic, which kills a lot of bacteria that hit your skin from the air - more oil in the t-zone means protection for your eyes, nose and mouth from bacterial invasion. The mix of dead skin cells makes this all stay in place, as oil and dead skin cells that are not mixed together also come out to the surface.  

Over time, this mix exchanges itself as cell turnover and constant release of oil get pushed out of your pores every day onto the surface of your skin joining other substances your skin makes to provide your skin’s entire protective barrier known as the “Acid Mantle”.

But what if this mix has difficulty coming out? What if blackheads keep building up more and more inside the pore? What if the separate oils and dead skin cells also can’t come out?

Adult Acne in the Presence of Dehydration: Part 1

As an online Esthetician and a virtual skincare coach through my Eval by Email® Online Skincare Consultation program, I don’t often get a chance to feel the skin of a client. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see what’s going on! Even without the use of a magnifying lamp - you’d be surprised what can be seen in a good web or phone cam photo. 

Since I have over 17 years’ experience giving facials I know very well what dehydrated skin is like, what it feels like, what it looks like, and what causes it to occur. 

In cases of Adult Acne and Sensitivity, which are my specialized focus, dehydrated skin appears in the vast majority of my clients. If it seems like a contradiction - acne in the presence of dehydration - remember that there is a difference between having “dry” skin that doesn’t produce enough oil and having dehydrated skin where there is plenty of oil but too much water loss

If you have large (or large-ish) pores and acne, you don’t lack oil by any means. The last thing you need is more oil. On the other hand if you remove too much oil from the surface of your skin, you can have a bear of a problem. In fact, most of the time when acne and/or oiliness occurs with dehydration, the culprit is usually harsh cleanser since it can strip away a great deal of your skin's protective barrier, which then creates more water loss while causing the skin to produce more oil to rebalance its acidity level.  

The condition of your skin can get even worse with damage accumulated through simple living creating more problems for the age 30+ acne sufferer, whose been plagued with acne products treating skin like it’s 16 and anti-aging products treating skin like it’s genetically dry and clogging it up! I’m not here to talk about how to tell if your skin is actually dry or just dehydrated. Nor am I here to talk about how to deal with a dehydration problem.  

What I am here to talk about is the role that dehydration can play in the formation of adult acne.