Pore strips can only do so much to get rid of blackheads; the stubborn ones look like they want to make your skin their permanent residence – and you want none of that!

While we usually recommend that you visit a trained aesthetician to get them extracted, we understand that sometimes you may want to do it by yourself. If you’re intending to take things into your own hands, make sure you’re avoiding these mistakes so you can finally evict pesky blackheads once and for all.

1. Your hands are dirty

The cardinal sin of any skincare routine: Doing it before you washed your hands thoroughly. Always make sure that your hands are thoroughly cleansed before you start to remove blackheads. Otherwise, you might be introducing bacteria to your pores, which can cause inflammation (pimples).

2. You over-exfoliate

Exfoliation is definitely a good idea if you want to keep excess sebum and clogged pores at bay. However, over-doing it can irritate your skin, worsening the problem by triggering even more sebum production.

Go for gentle exfoliators and do it only once or twice a week. And if your skin feels irritated, make sure you stay off exfoliation for a while.

3. You don’t prep your skin

If you’re intending to squeeze out those blackheads, make sure your skin is prepped. Do these: wash your hands (see Tip #1), cleanse your face, use steam so that your pores can open up. You can also consider applying some moisturiser before you start. A good time to do extraction yourself would be after a shower.

4. You use your nails

Be gentle with your skin. Using your nails can puncture skin and leave scars, and does nothing to removing blackheads. Extractions should always be done with your fingers and with light pressure. Only use an extraction tool if you’re confident about what you’re doing.

5. You use too much pressure

It’s tempting to place your fingers close to each other around the blackhead and applying a lot of pressure to force it out. Actually, placing them wider from each other can make it easier to remove it. And as you squeeze, switch the positions of your fingers around the blackhead constantly so that you won’t be leaving marks on your skin.

6. You are too persistent

Persistence is usually a good trait to have. But when it comes to blackheads, only go for those that are most obvious. And leave those that refuse to budge alone. If you can’t get it out after trying for a few times, forget about it and try another day. It’s probably not ready to be removed.

7.  You forget about after care

Don’t forget to soothe your skin after extraction. Apply a cooling, soothing mask over the area to calm it down. Masks that contain aloe vera extracts, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid are good options to go for.