Blackheads and whiteheads are called comedonal acne. This is the first step leading to any pimple and results from the oil and skin cell secretions getting “stuck” in the opening of the oil gland. This creates a micro plug; if it is closed to the air it is a whitehead and if it is open to the air it is a blackhead. A blackhead turns black because the contents of sebum/oirl oxidize when they hit oxygen; it is not dirt. There are many options which can help to clear or improve blackheads or whiteheads. Creams and gels containing retinol or retinoid (SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex ES, Tretinoin .05% Gel, Differin Gel, Retin-A) and salicylic acid containing products (Let me Clarify, Essential Cleanser, and Acne Treatment Toner) are both good starting points. Using a Clarisonic Brush (Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System, Clarisonic Mia 2, Clarisonic Pro) will assist with exfoliation as well as ensuring good penetration of treatment products. In addition, chemical peels and microdermabrasion (DERMALINFUSION®) are very helpful. Additionally, Clear Pore Facials or beta (salicylic acid) peels, are extremely helpful in clearing blackheads and whiteheads and keeping them at bay.