When I was a teenager, I always assumed that blackheads meant your skin was dirty. Of course I now know that’s not the case. Blackheads form when the oil in clogged pores interacts with the air. If blackheads are a recurring problem for you, the best thing you can do is chat with your dermatologist about prescription gels or scrubs. But if you’re wondering how to prevent or get rid of the occasional blackhead, I’ve researched a few easy remedies that should do the trick. Here are a few measures you can take to ban those pesky blackheads for good:

Take preventative measures…

Unfortunately my No. 1 tip for preventing blackheads also comes with the highest price tag. I get a professional facial every few weeks, which is the main thing I credit for my mostly clear complexion. Facials do cost a pretty penny, but if you can make some room in your beauty budget they’re definitely worth the splurge. Why not opt for an at-home mani this month and allocate some funds toward a facial instead? Or try this ice cube facial or this DIY facial out if you’re on a budget right now.

Another more affordable step you can take is exfoliation. Exfoliating cleansers, face scrubs, or even a mixture of baking soda and water can be used to cut through grease, oil, and dead skin cells. I also recommend investing in a Clarisonic brush, which will help remove dirt, oil, and makeup while gently exfoliating your skin. Exfoliate at least once or twice a week to keep blackheads at bay.

Say bye to blackheads, stat!

Pore strips were all the rage at sleepovers when I was in middle school. But if it’s been a while since you’ve used them, it’s time to revisit this drugstore beauty remedy. Biore and Boscia both make pore strips or try a DIY version instead. But while pore strips will provide some immediate improvement, they don’t prevent blackheads from recurring.

Another method for removing blackheads is an at-home clay mask. According to Daily Glow, cosmetic clay (which can be purchased at most health food stores) is especially effective in removing these pesky blemishes.

What not to do…

It might take all of your willpower, but squeezing blackheads is the worst thing you can do. Leave the extractions to your aesthetician or dermatologist. According to the Huffington Post, squeezing blackheads at home can cause inflammation, infection, and even scarring.

I hope that helps!

Let me know what beauty crisis you’d like me to cover in my next Beauty 911 post.