AHA's and BHA's have done a great job on making my skin smoother and more even, and keeping those whiteheads mostly away. Estee Lauder Idealist serum does help with the large visible pores. But the blackheads? They're just stubborn and they have been hanging on in the area for so long that they won't think of leaving.
A good friend of mine, who is the biggest skincare addict I know and has tried everything, recommended that I gave Mario Badescu silver powder a try. Since it's a/ easy to order online, b/not too expensive (about 12€) and c/ a jar lasts you for ever, I thought it was worth trying.
How does that work? First of all, I recommend doing this after you showered, since your pores will be more open thanks to the warmth. Now, the jar is full of a white powder. You take a slightly damp cotton pad and lightly touch the powder in the jar. The cotton pad will grab some of the powder, and you might want to shake it a bit so the excess falls out. Don't worry, you're not going to do anything to the rest of the powder.
Then you apply the powder, which you'll notice is turning into a paste, to all areas where you have blackheads and congested pores. At that stage, you look like a clown with white makeup on. Now you just have to wait 10-15 minutes: go read your favorite blogs or watch youtube videos.
To remove the product, simply use another cotton pad damp with water or with toner. You will notice that some of your blackheads are gone already, and some other are closer to the surface of the skin, which makes them easier to extract (yes, that's attractive, I know). I tend to use water to remove the product because if I use a toner, extraction will be more difficult, so I tone later. What some people also do is using a pore cleaning strip right after the powder, but I don't find these to be too effective.
Does it hurt, does it have side effects? No and no, at least not on me. The product doesn't tingle, isn't hard to remove, this is an easy and painfree procedure.
Does this work? Yes, it does, you will definitely notice improvement. But you have to use the product several times before the difference gets big (you can do this treatment twice a week) and unfortunately, if you're prone to getting blackheads, they don't disappear once and for all. So you know you'll have to commit to using the product on a regular basis.
Do I recommend it? Yes, totally. It's affordable and it works well, what more do you want?
PS: Mario Badescu US regularly offers free sample kits so check that on their website if you're interested.