One of the most persistent skin issues prevalent across most skin types is clogged pores. Some people may get them lesser than others, but the battle of pores vs you remains one that’s yet to be won.
Especially problematic for acne-prone skin, clogged pores can mean blackheads, whiteheads or a bumpy skin texture. And, when they get infected, they turn into full-fledged acne! So read on for a number of things you can do to unclog your stubborn pores.
What are pores?
Pores are microscopic openings on the skin's surface that enable oil to pass through. These are ducts that connect to the sebaceous glands beneath the skin. Pore sizes and numbers differ greatly depending on the body’s region, gender and ethnicity. They are, like so many other things, mostly the outcome of genetics.
Why do pores get clogged?
Sebum is a material produced by the glands on the face. This natural oil covers the skin and helps to keep moisture locked in. A pore's job is to transport that oil to the skin's surface, where it can protect and moisturize it.
Sebum, dead skin cells, and other things can get caught inside a pore at times making the plugged pore appear bigger than usual or have a rough texture. There are also a few factors that make it more likely to get a clogged pore:
- Using comedogenic products - Comedogenic chemicals are those that have the potential to clog pores, according to dermatologists. Sunscreens, lotions, and makeup, for example, can all be comedogenic.
- Excess sebum production - Hormones, heredity, and age all contribute to some people producing more sebum than others. If your skin generates too much sebum, your pores may become clogged more frequently.
- Loss of skin elasticity - Reduced skin suppleness can cause pores to become wider and more noticeable, making them more prone to clogging.
5 tips on how to get rid of clogged pores
Of course, the idea is to clean your pores and enable oxygen to flow freely through them, preventing germs from causing issues. But saying it is easier than actually accomplishing it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do at home to unclog your pores:
- Try an activated charcoal or clay mask - Activated charcoal as a skincare component may have benefits such as eliminating dirt, pollutants, and toxins from pores. They are supposed to operate by drawing dirt and oil particles from within the pore to themselves, leaving the pore clean, however, there is little scientific research to back these assertions. Some clay masks, such as bentonite clay masks, have been demonstrated to be effective at absorbing oils. Once a week, pamper yourself with a clay mask that also contains hydrating elements to efficiently suck out excess oil while also leaving your skin nourished.
- Invest in pore strips - Pore strips are adhesive-backed and available in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the portion of the face you want to use them on. To eliminate germs, oil, tiny hair, dead skin, and virtually everything on the skin's surface, you may apply them to the targeted region with little water or serum and wait for them to dry before peeling them off. However, some doctors warn that they aren't genuinely cleaning the skin deeply and that they may destroy crucial natural oils. They can also irritate the skin and may not be effective in removing blackheads. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, stay away from pore strips.
- Exfoliate your face - While certain physical exfoliants may assist to some extent with blocked pores, a chemical exfoliator including AHA, BHA, or both may be more effective at removing the muck. Chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid or lactic acid can be used to gently dissolve trapped particles in your pore before washing them away with water. To clear the pores, alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid), topical enzymes, or retinol are used.
- Steam and extract - You may use a steamer on your face for an at-home steam treatment. After that, try a metal extractor tool to manually apply pressure around congested pores once your pores have grown wider after being steamed. You can use it to remove the contents of blackheads, whiteheads, or even pimples in some cases if it happens to be safe. After you are done, use a toner to leave your skin feeling fresh and smooth, followed by a moisturizer. Try the Carmesi Pore-Clarifying Toner for best results.
- Give retinoids a go - If you haven't yet joined the retinoid club, you should think about it. Retinoids reduce oil production, reduce dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and increase collagen, resulting in smaller-looking pores. Pore blockages may be reduced when your skin elasticity improves.
Can you prevent your pores from clogging?
Like there are things you can do to unclog your pores, you may want to try several things in order to minimize pore-clogging:
- Use non-comedogenic products to prevent them from clogging your pores
- Exfoliate prone-to-congestion regions of the skin
- Follow an effective daily skincare regimen and make sure to wash your face twice a day
- Always remove your makeup before bed, as this can end up severely clogging your pores
- Refrain from touching your face
Can you completely unclog your pores?
While you may be able to eliminate some pore accumulation, you are unlikely to be able to remove all of it. There will always be some blockage in your pores, but with a good skincare program, you can lessen or restrict the appearance of pores.
Because our bodies continue to manufacture additional oil, removing blockages only has a short benefit. Within a few days, the pores generally get filled with gunk again. So maintain your skincare regime and look out for the occasional clogged pores!