Causes of clogged pores
Essentially, dirt, oil, and dead skin cells on your face can end up trapped in your pores, leading to blackheads or whiteheads, also called comedones. Getting rid of extremely clogged pores takes a little care and effort, and reducing their occurrence may require lifestyle changes.
Excessive use of makeup or using the wrong formula of makeup for your skin type can lead to clogged pores. Thoroughly wash all your makeup off each night before bed, but do not scrub. Try to avoid wearing makeup during exercise, as sweat can mix with your foundation or setting powder and clog your pores. Washing your face every morning and evening and after you exercise can help keep your pores clean.
Proper skincare, including the right type of soap and exfoliant, can help reduce the occurrence of clogged pores on cheeks. Clogged pores can occur regardless of skin type, and each skin type requires different kinds of cleansers and products. If you’re using the wrong types of products, your pores may become clogged more easily. If possible, speak with a dermatologist about which types of products are best for your skin.
While acne and clogged pores are generally thought of as teenage problems, breakouts can happen at any stage of life. In fact, many people who never had whiteheads or large pores on the nose report breakouts during pregnancy, due to their shifting hormones.
While clogged pores don’t directly cause acne, it can be easy to confuse the two. Whiteheads can become infected and resemble acne blemishes. Furthermore, if you try to pop whiteheads or otherwise manually unclog your pores, you may run the risk of spreading bacteria from your fingers, causing the pores to become infected.
Even if you don’t see the telltale pinpoints of clogged pores or whiteheads that look like pimples, you may be able to discover if you have blocked pores simply by running your fingers over the surface of the skin. Clogged pores on the chin will make your skin feel rough or bumpy, and you’ll have dull-looking skin from the buildup of dead skin cells.
How to get rid of clogged pores
The right type of gentle cleansers and exfoliants can treat clogged pores without damaging the overall top layer of the dermis. Ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are common cleansers that work chemically to remove dead skin cells that can clog your pores.
If you have extremely clogged pores, which can manifest as an outbreak of blackheads and pimples, you may choose to see a specialist for extractions. A dermatologist or licensed aesthetician will use a metal tool to extract the contents of your pores, working gently on one small area at a time. These procedures should be done in a clinical setting to avoid bacteria and also because these individuals are trained to remove clogged pores with minimal damage to your skin. Once they’ve finished with the extraction, the specialist will apply an antibacterial solution to prevent infection followed by a serum to help your skin regain the proper pH balance. For the best results, schedule these treatments once a month.
If you have extremely clogged pores, which can manifest as an outbreak of blackheads and pimples, you may choose to see a specialist for extractions.
You may also wish to try steam treatment for your skin. This, too, is typically performed by a professional, using hot steam to enlarge your pores. The steam treatment is followed by a gentle application of a mask or moisturizer to the entire face or affected areas. Using steam to enlarge your pores makes chemical extraction of their contents more effective, as the treatment more easily reaches deep inside. After the cleansing process, your aesthetician will apply a serum to help your pores shrink back to their usual size, followed by a pH treatment.
Methods to avoid when treating pore clogs
Tough masks and strips that you apply to your face, either the entire face or just the affected areas, are a pore-unclogging sensation right now. However, these methods may actually do more harm than good to your skin overall. Any pulling on the skin, especially if it’s painful, is going to damage the surface of the skin itself. Plus, unclogging pores in this manner will actually cause them to become larger, making them visible and more prone to deeper clogs in the future.
Proper exfoliation — the removal of dead skin cells from the top layer of skin — is necessary to keep your pores clog-free.
Don’t use your fingers to unclog pores. While you may be able to squeeze some of the debris out, the process of doing so with your nails or fingertips can actually introduce bacteria from your hands or the dirt under your fingernails, which, in turn, causes infection and pimples.
Proper exfoliation — the removal of dead skin cells from the top layer of skin — is necessary to keep your pores clog-free. There are many different types of exfoliants on the market, including popular brands that have abrasive ingredients such as sugar or ground apricot pits. While sugar scrubs may do wonders for the skin on your hands and feet, abrasive facial exfoliants are more damaging, as the skin on your face is more sensitive and thinner than on other places on the body. In addition to damaging the top layer of skin, physical exfoliants can also irritate your pores, causing them to become larger (and thus more susceptible to clogs) over time.
There are a couple of at-home remedies you may have seen to treat clogged pores. Avoid using baking soda on your face. The chemical components of baking soda are too harsh for your facial skin. Likewise, lemon juice is a poor choice to clean pores, as the acidity can be damaging to the surrounding areas. Both of these folk remedies have the adverse effect of disrupting your skin’s natural pH balance, leading to red, dry, and flaky skin.
Ways to prevent clogged pores
Using the right skincare products for your face consistently is the best way to reduce clogged pores and keep your complexion glowing. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser that isn’t oil- or alcohol-based in the morning and at night can help remove the sweat, bacteria, and dead skin that clog pores.
Treating the affected areas with a targeted mask can help with deeper clogs. Opt for a charcoal mask that you can wash off, versus the strips or tougher pull-off masks, and make sure to follow the instructions. Leaving these masks on your skin too long can damage the skin around the clogged areas, leaving it dry, red, and flaky.
Finally, choose the right type of makeup, and remember to give your skin a break. Don’t wear heavy foundation and powder to the gym or other times when you’ll be sweating a lot. Excessive sweating can also lead to clogged pores on the breasts, so make sure to wash underneath your breasts daily, too. Go makeup-free whenever possible to allow your skin a chance to breathe and recover.
Do not sleep in your makeup. Use non comedogenic products. Try not to touch your face during the day in order to avoid spreading the dirt and bacteria from your hands to your face.
Wash your face twice a day and after you exercise — over-washing can cause your skin to respond by secreting more oil or becoming red and flaky, depending on your skin type. When you do wash your face, pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it to reduce irritation.
Having glowing, clear skin is possible, even for people who have visibly dirty pores and blackheads. Learning how to get rid of clogged pores takes a little effort, but proper skin cleansing and avoiding circumstances that increase the likelihood of clogs can help reduce your breakouts. Finally, drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet of whole foods can help improve your complexion too.