When the pores in your skin are behaving themselves they are pretty much invisible, yet they have a vital role in keeping your skin moisturized and healthy.
They are the means by which oil from the sebaceous glands and moisture from the sweat glands reach the surface of your skin and stop your skin cracking and drying out.
It’s when you system starts producing more oil and/or dead skin cells than the pores can cope with, that they get blocked and then you need to know how to get rid of clogged pores, because clogged pores are a breeding ground for infection and can lead to skin breakouts and acne as well as blackheads and whiteheads.
The more oil glands there are, the more you tend to develop clogged pores in the area. That is why they are found mostly on the T-zone of the face, including the forehead, nose and chin, though they are not uncommon in oily skin on the cheeks and other parts of the body such as the back and chest.
How to Unclog Pores
Although there is no best way to get rid of clogged pores with a “one size fits all” solution, there are a number of different ways of unclogging pores and getting rid of blackheads and whiteheads, that have worked for many people.
A Simple Plan For Unclogging Pores
If you haven’t tried anything yet, I recommend you start here with this simple skin care routine aimed at keeping pores clear and unblocking existing clogged pores.
Always be as gentle as possible with your skin and avoid picking and scrubbing at it. Being too rough can aggravate the skin, open up pores further and introduce infection so that you end up with pimples rather than clogged pores.
|About Clogged Pores
Clogged pores are caused by skin cells shedding too quickly and getting trapped at the surface of the skin, blocking the pores. These skin cells trap oil and dirt in the pores and cause the formation of whiteheads and blackheads, which make clogged pores visible to the naked eye.
Whiteheads are blocked pores which are still covered in a thin layer of skin. They look like tiny bumps under the skin.
Blackheads are formed when the trapped oil (sebum) is exposed to oxygen in the air so that it oxidizes and changes to a dark gray color along with melanin, the color pigment in the skin cells. You can see these as black dots in the pores on the surface of the skin.
You need to find a way to deal with blackheads and whiteheads if you want smooth skin, and getting rid of clogged pores will also help reduce breakouts as both types of clogged pored often get infected and turn into inflamed pimples.
Use a Mild Cleanser
Avoid washing your face in normal soap or anything which is too astringent. If you completely strip all the natural oils from your face thinking that oily skin is your problem, then your face will fight back by producing even more oil! You need a find a balance. A mild ph balanced product will often be better than a harsh one that is recommended for skins prone to breakouts.
Keep Your Skin Clean
Make sure that you wash your face every morning and cleanse every night to remove all traces of makeup.
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Even if skin is oily, it’s important to wear a moisturizer but choose one which is non-oily and non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging).
Because clogged pores are cause by trapped skin cells mixed with oil, regular (daily) exfoliation can help keep the pores clear. Though it will often not be enough by itself to unblock pores that are already clogged, it can release some of them and give your skin a fresher look, while helping to prevent future clogged pores. See How to Exfoliate for Clear Beautiful Skin and this article on the Best Facial Cleansing Brush for details about the best ways of gently exfoliating your face.
Steaming your face once or twice a week can help you remove blackheads. After mechanically removing the dead skin cells at the surface of the skin by exfoliation, steam your face to open up the pores a little for further extraction. Fill a bowl with steaming water and bend over it with a towel covering your head. It can help to add cleansing herbs (such as mint and rosemary) to the water. Be careful not to touch the hot water and scald yourself while you are steaming your skin. Getting rid of clogged pores is not worth being scarred for life!
You can extract blackheads yourself after steaming your face, using one of the two following methods. But you do have to be careful about this. You have to use a gentle but firm pressure to remove them without leaving a permanent mark. If you are not sure, then visit an esthetician to have this done as part of a facial. Visiting a professional is always the best option, of course, but not everyone has the funds to do that especially on a regular basis (which might be required if your skin suffers from clogged pores a lot). So I am including these DIY methods because I know these worked for me without any training and I managed to do it without scarring myself so no doubt you can too!
- use tissue and clean fingers – take a piece of clean tissue and press gently but firmly on either side of the blackhead. If pressing each side does not cause the little devil to pop out, try top and bottom as well. If no success at that point, stop trying, as the blackhead is not ready to come out. Leave it for next time. Don’t keep adding more and more pressure, you will just damage your skin.
- use a blackhead extractor tool – buy a blackhead extractor tool and use that (also called a carribiner or comedone extractor). The tool has a little loop on one end that you center over the blackhead and press – you know the score – gently and firmly. Use a magnifying mirror so you can see exactly what you are doing and disinfect the extractor with rubbing alcohol before you use it on your face. After trying twice, stop and try next time you steam your face. You’ll only ever be able to coax out the ones that are ready to be removed. The blackhead extractor pictured here is available at Amazon here.
Blackhead extraction should not leave you with scars. You are not breaking the skin at all. But it will leave your skin a bit red so don’t do this just before you go out.
If you don’t have time to steam your face before blackhead extraction, you can help by holding a warm compress on the affected area before you begin. (A clean face cloth wrung out after immersing in hot tap water will work fine).
Apply a Clay Mask
After steaming and getting rid of as many blackheads as you can, wipe your face with a gentle toner then apply a clay face mask in a thick layer. Lie down and relax for a few minutes while it works on your skin, but don’t fall asleep and let it set brick hard. Set a timer so you don’t nod off for however long the product suggests you leave it for! Remove the mask after the alloted time with warm water, then splash your face with a little cold water. Pat it dry and apply an oil-free moisturizer.
Home Remedies for Clogged Pores
If you prefer to use natural products on your skin, any of the home remedies below may help, as well as the natural steam process (Step 6 above). Although, in most cases, home made products are not as effective as commercial products, they may be just right for your skin and then you have a very gentle, low cost solution to clogged pores and one that is often readily available in your kitchen!
Lemon Juice Cleanse
Lemon juice makes an effective astringent cleanser for areas prone to clogged pores as it has natural detoxifying, antiseptic properties. (Do not use it on the drier parts of your face if you have combination skin). Dip a cotton wool ball in fresh lemon juice, and dab the affected parts of your face, leave the juice to dry for a few minutes and then wash your face with plain water.
Baking Soda Paste
Apply a paste made from baking soda and water to the area with clogged pores and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash your face with warm water and pat dry.
Fuller’s Earth Mask
Use a fuller’s earth mask as the clay mask in step 8 above to help unclog your pores. Just add water to a couple of tablespoons of fuller’s earth so that you have a paste and apply in a thick layer. (Add enough water so that the mask can be applied smoothly but without dripping). Leave until it is almost dry and then wash with warm water.
Oatmeal and Egg White Mask
Mix an egg white with enough fine oatmeal to make a paste and use as a mask, leaving it on your face for 7 to 10 minutes and then rinsing clean with warm water.
Yogurt Clay Mask
Mixed 4 tablespoons clay with 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and enough water to make a thick paste. Add 2 drops of tea tree oil. Spread the mask on your face and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Lemon and Honey Scrub
Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons honey with enough coarse sea salt granules to make a paste and use this as a gentle exfoliator for your face.
Honey Cinnamon Treatment
Mix 3 tablespoons organic honey with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Apply to the affected areas or your whole face. Leave for at least 20 minutes but longer if you can (even a few hours)
|Pore Clogging Ingredients
Before picking a product to use on your skin, (including makeup as well as skin care products) always check that it has no pore clogging ingredients.
For example, lanolin is often present in skin care products and it is one of the worst offenders. Also avoid alcohol, isopropyl mystate, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol, mineral oil and parabens.
You can check out a full list of problem ingredients here.
Some products are labelled as non-comedogenic which means that will not clog your pores.
Pore Unclogging Products
If you prefer to buy pore unclogging products pnline or over the counter, then you also have a lot of options. You may need to try a lot of different solutions to find what works best for you, but it is worth persevering until you find a solution that does the trick without irritating your skin too much.
Just remember that when you are dealing with skin you are unlikely to see a difference overnight (except in individual blemishes) but with consistent use over a few weeks any of these products could make a big difference to the condition of your skin.
These are strips that you peel and stick over affected areas. When you lift the strip the idea is that the blackheads are lifted away with the strip. This can work for blackheads on the very surface of the skin (which could probably be removed by exfoliation or the blackhead extraction process above) but will have no affect on deeper blackheads.
Special Cleansing Ranges
There is a range called Biore which includes products specifically designed to unclog pores. They are said to be quite effective by many buyers. With products like this, which don’t suit everyone, test them if you can afford them, so you can to see if they provides a good solution for you. You can always stop using them if you finish the product and see no great difference in your skin. You can read about the full range here on Amazon and see what you think.
“I have no idea how cleansers get pores clean, but I have clogged pores as well as blackheads. I’ve been using Biore products that clean pores as well as get rid of blackheads. Works very well…kind of on the pricey side, but are well worth the price” source : Yahoo answers
If you have deep blackheads you could try some of the products containing more active ingredients which are designed to unclog your skin. This regimen from Prevention and also discussed on Yahoo answers is a good one to try as the products are widely available and low in cost. The girl recommending this has had no more breakouts after following this and says it has worked for family and friends who have tried it too.
I wash twice a day (in morning and before bed) with a salicylic acid based cleanser such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser. In the morning after I wash, I apply an Alpha Hydroxy 8% AHA. This exfoliates my skin. Makeup and sunscreen can be applied over it. At night, after washing, I rub an ice cube over my face until my face is as cold as I can stand it, I pat it dry until it is damp and apply a small amount of benzoyl peroxide 10% cream and massage it into the affected areas. I apply ice packs over this for about 5 minutes. Do this until your skin clears. Then you can use ice only as needed but continue with the other part of the regimen.
All of the following ingredients act as keratolytics, which loosen up any materials clogging the pores so that they can be removed. Ingredients to look out for in over the counter products are:-
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s)
These are fruit acids which slough away the top layer of dead skin cells and take away excess oil without stripping the skin of natural moisture. This encourages the formation of fresh healthy skin cells. AHAs have various name on product labels including
- glycolic acid
- lactic acid
- malic acid
- mandelic acid
- citric acid
- alpha-hydroxyethanoic acid
- alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid
- alpha-hydroxycaprylic acid
- hydroxycaprylic acid
- mixed fruit acid
- tri-alpha hydroxy fruit acids
- triple fruit acid
- sugar cane extract
- alpha hydroxy and botanical complex
- L-alpha hydroxy acid
- glycomer in cross linked fatty acids alpha nutrium (three AHAs)
Salicylic acid helps slow down shedding of the cells inside the hair follicles, preventing clogging. This is often the case if you have acne alongside clogged pores.
This is a good antiseptic, and is best used if your clogged pores tend to turn into pimples and acne, as it is useful in getting rid of dead cells around the hair follicles which can easily become blocked and inflamed. You do not need a particularly strong solution. 2.5% cream seems to be as effective as stronger creams and is less likely to irritate your skin.
IMPORTANT NOTES: If you use any of these strong ingredients always ready the label on the product and follow the instructions. Some of the ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight for example and you need to take care. Also you need to understand what to do if you have a reaction to the product.
If your skin is very clogged then a product that you apply and leave on your skin will be better than a product that you wash off, but it will also be more irritating if your skin is sensitive so you have to get the balance right.
Salon Treatments to Unclog Your Pores
Although expensive, especially if you want to have regular sessions, treatments that you can only get in a salon are beneficial to problem skin and may be worth the cost. A series of facials every 6 weeks with extraction can make all the difference. Look out for the following treatments:-
This is a type of exfoliation using specialized machines and crystals. The salon treatment goes much deeper into the pores to remove dirt, oil and dead skin causing blockages. The treatment will help clear blackheads and whiteheads as well as unclogging your pores.
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) facial peel
This is another type of facial peel that is only available in a salon or dermatologist’s office. It uses the same beneficial naturally-occuring acids that you find in over the counter products but at much stronger concentrations. It sloughs off the topmost layer of dead skin cells to get rid of clogged pores.
If you have not been able to get rid of blackheads yourself with an extraction tool, take yourself off to see a professional esthetician to remove the obstructions from your skin. You can also have whiteheads removed in a salon, which you should not attempt yourself at home.
See Your Doctor or Dermatologist
When first trying a new regimen you may find that your skin becomes temporarily worse as it reacts to the products and extra attention. Don’t give up straight away and give any treatment 6 to 8 weeks to work. Give it a chance to settle down to see the proper effect of the treatment.
However if you have given a number of things your best shot, and have tried home remedies to get rid of clogged pores as well as exhausted the commercial products, it may be worth visiting your doctor or skin specialist for further help, as there are some products that are only available with a prescription such as
- Retinoic acids
- Topical anti-bacterials or antibiotics
- Oral antibiotics
- Birth control pills (the FDA has approved one birth control pill specifically for acne treatment)
- Isotretinoin (only in severe cases as it can cause birth defects if you become pregnant during your course of treatment)
Source : skindoc.net