Pores are tiny openings present across the skin, except for the palms and soles. They let the oil and sweat pass through the skin and cool it off. They enable the sebum produced in the glands to reach the surface and prevent the skin from getting dry. Whereas, the sweat pores let the sweat escape the body. Both these functions are vital for the skin’s health, as they help with flushing out the toxins and keeping the skin lubricated.
They also are openings for hair follicles. While they serve an important function, their visibility is an aesthetic concern for many people. Moreover, clogged pores can result in certain skin conditions such as acne.
When the oil pores are clogged, they appear as blackheads or whiteheads. Clogged oil pores are also called comedones. The dead skin cells and oil start accumulating in the pores, which become clogged. When the bacteria activate in these pores, it leads to inflammation and causes acne.
How to Get Rid of Clogged Pores?
To get rid of clogged pores, there are many options available. Certain lifestyle changes can also help eliminate clogged pores. Here are a few ways to unclog those stubborn pores:
Oral and topical applications
Excessive sebum production is one of the main culprits behind clogged pores and most oral and topical applications target sebum secretion to unclog the pores. For instance, retinoids, like Isotretinoin, are recommended for topical application for blocked facial pores.
Retinoids are the derivatives of vitamin A and they inhibit excessive sebum production. L-carnitine, an amino acid, is another topical application that helps with the condition. These applications can unclog the pores by normalizing the activity of sebaceous glands.
The oral treatments include hormonal drugs, as irregular hormonal release also leads to clogging of pores. Antiandrogen drugs are effective in treating the condition. Other hormonal therapies like oral contraceptives as well as antiandrogen drugs target the sebum secretion to unclog pores.
Laser treatments are effective in handling acne and clogged pores. They involve removing some of the sebaceous glands, thus preventing further buildup in the pores. Such treatments include diode laser devices, photodynamic therapies, and non-ablative radiofrequency (RF) devices. Laser techniques like yttrium scandium gallium garner also effectively reduce the facial pores. A few experts deem photothermal destruction of hair follicles as an effective treatment of clogged pores.
Improved skin elasticity also helps with clogged pores. The skin loses its elasticity during aging, be it natural or premature. Applying sunscreen regularly can protect the skin against UV damage and retain its elasticity. Topical retinoids like tazarotene and tretinoin also improve elasticity by increasing the collagen content in the skin. Collagen is the structural protein responsible for skin’s elasticity and suppleness.
Dietary choices can also help with the clogged pores. Certain food items affect the patterns of sebum synthesis. For example, foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates lead to increased sebum production and can cause clogged pores.
Use non-comedogenic products
Certain ingredients are known to clog and inflate the pores. These ingredients are called comedogenic. Using products that are non-comedogenic or oil-free can help prevent clogged pores.
Cleansing the face twice a day can help reduce oiliness, remove the clogged pores, and prevent further clogging. Studies show that using a cleanser can prevent the pores from clogging and alleviate acne symptoms.
Use a gentle cleanser that bears a non-comedogenic or oil-free label. Prefer the one containing glycolic acid. Do not overdo it, as it will make the skin dry.
Remove makeup before going to sleep
Going to sleep with makeup on can take a huge toll on the skin. The cosmetics along with oil and dirt (accumulated during the day) clog up the pores and render them inflated. Remove the makeup and cleanse the skin before going to bed.
Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeast that live in the body. They are a part of the human microbiome, a community of microorganisms that live in and on the human body. Probiotics maintain a healthy balance in the body by fighting off bad bacteria, fighting inflammation, supporting the immune system, and helping the food digest better.
Clogged pores are a result of excessive oil secretion and are a visible feature of acne. Probiotics control oil secretion, fight off inflammation, and hence, improve acne. Having skin conditions like acne is also an indication that the gut flora is out of balance. Probiotics can help restore that balance.
There are both oral and topical probiotics. Probiotic foods include sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, misu, traditional buttermilk, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and natto- a fermented soybean product. Oral probiotics also come in the form of probiotic supplemetns.
Topical probiotics also help with clogged pores. Certain face washes and BLACK PAINT skincare products contain probiotics and provide a similar effect of controlling oil and fighting inflammation by their direct action on the skin. Over time, such products improve the texture of skin with balanced hydration and lesser breakouts.
What causes clogged pores?
Here are some of the most common causes why you have clogged pores:
Human skin experiences a natural cell turnover across the body including the scalp, face, legs, and so on. This process takes place after every 28-40 days. That means new skin cells are produced and the dead skin cells are shed after the said period. Sometimes, the dead cells are not completely shed. They stay in the skin and clog the pores. One has to exfoliate to get rid of these cells.
Excessive sebum production is also associated with clogged pores. Research shows that genetic disposition causes excess sebum that can block and inflate the pores. What happens is that the excess oil combines with dirt and dead skin cells to form a buildup in the pores. It is also a major cause of acne.
Too much cleansing or exfoliating
Over-cleansing or excessive exfoliation can be counterproductive. While both routines are vital for skin health and to clear pores, going overboard with them can be detrimental. It can deprive the skin of its natural oil, making it dry. As a result, the oil glands start working more to overcompensate and release more sebum, which further clogs the pores.
Reduced Skin Elasticity
Reduced elasticity of the skin can also lead to clogged pores. Studies show that a decline in elastic fiber causes the pores to inflate and clog up. Applying retinoids and using sunblock regularly can help improve elasticity and reduce the size of the pores.
Using comedogenic products
Comedogenic refers to the skincare and makeup products with ingredients that increase the risk of pore blockages and acne breakouts. The list of such ingredients is quite extensive. Some of these compounds include propylene glycol-2 (PPG-2) myristyl propionate, D&C red eyes, and lanolins like ethoxylated and acetylated lanolins.
How to Clean Pores?
Here are a few simple ways to unclog pores:
Deep clean with Pore Strips
Pore strips are made of an adhesive and comprise different sizes and shapes. They are effective in removing the residue left over the skin’s surface. Some strips can pull out the dead cells and dirt as well, which ultimately cleans out the pores.
One study shows that these strips are effective in removing white and blackheads. However, results depend on proper application. Many people suggest using water to activate the adhesive so that the strip works effectively.
Mask with Charcoal or Clay
Both clay and charcoal masks are an easy way to unclog pores. Clay absorbs oil from the skin and pulls out the dirt. Hence, clay masks can effectively deal with blackheads, whiteheads that clog the pores. If we mix clay powder with warm water. The heat helps increase the release of dirt and oil through perspiration. This way the dirt and excessive oil get drawn away from the skin.
Activated charcoal is another remedy for clogged pimples. It is an ingredient in many cleansers, masks, and scrubs. Skincare products with charcoal are usually recommended to deal with pollutants and dirt. A charcoal mask is known to treat blackheads and mild acne. However, both masks help with cleaning out the pores.
Exfoliation refers to the cleansing of the skin by removing the outermost layer and ultimately the dead cells. It can help unclog the pores as well. There are two methods of exfoliation, mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation involves cleaning with cloths, brushes, and scrubs.
Chemical exfoliation involves using beta hydroxy acids (BHA), alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) like glycolic acid, topical enzymes, or retinols.
Do not use any chemical without a dermatologist’s advice. Some of them can damage the skin or render it dry at the least.
Extractions involve using metal tools or hands to press around the clogged pores and extract the contents. Experts advise against doing it at home because popping the blackheads or pimples can damage pores and aggravate the condition. After the extraction, it is important to apply an antiseptic or antibacterial as well as a soothing mask.
BLACK PAINT offers certain organic, all natural products that help deal with clogged pores. A combination of Black Paint Soap, Black Konjac Sponge, and Oil Water reduce pores in size, prevent them from clogging again too soon, and control the sebum production to minimize clogged pores. More importantly, these 3 skin care products are upgraded to include a microbiome feature and contain in them one of the most useful bacteria – Lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus calms and soothes the skin by producing antimicrobial peptides that fight inflammation and bad bacteria.
Some of the microbiome-included, probiotic Black Paint skincare items you can use for clogged pores include
It is a deep-pore and blackhead cleansing soap made from Kishu Binchotan charcoal. An excellent property of Kishu Binchotan charcoal is that it withdraws dirt from the pores but doesn’t leave the skin dry like most other charcoal-based products. With its 30 types of premium botanical oils, Black Paint Soap maintains the moisture and hydration of the skin. It reduces blackhead formation and minimizes pores.
This is a two-in-one sponge. It not only extracts the blackheads, but also exfoliates the skin. The sponge is kneaded with Binchotan charcoal that helps pull out blackheads and cleanse the pores. Its soft and smooth texture makes it an item of daily use without harming the skin.
It is a pore-tightening lotion. The lotion contains considerable amounts of damask rose water & oil that are well-known for their pore-tightening & anti-inflammatory effects. It keeps the skin moist and plump and controls the secretion of excessive sebum due to dehydration.
How to Prevent Pores from Clogging?
One can avoid clogged pores by adopting certain lifestyle changes:
Follow a daily skincare routine
Implementing a daily skincare routine is crucial for skin health. Many skincare brands offer a plethora of products that fit in different skincare routines. Depending on your skin type, formulate the skincare regime and stick to it. A common routine would be to cleanse, tone, moisturize, and apply sunscreen. Cleansing is vital to prevent the pores from clogging.
Use products that are labeled “non comedogenic”
Be it a moisturizer, cleanser, or sunscreen, ensure that it is non comedogenic. Read the label on the makeup and skincare products carefully and watch out for the offending ingredients.
Exfoliate daily to prevent the buildup of dead cells and ultimate clogging of pores. Both physical and chemical exfoliation can help, but both need due care. In physical exfoliation, ensure that the scrub is not too harsh or it will damage the skin.
Chemical exfoliation increases skin cell turnover without scrubbing. However, the chemicals can be strong and cause irritation and sensitivity.