Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert) on 03rd Nov 2020

Tips to avoid clogged pores or, better still, get rid of them

Tips to avoid clogged pores

Even if your whole face seems to be clear, smooth, and even, you may still be struggling with clogged pores, especially along your T-zone, including the nose, chin, and other areas of the face that are not easily visible. Clogged pores can occur on any skin type, whether you have dry, oily, or acne-prone skin.

It is tricky to deal with clogged pores as sometimes using a clay mask or a pore strip can take all that gunk out, but soon you will find your pores in the same clogged spot. Well, let's say with proper care and treatment, you will manage clogged pores.

To know more about what clogged pores are, what are its causes, and what you can do to avoid it, let's keep our eyes here. 

What are clogged pores?

Our face glands produce a substance called sebum, and the small openings in the skin that releases those sebum and sweat are known as pores that allow your natural oils to reach the surface of the skin to hydrate and protect the skin.

Sometimes, pores become clogged due to excessive sebum, dead cells, dirt, and other substances trapped inside them. Pores that are clogged may look larger than normal ones and have a bumpy feeling to it.

You may also experience acne issues if the clogged pore becomes inflamed. Although pores do not pose a severe health risk, it can cause scarring, hyperpigmentation, and emotional distress in some cases. 

Did You Know:

After cleansing your face, applying ice cold water to your face for about 15 seconds can help tighten up pores and protect them from clogging up in the future. 

What are the causes of clogged pores?

It is not that difficult to spot if your pores are clogged as it can turn into whiteheads, blackheads, or acne. Environmental factors like toxins, transfer of oil and dirt from your hands, and sweat are also reasons that contribute to clogged pores. There are several causes as to why our pores keep getting clogged.  

1. Excess sebum production:

Excess oil is one of the most common causes of clogged pores. Our skin consists of sebaceous glands that work to produce natural oils to provide hydration to the skin. Sometimes, these sebaceous glands become overactive and start creating too much oil, resulting in dead skin cells sticking together rather than shedding off. A study from 2006 found out that the more oil/sebum a person/an individual produces, the more likely they likely have visible facial pores.  

2. Over-exfoliation or over-cleansing:

In a way, over-exfoliating or over-cleansing can easily clog your pores. Cleansing and exfoliation should play an important role in your skincare routine as they help your skin get rid of all the dirt and oils and remove any dead skin from your face, but there is too much of a good thing.

When you go overboard with cleansing and exfoliating, it strips off all the natural oils from your skin, and to overcompensate the dryness, the oil glands create even more oils that, in turn, clog your pores. 

3. Using comedogenic products: 

Comedogenic products contain substances that tend to block the pores potentially. Sadly, many of your favorite beauty products are filled with comedogenic formulas that are clogging your pores. Some beauty products like makeup, moisturizers, sunscreen, and others can be comedogenic.

To deal with this, always remember to look for products with non-comedogenic formulas, both in skincare and makeup, to avoid clogging your pores. 

4. Dead skin and skin elasticity: 

As we age, our skin elasticity decreases and becomes a cause of larger and visible pores that can become clogged more quickly. Same as that, our skin is always creating new cells and shedding off older ones. As we grow old, the ability to shed those dead skin cells slows down that can create a build-up in our skin (if not adequately exfoliated), resulting in clogged pores. 

5. Depends on your skin type:

Let's be real! You do not have any control over your genetics. Your skin types affect the pores' size and visibility. People with an oily skin type are more prone to clogged pores as the skin is already creating excess sebum, contributing to pores becoming clogged. Also, pores are more expanded when you are an oily skin type, which increases the visibility of pores in your skin. 

6. Pollution: 

When you step out of the home, your skin is not just exposed to dirt but other harmful pollutants and environmental aggressors every day. These can cause irritation and sensitivity in the skin, as all that can end up trapped inside your pores.

Tips to avoid clogged pores 

So, now when you know the causes for clogged pores, you can learn how to keep your pores unclogged. There are many ways you can avoid/prevent clogged pores. Let's understand how. 

1. Go for non-comedogenic products: 

Non-Comedogenic is just a fancy name that means the formula that is not likely to cause comedones or pore blockage. This ingredient is mainly found in skincare and cosmetic products. Products labeled as non-comedogenic or oil-free do not contain such ingredients known to clog pores.

If you are more prone to acne/breakouts, you should always go for non-comedogenic products, whether cosmetics, skincare, or sun protection.

2. Exfoliate regularly: 

Over exfoliation can ruin your skin, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing it altogether. Exfoliation is an important process for removing dead cells from the skin's surface to help reduce clogged pores' texture. Exfoliation can be of two types:

Mechanical Exfoliation: This type of exfoliation involves removing dead skin using a physical form such as a brush or a cloth.

Chemical Exfoliation: Using safe products consisting of acids to dissolve all the residue is how chemical exfoliation works. 

3. Choose a gentle cleanser: 

Cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser twice daily can help clean out your pores and remove oiliness, dirt, and pollutants without stripping off the natural oils of your face. Be gentle while using a cleanser and slowly massage into the skin using circular motions; otherwise, scrubbing roughly can cause irritation, redness and may clog your pores. 

4. Retinol:

It is possible for people who have aging skin, oily skin, or large pores to have less elasticity in their skin, contributing to clogged pores. Pore blockage can be reduced by increasing elasticity in the skin.

Retinol is one ingredient that is mostly recommended for people with oily, mature, or acne-prone skin. As retinol can sometimes be irritating when you introduce it in your skincare routine, it is better to gradually increase the concentration level (if required) before bed.  

5. Skip the heat: 

There are specific factors that contribute to making your pores appear larger. As claimed by experts using hot water can irritate your skin and make your pores appear bigger. You can avoid this by using lukewarm water instead of hot water, which can also prevent your skin from drying out.  

6. Don't forget to remove your makeup at the end of the day: 

Our skin goes to the cell regeneration process as we sleep, allowing oils to flow to the skin's surface and lubricate the hair follicle. If you go to bed with your makeup on or do not remove it correctly, the makeup residue can trap the oils inside, causing breakouts and clogged pores.

7. Avoid touching, picking, or scratching your face: 

Some people find it alluring to touch, pick, scratch, or rub acne and clogged pores. While it can be satisfying, it can also make your condition worse by causing damage to your skin. It's irreversible damage that can result in hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and scarring as it introduces oil, dirt, and bacterias directly from your hands into your pores.

8. Watch what you eat: 

It can have either a positive or negative impact on your skin. Any skin issues you may have, there are high chances that it is a result of the food you eat. Whether you are dealing with acne or clogged pores, experts recommend avoiding foods that can promote inflammation in the skin, making the condition worse. 

9. Don't be afraid of acids: 

Choose ingredients that are known to fight clogged pores, such as salicylic acid. This beta-hydroxy acid formula helps exfoliate dead skin cells removing excess oil from the skin that blocks the pores. Products with a low pH balance that doesn't cause irritation and do not strip off natural oils can be great for your skin.

Yes, acids are good, but again going overboard with it can damage your skin. 

10.  Avoid using occlusive products:

Occlusive ingredients help seal the moisture inside the skin. They can do wonders if you belong to a family of dry skin types. Still, when it comes to oily skin, it is better to avoid the usage of occlusive ingredients, especially on your T-zone, as it can result in clogged pores.

The T-zone consists of the forehead, nose, and chin area, with some of the highest oil glands' concentration levels in the entire body.

That is why you can see that your cheeks are always drier than the T-zone, which we call combination skin—applying lightweight formulas on your T-zone to provide enough hydration so that your skin doesn't produce excess oil but just the correct amount to keep your skin moisturized. 

Final Note:

Honestly, it is a challenge to take care of pores, but you can avoid or prevent them from happening too often with the right products and food. Sorry to break it to you, but there is no magical product out there that can keep your pores sparkling clean all the time, but regular care and using the right ingredients can help you go a long way.