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How to Unclog Pores & Blackheads? Expert Advice


Are you prone to acne, clogged pores and blackheads? A comprehensive skincare routine will help tackle existing spots and prevent new ones from forming.

Suffering From Clogged Pores? Follow This Skin Routine

If you feel like you’re constantly battling clogged pores, blackheads, and blemishes, chances are your skincare routine isn’t working hard enough. La Roche-Posay acne expert Rachel McAdam explains that when it comes to clogged pores and blackheads, “topical treatments can be extremely effective”, meaning that if you’ve got the right products, you’ll see noticeable improvements in due course.

With that being said, it’s a long process that requires patience and persistence. If you’re at a point where you feel like you’ve exhausted all options without success, you’re not alone. Read on to discover what to use, when to use it, and why it will work to reduce clogged pores and blackheads.

What Are Clogged Pores?

Pores that are “clogged” occur when the associated oil gland becomes blocked with sebum and dead skin cells, and then becomes inflamed, which is why they’re often raised and occasionally a bit sensitive to touch.

How Do Clogged Pores Form?

While it can differ between individuals, whiteheads, blackheads, and clogged pores can be the result of hormonal imbalances (which is why acne is so prevalent during puberty), lifestyle habits, diet, and stress.

The environment, sluggish skin cell turnover, and what you’re putting in contact with your skin can also play a factor.

What’s The Difference Between Blackheads, Whiteheads And Cysts?

Whiteheads and blackheads are relatively similar with the main difference being that blackheads are open and exposed to air. They undergo a process called oxidation turning the congestive oils black or darker in colour.

Whiteheads are not exposed to air, and remain white in colour. Blackheads and whiteheads are referred to as open comedones and closed comedones, respectively.

Cysts occur in deeper tissues, which is why they often result in scarring. They do not come to a head, and can be painful, and difficult to treat. Note: acne characterised by cysts, or ‘cystic acne’ is generally referred to as severe acne, and usually requires medical support and advice.

Can I Minimise My Large Pores?

While this is a commonly asked question, you cannot physically shrink the appearance of your pores. You can however make clogged pores look smaller, or enlarged pores appear more refined when they are kept clear and free from congestion and oils.

What Should My Skincare Routine Look Like To Reduce Clogged Pores And Blackheads?

It can be easy to complicate your skincare routine if treating clogged pores, blackheads and breakouts but the reality is that a few effective products are all you need. Opt for a good cleanser, a results-driven treatment moisturiser, sunscreen, and a weekly, clay-based mask:

According to McAdam, the first step is to cleanse morning and night with a soap-free, pH balanced cleanser. Try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel and double-cleanse with a micellar water at night if you tend to wear heavy makeup.

Treat and moisturise
It’s essential to exfoliate the skin to prevent a build-up of dead cells that can contribute to clogged pores. La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar K (+) is a dual-purpose moisturiser-meets-chemical exfoliant to simultaneously unclog blackheads and hydrate congested and skin. Salicylic acid gently resurfaces, while carnosine and vitamin E soothe. It’s light and mattifying too. Use morning and evening.

Sunscreen is hands-down the most important part of your skincare routine. The La Poche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Dry Touch Tinted SPF 50+ won’t clog pores or feel greasy, but will give the skin a soft, diffused tint. If you crave extra coverage the Victoria State Government Health Department recommends oil-free, water-based cosmetics for acne-prone skin.

A weekly clay-based mask will work to draw out impurities, refine large pores, and absorb excess oil. Try the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask once a week after cleansing and before moisturising. This blackhead face mask is jam-packed with kaolin clay to purify congested pores, but also glycerine and thermal spring water to soothe and hydrate. Apply a thin layer, and leave for five minutes.

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