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How to Unclog Pores?

24 Apr 2021

Clogged pores can have a negative impact on the skin, but fortunately, there are many effective skincare options to target this common skin concern.

In this article we’ll ask what is a clogged pore, how to unclog them and what kind of skincare routine is needed to do so. We’ll also walk through some expertly targeted product recommendations from our Effaclar range.

What is a pore?

Pores are the ducts attached to our hair follicles. They may look tiny, but their structure goes deeper than the openings on the skin’s surface. An average of five million pores per person allow sweat and sebum (oil) to pass through, cooling and hydrating your skin. Many of our pores are so small that they are difficult to see, however pores in the t-zone are often more visible. Visible pores are normal and it’s important to note that pore size is largely determined by genetics. However, sun damage and collagen loss can also cause your pores to become enlarged over time. Although pores play an essential role in skin health, they can create skin concerns when they become clogged.

What causes clogged pores?

Although most people experience clogged pores at some point, you might not be familiar with the details of what causes congested skin.  For example, why is oily skin more prone to clogged pores?

The pores become clogged when excess sebum combines with dead skin cells, hairs or environmental pollutants to form a plug. This happens more often with oily skin types because there is simply too much sebum present on the skin. If all traces of makeup or sunscreen aren’t thoroughly removed with a cleanser, this can also clog the pores.

What does a clogged pore look like?

When a pore first becomes clogged, it will appear visibly enlarged as it stretches to accommodate the blockage. Some clogged pores may remain this way, but often clogged pores will develop into acne-prone skin such as blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are ‘open’ clogged pores that look like small black spots due to their oxidised tips. In contrast, whiteheads occur when the blocked pore is fully sealed, producing a white core visible through the skin. Sometimes, blocked pores can develop into more serious inflamed blemishes.

How to get rid of clogged pores?

Now that you understand how and why clogged pores happen, it’s time to learn how to unclog pores on the face. A consistent skincare routine with well-targeted ingredients is the solution to clearer-looking skin.

Follow the below skincare routine from the La Roche-Posay experts to help unclog your pores for a clearer more even-looking skin.

Exfoliating cleanser

The first step to managing your clogged pores and helping ensure they don’t come back is to switch your cleanser for one that contains chemical exfoliants. These powerful ingredients will help clear away dead skin cells within your pores.

Our Effaclar Micro-Peeling Purifying Gel Cleanser contains chemical micro-exfoliants to deeply unclog pores and reduce excess sebum. Use twice daily to visibly reduce the appearance of blackheads and pimples.

AHA or BHA serum

After cleansing, follow up with a morning hydroxy acid serum. Alpha hydroxy acids work effectively to exfoliate the skin’s surface, while beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid can exfoliate within the pores.

For this reason, we recommend using our Effaclar Anti-Acne Salicylic Acid Serum each morning. This formula combines LHA, glycolic acid and salicylic acid for thorough yet gentle exfoliation. 

Retinol serum

Retinol is a hugely popular skincare ingredient for a reason, this vitamin A derivative helps prevent clogged pores at the source by increasing skin cell turnover.

We recommend working towards using our Retinol B3 Serum nightly, as tolerated by your skin. Always use in conjunction with high sun protection as retinol makes skin more sensitive to the sun.

Non-comedogenic moisturiser

For those prone to clogged pores, ensuring your moisturiser is oil-free and non-comedogenic is essential. However, oily skin types need moisture too, so don’t consider skipping this step.

Our Effaclar Duo (+) Anti-Acne Moisturiser targets congested pores as it moisturises with its non-comedogenic formula. Apply this hydrating gel cream twice daily for optimal results.

Clay mask

If your pore-unclogging routine needs a boost, we recommend integrating a clay facial mask once or twice a week to deeply clarify the skin.

Our Effaclar Anti-Acne Purifying Clay Mask utilises gentle kaolin clays to eliminate excess sebum and impurities while controlling shine. Glycerin is also present for hydration, meaning this mask is suitable for sensitive skin.

What methods to avoid when unclogging pores?

While there are many effective ingredients and options for unclogging pores, it’s important to make sure you’re using only safe, science-based skincare. 

La Roche-Posay recommends avoiding DIY ingredients such as lemon juice or baking soda, as these are likely to damage your delicate skin.

How to prevent clogged pores?

Aside from your pore-unclogging skincare routine, you can prevent future clogged pores by ensuring your makeup and sunscreen products all have non-comedogenic formulas.

What can clogged pores lead to?

If clogged pores are left unmanaged for a long period of time, they can produce other unwanted effects on the skin. In the long term, clogged pores can develop into acne-prone skin including blackheads and whiteheads.

Begin the next step on your journey of how to get manage congested skin by reading our How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose?



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