What Causes Clogged Pores & How to Clear Them

Is your skin uneven, similar to the texture of an orange peel, with lots of little bumps and breakouts? If so, you may be suffering from clogged pores!

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This helpful guide will dive into what clogged pores are, what might be causing them, and how to clear them up.

What Causes Clogged Pores?

First, we need to understand what pore is. Pores serve a vital function for the skin - they allow sweat to escape through the surface of your skin to keep your body temperature balanced and cool. They also release sebum, our skin’s natural oil supply that helps to keep skin healthy and moisturised. 

The stratum corneum, the outer layer of the epidermis, is constantly sloughing off dead skin cells. Its function is to protect the inner layers of the skin from external stressors.

This exfoliating treatment uses the power of Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid to clear clogged pores.

Clogged pores are caused by comedones - small plugs made up of an accumulation of excess sebum and dead skin cells. When comedones form, they seal the pore entrance, trapping dead skin cells and bacteria. 

This can result in acne that is inflamed and painful to the touch and visibly red and irritated. When pores are clogged, they can no longer function efficiently, leading to persistent breakouts. 

Clarify and cleanse skin at the same time to refine pores and clear skin with this foaming cleanser from Murad.

Here’s Why Your Pores are Clogged

When it comes to clogged pores, there are controllable and uncontrollable factors.

Uncontrollable factors include your age, genetics, and how your skin responds to the fluctuating temperatures with each season. The older you are, the longer it takes to naturally slough off skin cells. These uncontrollable factors are manageable with the proper treatments, products, and routine.

On the flip side, factors entirely in your control may contribute to your clogged pores - here are some that might be causing your clogged pores and blackheads. 

Bad Skincare Habits

Maintaining healthy skin is not a one-and-done deal - it requires patience, diligence, and consistency. You should care for your skin daily by keeping it cleansed and moisturised - consistency is key to seeing skincare results! 

Failure to Thoroughly Remove Makeup

It’s vital to thoroughly remove your makeup at the end of the day. Many complexion products, especially long-wearing and waterproof formulas, are formulated with comedogenic ingredients that can easily block pores.

If you don’t remove the makeup at night effectively, it can lead to clogged pores and painful breakouts!

Perfect for all skin types, this gel to oil cleanser is ideal for sweeping away all traces of makeup at the end of the day for clear skin.

Lack of Exfoliation

If your skin is extremely oily and acne-prone, there is a chance that intercellular “glue” (composed of lipids, ceramides, and oil) in your skin that holds the structure together is too sticky. You may notice an excessive build-up of dead skin cells on the stratum corneum when this happens, leading to clogged pores.

Using the Wrong Products for Your Skin Type

Understanding your skin type and needs is crucial when developing an effective skin care regimen. However, this is especially crucial for individuals with combination or oily skin. If you use heavy creams and moisturizers, you may find your pores are chronically clogged. 

Get shine-free skin and decongested pores thanks to this clarifying toner from Murad. Fortified with astringent Witch Hazel, this toner is a must-have for clear, radiant skin.

What Not To Do if Your Pores are Clogged

If your pores are clogged, you want to take care not to aggravate the skin any more than it already is. These are standard techniques and products used to clean the pores but may cause more damage, sensitivity, redness, and enlarged pores in the long run. 

Don’t Squeeze Them

No matter what you do – do not squeeze your skin in an attempt to extract the sebaceous filaments, blackheads, or comedones. You should also avoid popping pimples as well!

It requires a lot of pressure and, when done incorrectly, can injure your skin and result in scarring. It can also stretch the pores, causing them to look even more prominent! It’s always best to allow a professional to do extractions on your skin safely.

Avoid Using Pore Vacuums

The suction from pore vacuums can put too much pressure on the skin resulting in bruising and broken capillaries. Your skin may become more sensitive, leading to increased inflammation and redness.

Avoid Pore Strips

Pore strips can be highly damaging to the skin. They’re often highly abrasive and can cause an increase in irritation, thin the skin, and even damage the uppermost layer of your skin. 

This clay mask uses the antibacterial power of 4% sulphur and clay to unclog pores for clearer, breakout-free skin.

How to Clear Clogged Pores: Top Tips

Now that you understand what not to do and the products and techniques to avoid, here are our top tips for clearing your clogged pores!

Double-Cleansing

The double cleansing technique is an effective way to get a deep cleanse of the skin. There are many products out there, but we highly suggest using a cleansing oil followed by a good cleanser. When you double cleanse, you are more likely to dissolve every trace of makeup, dislodge dead skin cells, and remove any dirt and pollution from the skin's surface!

Exfoliation

Because clogged pores occur due to an accumulation of sebum and dead skin cells, it is essential to exfoliate your skin regularly. We recommend exfoliating at least twice a week with an exfoliating cleanser, physical scrub, or a chemical exfoliant.

Chemical exfoliants are the best way to get a deep exfoliation without too much friction as they penetrate deeply into the skin. The best chemical exfoliants for clearing clogged pores contain salicylic acid, which is excellent at penetrating deeper into the skin to clear out pores. It will also minimise the inflammation to clear up acne! 

This exfoliating acne serum tackles congestion and blocked pores from all angles for smoother, healthier skin.

Clay Masks

Clay masks are a great addition to your skincare arsenal! Clay will draw out impurities from the skin and absorb excess sebum and oils from the pore-lining! They’re gentle and easy to use, and we recommend using them at least once a week for the best results.

Use Appropriate Skin Care for Your Skin Type

It’s crucial to know your skin type so that you don’t use products that are too rich and heavy products for your skin.

If you have chronically clogged pores, you most likely also suffer from acne. Look for products that have blemish-fighting active ingredients such as salicylic acid, niacinamide, and alpha-hydroxy acids!

This oil-free moisturiser is perfect for hydrating skin without feeling too heavy or blocking pores thanks to a lightweight formula.

Ultrasonic Cleansing Brushes 

Get a thorough and deeper cleanse with an ultrasonic cleaning brush! These high-tech devices vibrate at high speed to slough away dead skin cells, break down makeup and product residue, and effectively cleanse your pores.

Take Good Care of Your Skin!

Remember to be patient, consistent, and gentle with your skin! Clogged pores can be frustrating, but it is manageable and possible to keep your skin clear with the right skincare products and techniques. 

Now that you know the best tips to deal with your clogged pores, you’ll be on your way to beautiful, healthy skin!

Or, if you’re trying to create a skincare routine to start with, try our skin analysis. You’ll get tips for taking care of your skin type, plus a tailored skincare routine to try for free.

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Products Mentioned:

  • Murad Daily Clarifying Peel
  • Murad Clarifying Cleanser
  • Murad Prebiotic 4-in-1 MultiCleanser
  • Murad Clarifying Toner
  • Murad Clarifying Mask
  • Murad Outsmart Blemish Clarifying Treatment
  • Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel
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