What Causes Clogged Pores? And How to Shrink Them
Your pores are tiny openings in your skin that are a natural part of your body. Everyone has pores, and their job is to release natural oils and sweat from the lower layers of the skin.
When the pores become clogged, though, it can lead to a number of visible issues including the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads, and even acne. Ensuring your skin stays cleansed and exfoliated while taking action in clarifying them can help minimize the chance your pores will become clogged.
What Causes Clogged Pores?
Your pores can become clogged in a variety of ways. The most common way is when a buildup of dead skin cells are unable to shed freely from your skin. Instead, they will remain on your skin and eventually lead to your pores being unable to release oils and sweat properly.
Additional factors that can cause clogged pores may include:
- Excess sweat
- Various toxins in the air
- Oil from your hands
- Dirt and pollution
You might not notice whiteheads, blackheads or acne right away, but will start to notice an overall dullness in your complexion. Pores may appear larger or darker in color, and swelling or inflammation may start to develop.
One of the easiest ways to prevent clogged pores is to limit how often you touch your face. Other factors include dirty pillowcases and towels, not cleansing after a workout, and putting cell phones against your skin.
Can You Squeeze Clogged Pores?
While it might seem oddly satisfying to squeeze the dirt and build-up out of a clogged pore, this can lead to even more damage to your pores and the surrounding skin. The pinching and pulling motion on your skin when you attempt to squeeze a clogged pore can lead to additional inflammation and redness. Bottom line: don’t ever extract a pore yourself–go to a professional!
Can You Unclog Pores?
The short answer is: yes! If you’ve already started to notice clogged pores, don’t worry. There are a variety of ways you can help unclog your pores and return to the brighter complexion you are used to.
Ways to Shrink Large Pores
Unfortunately, there is no way to physically shrink large pores, but you can help reduce the look of them. Some of the most effective and proven options you can consider include the following skincare habits:
Enjoying an evening exfoliating facial is a great way to start your day! It’s also a great way to gently scrub away excess buildup of dirt, grime, oils and skin cells which can clog your pores. Just make sure to find an exfoliating agent that’s gentle yet efficacious (i.e. avoid aggressive substances like crushed walnut shells), and slough off those dead skin cells at least once or twice a week. Don’t overdo it–they will do more harm than good.
Consider our ILUMA intense brightening exfoliating cleanser. It’s an excellent choice for all skin types and can help gently scrub away dead skin cells while also removing excess oils from your skin. You’ll also notice it includes a range of high-performance ingredients like mushroom-derived enzymes, glycerin, white peony and licorice to help increase the appearance of your skin's elasticity as well.
Use a Beta Hydroxy Acid
Applying salicylic acid, the most popular beta hydroxy acid, will help flush out pores and keep them clear. This is because this ingredient actually gets inside the pore and purifies them from its clogging decongestants.
Our CLEAR CELL salicylic clarifying pads can be very useful here! Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy that is naturally found in plants. Its main purpose is to help absorb excess oils before they can clog your pores, while also providing antibacterial properties and a cooling effect on inflamed skin or acne breakouts.
Keep Your Face Moisturized
Another great way to help with the appearance of large pores is by keeping your facial skin well moisturized. Our VITAL C hydrating intense moisturizer is a great moisturizer to consider as it not only helps nourish your skin, but also adds a burst of hydration. It includes a blend of olive fruit oil, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter to really help create a pool of moisture that helps smooth out the appearance of large pores.
Like with any skin type or challenge, avoiding too much sun exposure will help keep your skin healthy, as UV rays are the top source of visible damage. Make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day–and if your skin tends to be on the oilier side, consider a matte version.
Other Options to Keep Pores Clear
If clogged pores are still a concern after you should see if any of these measures help:
–Using water-based, oil-free moisturizer
–Pampering yourself with a calming and purifying mask
Additionally, gently wash your face after a heavy workout or other physical exertion to remove the surface buildup of sweat and other natural oils your body produces. Leaving this on your skin to dry can lead to a drying out of the skin, as well as clogged pores, inflammation and acne.
Pores are a vital part of existing in a human body, but they do cause a lot of stress sometimes, don’t they? The good news is they don’t have to–as long as you’re proactive in taking care of your skin you can keep them as clean as possible, so your complexion appears smooth, vibrant, and healthy.