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How To Treat And Clean Those Stubborn Clogged Pores On Face

Updated on July 16, 2011

You should know how to clean those persistent clogged pores to avoid the appearance of severe acne.

Facial skin constantly renews itself. Old cells shed onto the surface as new cells are formed. Without proper care, the old cells will combine with skin oils and clog pores.

Acne is a group of skin rashes that have different causes. There are many variations of acne, differing in their severity.

The three stages of the acne life cycle are:

  • Clogged pores.
  • Bacteria.
  • Inflammation.

If a pore becomes clogged forms a whitehead (known as a closed comedone). If a pore becomes clogged but stays open and the top darkens, forms a blackhead (known as an open comedone).

When the walls of a pore become damaged, bacteria and dead skin can work their way under the living skin. This leaves a small, red infection called a pimple. These are types of the most common form of acne (Acne Vulgaris) .

Clogged pores that are deep in the skin cause nodules and cysts. These are types of the Severe Acne Vulgaris.

How To Clean Clogged Pores
How To Clean Clogged Pores

Why Pores Become Clogged?

The skin contains openings (hair follicle and pores of the sudoriferous glands) through which the sebum from the sebaceous glands comes to the skin's surface.

To moisten and protect the skin from the environment the perspiration and sebum mix together to form a breathable barrier on the skin's surface.

Trapped dirt, waste by-products, dead skin cells, makeup, sebum, and other debris that cannot come out of the pore, cause an enlarged appearance of the pores.

Factors that contribute to clog pores are:

  • Dehydrated skin.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Too much product or too heavy a product.
  • Excessive oil production.
  • Dirty work or play environments.
  • Genetics.
  • Improper cleansing.
  • Makeup.
  • Excessive build-up of dead skin cells.
  • Allergic reactions.

The skin's function of breathing is hindered if the pores become clogged: waste by-products cannot be excreted, oil cannot be secreted, moisture cannot be absorbed, compromising the acid mantle that naturally protects the skin.

If a thin layer of live skin cover the pore, may result in whiteheads, blackheads, and even severe acne.

How To Unclogging Pores

There are ways to clear the skin of clogged pores.

This will take time and patience, and once the skin becomes and stays hydrated the pores can start to perform their function of purging and exfoliating.

The skin may be assisted with:

  • Hydration: Misting often with a toner throughout the day.
  • Deep pore cleansing: With toner on cotton after each facial cleansing.
  • Exfoliation: Removes excess oil and dead skin cells.
  • Masking treatments: Detoxify tissues, purge the pores and hydrate deep in the epidermis.

Proper Hydration of Skin

The cells only function properly if the skin is kept in a constant hydrated or moist state.

The environment constantly removes moisture to the skin, making it susceptible to surface drying.

The hydration needs to be freshened a few times a day in order for the skin to remain hydrated. Hydrated facial toners will leave the skin refreshed.

Deep Pore Cleansing

A cleanser is a facial care product that is used to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other types of pollutants from the skin of the face.

Using a cleanser to remove dirt is considered to be a better alternative to bar soap or another form of skin cleanser not specifically formulated for the face for the following reasons:

  • Bar soap has a high pH (9 to 10), and skin's natural pH is 5.5. This means that soap can change the balance present in the skin to favor the overgrowth of some types of bacteria.
  • Using bar soap on the face can remove natural oils from the skin that form a barrier against water loss. This causes the sebaceous glands to subsequently overproduce oil, a condition known as reactiveseborrhoea, which will lead to clogged pores. Conversely, in order to prevent drying out the skin, many cleansers incorporate moisturisers.

Unless all residues are removed from the skin the pores are still susceptible to becoming clogged. The facial cleansers only do half of the job. Cleaner's remainders and residues should be properly removed.

This deep pore cleansing is best performed with an alcohol-free toner or skin conditioning hydrosols on cotton pads. It's not necessary to scrub vigorously. Wipe with several toner damp cotton pads until the last one comes away perfectly clean. Only then the skin is ready for the treatment products.


An exfoliator removes the dead cell tissue from the outermost layer of skin.

This allows the skin cells at the lower layers to make new skin cells faster. Ideally, the cell turnover occurs every 28 days. As we age cell turnover slows down, an exfoliant is the best way to assist this natural skin process.

The degree of exfoliation is controlled by the amount of water and length of time, not pressure.


Masking treatments activates the body’s own self cleansing mechanism and detoxifies the skin. Nutrients are absorbed and carried deeper into the epidermal tissues due to the increased circulation. Especially if organic raw fruits and vegetables are pureed and blended into the masks.

The hydration and the cleansing of the skin should be performed twice daily. Exfoliation and mask, one to four times a week.

Avoiding Trauma to the Skin

Skin must be treated softly and gently, avoid too much product, too much sun, too harsh scrubbing with an exfoliant.

Tips that help you keep the pores clean

  • Use much less product, especially around the thin-skinned delicate eye area.
  • Rinse skin of all residue with toner damp cotton after each cleansing.
  • Keep skin hydrated with a light gel moisturizer.
  • Gently exfoliate every other day to keep dead skin cells at a minimum.
  • Mask a few times a week to help purge pores and remove toxins.
  • Avoid refined sugar and drink lots of water.


It is very tempting to pop whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.

  • Whiteheads are clogged pores below the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and should not be squeezed.

  • Blackheads are clogged pores on the surface, and also should not be scrubbed or squeezed, but removed with an extractor that you can buy at a pharmacy.

  • Pimples may be squeezed when they are infected and have yellow pus if the proper procedures are followed. Apply a warm compress to the area for a few minutes to open the pores, then squeeze with a clean tissue until all the pus runs out. This will allow the pimple to heal properly. Using fingernails will promote scarring and may be covered with bacteria that will enter the area and cause inflammation.

Blackhead Removal Strips

This option for blackhead removal it's one of the better options without too much risk of damage to the skin. The strips generally only remove the top part of the blackhead.

Be sure not to use the strip on any damaged skin or open acne, just on the blackheads.

To make it work better, use a hot cloth on your face to open up the pores.

You may not be able to use the strips if:

  • You may be allergic to it's adhesive.
  • Your skin is very delicate.
  • Your skin is very dry.

No need to use more than once a month.

Men's Skin Is Thicker And Oilier

Skin care for men is different from skin care for women. Men’s skin is often thicker than a woman has and is oilier with larger pores.

Because of the oily nature of many men’s skin, beauty skin care for men should be gender-specific, do not use just any type of cleanser.

Because skin for men is different, products used should be as well. A good cleanser with a soap-free formula is the best option.

The shaving technique is also as important as the cleanser,:

  • Shave in the direction that the hair grows, not against it, to reduce the inflammation.
  • Rinse with cool water not hot, this also reduces the inflammation.

Use a cleanser and a decent aftershave protective lotion.

Images from Flickr:


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