Created by a perfect storm of excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, clogged pores are the predecessors of pimples—and they can happen to anyone, regardless of skin type. The right habits and products, however, can go a long way toward preventing them and clearing them. Here’s what you should know.
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Cleanse with Care
Step up your nighttime face wash routine with a thorough double-cleanse. Use an oil-based cleanser first, like Pre Cleanse Oil, to bind and dissolve dirt and debris (such as SPF, makeup, and pollutant particles). Next, go in with a water-based cleanser like Clear Nourishing Cleanser. This will whisk all the impurities away to leave your skin clean, refreshed, and soft.
Steer Clear of Pore-Cloggers
Certain ingredients in skincare and makeup are what’s considered comedogenic—aka pore-clogging. They have a tendency to block and cut off oxygen to pores, which then creates a breeding ground for blackheads and whiteheads. Do your best to avoid the top offenders, which include mineral oil, silicones, artificial fragrances, and even coconut oil.
Since dead skin cells are one major contributor to clogs, it’s crucial to clear them away. Exfoliation increases cellular turnover, sloughing away dead cells and bringing fresh ones to the surface. Lactic acid (the key ingredient in the Resurfacing Moisture Mask) is an exfoliating acid that’s recommended for all skin types, even dry and sensitive, because it resurfaces while also strengthening the skin barrier. Salicylic Acid (found in its natural form, black willow bark, in the Clear Nutrient Toner) has long been recommended for breakout and clog-prone skin because it thoroughly dissolves oil while also providing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, which can keep clogs from turning into full-on breakouts.
Don’t Forget to Detox
Since excess oil is a key factor in congestion and blackheads, using a product that helps to wick that extra sebum without stripping the skin’s natural oil and water balance is crucial. Pacific Glacial Clay Detox mask decongests and clarifies pores without making the skin feel tight and thirsty—thanks to a rare glacial clay that binds with excess oil and significantly reduces sebum production. A nice little bonus: squalane and glycerin help to moisturize, which makes your skin’s surface look smoother and smoother (a fantastic way to blur pores).
What About Extractions?
Manual extractions—i.e. squeezing out the clogs—are best done by a pro. If you are insistent on doing them at home, though, just make sure your hands are clean, and that you use a soft gauze or tissue to prevent your fingers from spreading any bacteria. Struggling to pop it? Back away—pressing any further will likely lead to scarring and/or an even bigger, badder breakout.