Every day, your skin is battling pollution, humidity, sweat, sunlight and pore clogging creams and makeup. Keeping your pores spotless and Instagram-ready can feel like a lot of work – especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin.
There are just so many things in this universe that contribute to pore congestion, including your own body’s natural oil production and your skincare products.
If this sounds like what you’re going through, take heart. You can make your pores look nearly invisible with the right skincare tips. But let’s understand what your pores are to begin with.
What is a facial pore?
A pore, or a follicle, is a duct that is attached to your skin’s sebum-producing sebaceous glands. Since oily skin types produce more sebum, they’re more prone to clogged pores because the sebum makes an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. This results in pesky blackheads, whiteheads and papules.
Some common causes of clogged pores include:
- Not exfoliating your skin. This causes dead skin cells to build up and mix with your natural oils, thereby clogging your pores. The solution: exfoliate regularly.
- Hormonal changes. Your hormones affect how much oil your skin is producing. During your monthly cycle, you may notice that your pores appear larger or you have more blackheads. This can be easily prevented by taking steps to reducing excess oil from the skin. The same goes for warmer, more humid days.
- Poor skincare. Not cleansing and moisturizing your skin every day can result in the buildup of dead skin, makeup, dust and environmental pollutants on your skin, resulting in clogged pores.
How to treat clogged pores
Bacteria thrive in anaerobic conditions. Therefore, while creating a skincare routine for clogged pores, your goal is to clear your pores and allow the free flow of oxygen to your ducts. However, this is easier said than done.
Luckily, we’re here to help treat your skin woes and have put together a list of effective, yet easy tips to ensure your pores are squeaky clean in no time.
1. Activated charcoal mask
Activated charcoal is all the rage these days and is being commonly used in teeth whiteners, skincare products and even in juices as an effective detoxifier and cleanser.
When it comes to treating skin congestions, activated charcoal works like a dream. It’s a powerful, yet natural, ingredient that functions by attracting toxins towards it. In fact, it can absorb up to 200 times its weight in toxins, dirt and other impurities!
To make an activated charcoal mask, simply mix 2 tablespoons of activated charcoal with enough water to make a paste. Apply all over your skin and wait 10 minutes before washing with lukewarm water. You can also add activated charcoal to your clay masks to magnetically pull out toxins, excess oil, dirt, bacteria and pollutants that are caught in your pores.
2. Baking soda scrub
Baking soda is an incredibly inexpensive deep pore cleanser that removes excess oil and gently exfoliates your skin.
Simply mix two tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water, or enough to make a paste. Massage the mixture onto your face in soft, circular motions. Leave it on your skin for five minutes and rinse.
3. Lemon cleanser
You do not need expensive cleansers to clean out your pores every day. Lemon juice makes an excellent pore cleanser as the citric acid works as an astringent and exfoliant, removing any oil or dirt trapped in your pores. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly rich source of vitamin C, which protects against UV-induced sun damage and collagen degeneration.
Simply grab half a lemon and rub it all over the affected area for one minute. Let the lemon juice rest for five minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.
If you have sensitive skin, try diluting some lemon juice with equal parts water. Apply the lemon cleanser onto the skin with a cotton pad.
4. Rosemary toning mist
Most store bought toners contain alcohol, fragrance and other chemical nasties that can be too harsh to the skin. Instead of using up all your counter space with the latest and greatest products, try DIYing them!
Our DIY rosemary toning mists comes with many benefits to the skin. Rosemary is rich in calcium, iron and antioxidants that freshen up the skin and help reduce inflammation, acne, clogged pores and even fine lines and wrinkles. Rosemary has antibacterial properties as well, making it an excellent ingredient to prevent infections.
Furthermore, its rich aroma can help soothe your skin and rejuvenate you before you start your day.
The recipe also uses apple cider vinegar, which may help tone the skin and reduce age spots and acne. To make a rosemary toner, you’ll need 2 cups of water, 2 sprigs of rosemary and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Add water and rosemary to small pan and allow to boil.
Next, reduce the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer – until contents reduce by half. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Pour mixture into a small reusable bottle followed by the apple cider vinegar. Shake and use.
Steaming is an age old technique that helps open your pores, allowing dirt and impurities to come out smoothly. Simply pour hot water into a glass bowl, bring your face close to it so it catches the steam and cover your head with a towel – preventing excess steam from escaping.
You can add green tea, chamomile tea, peppermint or any essential oil of your choice to the water.
If you have severe clogged pores, exfoliate your face with a gentle scrub after steaming. Wash with cold water and pat dry.
Avoid steaming more than once a week as opening your pores excessively can cause long-term damage.
6. Jojoba oil pore cleanser
Contrary to popular belief, some oils can actually help cleanse your skin, ridding it of its excess oils and impurities, while keeping your skin hydrated.
Jojoba oil has the closest resemblance to our own sebum so it gets into the skin pores, dissolves the hard sebum that is obstructing your ducts and flushes the contents out, leaving pores squeaky clean. Jojoba oil mostly consists of fatty acids. Acids of this type play an important role in keeping your body healthy. For example, raw coconut oil can be both applied as a cosmetic supplement for skin and hair, as well as the food source of MTCs that are transformed into ketones in the liver. And ketones are essential for the brain.
But back to jojoba oil. Start by washing your face with water and patting it dry. Apply the jojoba oil using a cotton ball over the affected areas, massaging the skin in smooth, circular motions. Leave the oil on for 20 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
7. Protect your face
This final tip includes steps you need to take to prevent bacteria, oil and unnecessary product from building up in your pores.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure that you always wash your makeup off when you don’t need it, especially before bed. Leaving makeup on overnight can accelerate the buildup of dirt, oils, bacteria and chemicals from the makeup and cause severe clogged pores in the future.
Furthermore, you should also always try to keep your hands and hair away from your face. Both can bring in excess oils and bacteria that can plug your pores.
And finally, make sure your pillowcases and phone are always clean. Change your pillowcases every week as bacteria and skin oils transfer to your pillow and to your skin while you sleep. Similarly, your phone is a breeding ground for bacteria as it’s constantly in contact with your hands – wherever you are. Try to keep sanitizing wipes in hand and wipe your phone often.