Asian girl applying product on cheeks

Traditional beauty standards have been unfair to our pores. We learned to judge them by their size and try our hardest to “close” them or keep them out of sight. Having “poreless” skin was just another beauty ideal that we had to live up to, however impossible. It’s refreshing then to see celebrities show off their real skin, unfiltered pores and all. It might be the bare minimum, pun intended, but it steers us in the right direction: Pores are not the enemy! If you want to eliminate something, eliminate the culprits behind clogged pores instead. 

Our skin has millions of pores, and each pore contains a hair follicle and sebaceous glands that produce sebum. The pores on our face appear larger because they contain the most sebaceous glands. The sweat produced by sweat glands also comes out through our pores. They can appear more enlarged if they are clogged with dirt, oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot "close” your pores or make them smaller. The only way to improve the appearance of pores is to maintain a clear skin routine.

Causes of Clogged Pores

To keep your skin clear, choose your skincare and makeup products wisely.

Pores are neither open nor closed, but they can occasionally become clogged with oil, dead skin, and bacteria, to name a few. How do you know if you have congested skin? Oh, you’ll know. Blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne, as well as a dull complexion, are the most common signs of clogged pores. The following, on the other hand, are the most common causes of clogging. 

Your skin produces too much oil.

One of the main functions of pores is to bring sebum to the skin’s surface to hydrate and protect it. When the sebaceous glands produce excessive oil, this can mix with dead skin cells and other substances and block the pores. Clogged pores can lead to acne if they become inflamed. They can also feel rough and appear huger.

You are over-cleansing your skin.

Sometimes in our effort to shrink our pores, we make things worse. Washing your face too often or using harsh soaps can dry out your skin. It triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, overcompensating for the dryness. A British Journal of Dermatology study found that people who produce more oil tend to have enlarged pores, which may be prone to clogging.

You are using comedogenic products.

If you are acne-prone or fall under the oily type, then the best skincare for clear skin must consist of non-comedogenic products. Comedogenic describes substances that can potentially block the pores. Certain creams, makeup, and sunscreen that contain untested oils can be comedogenic. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) lists isopropyl myristate, lanolins, and D & C red dyes among pore-clogging ingredients. 

How to Keep Your Pores Clear

Regular exfoliation, wearing sunscreen, and double-cleansing can help unclog your pores and keep them clear.

There’s no miracle cure for clogged pores. Instead, be consistent with a skincare regimen that suits your needs. As recommended by the AAD, here are some basic steps that will work on most skin types:

Cleanse thoroughly but gently. 

Double cleansing is an effective method for maintaining clear pores. It involves using an oil-based and water-based cleanser first to loosen impurities and gently remove them from the skin. Then, wash the skin to remove excess oil, dirt, bacteria, and residue. As a first step, you can use POND’S Cleansing Balm, which transforms into a silky oil that removes all traces of makeup from the skin. If micellar cleansers are more your thing, you can also try POND’S Vitamin Micellar Water Detoxifying Charcoal. The charcoal in this cleanser draws out impurities while cleansing the skin without drying. 

Exfoliate your skin regularly. 

Regular exfoliation can help keep your pores clear and less noticeable. Do this regularly, especially if you have oily skin. The process removes dead skin cells that can mix with the sebum in your pores. Moreover, it improves your complexion and makes your skin glow by getting rid of the dull top layer. However, do not scrub broken or irritated skin. If you’re unsure about exfoliating at home, talk to your dermatologist about your options.

Use sunscreen every day.

Excessive sun exposure can leave the skin parched, leading to overactive oil glands that just want to moisturize it. Sun damage can also result in decreased elasticity, making your skin sag and your pores more visible. Wearing sunscreen every day prevents sunburn as well as damage that builds up over time.

Prevent clogged pores by getting to the root of the problem. Avoid the triggers mentioned above and practice the tips recommended by experts to keep your pores clear.