Got Clogged Pores? A How-to Guide for Unclogging Pores: Find it Again Friday

Angela Christiansen|February 28, 2014

Clogged PoresDo you have persistent clogged pores?

Do you wash your face twice daily and still have clogged pores?

Clogged pores are a year-round struggle that never seem to cease. Unfortunately, routine washing does not cut it. However, there are tricks to maintain "unclogged facial skin" according to Dr. Bailey in her post: How to Unclog Your Clogged Pores. Clogged pores will become a thing of the past with powerful products and a few simple treatments.

What Causes Clogged Pores?

Unclogging clogged pores is half the battle. Understanding the causes for clogged pores is essential. Blackheads are among the most notorious culprits for clogged pores, but there are several other suspects as well.

  • Natural oil secretions: Believe it or not, many of the supposed blackheads are your oil secretions mixed with normal skin germs.
  • Milia: Milia is normally white, but some rupture and create the appearance of blackheads
  • Traditional blackheads: Compacted dead skin cells forming a "hard plug," generally a consequence of acne-type skin

Once you identify the causes of your clogged pores there are two general regimens Dr. Bailey follows: unclogging non-blackheads and unclogging blackheads.

Methods for Unclogging Non-Blackhead Clogged Pores

1. Clarisonic with a Gentle Cleanser

The Clarisonic removes more dirt, oil, and makeup from your clogged pores than traditional cleansing methods. This patented sonic cleansing tool helps cleansers enter deeper into your pores via sonic waves. The sonic waves and brush head gently massage your pores aiding in the release of clogged contents. A deep pore cleansing method also prevents future clogged pores.

Harsh or strong cleansers often irritate the skin when paired with the Clarisonic because the cleansers enter the pores more deeply. Choose a gentle and mild cleanser to pair with the Clarisonic and use your other cleansers when not using the Clarisonic.

Dr. Bailey's recommended Cleansers to pair with the Clarisonic based on skin type:

2. Exfoliating Sponge with a Gentle Cleanser

If a Clarisonic is out of your price range, an exfoliating sponge such as a Buf Puf Facial Sponge serves as a decent substitute. These sponges will remove dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin (not the pores themselves), allowing cleansers to penetrate deeper into the pores. Gently massage the skin with one of the gentle cleansers mentioned above in the previous section to unclog your clogged pores.

3. Exfoliating Cleansers or Creams

If you prefer not to use a physical exfoliator or a sonic-cleansing system, cleansers or creams with exfoliating ingredients are another option. Glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliating ingredient that removes or prevents clogged pores. It even brightens your skin and treats wrinkles. Dr. Bailey frequently uses glycolic acid products in her practice. She has even picked cleansers and creams designed for particular skin types. While glycolic acid cleansers treat your clogged pores immediately, glycolic acid creams work over time and continue to exfoliate pores throughout the day. Click here to learn more about Dr. Bailey's favorite glycolic cleansers or creams. Featured below are Dr. Bailey's top selling glycolic acid products: Glytone Mild Gel Wash and Glycolic Acid Anti-Aging Face Cream 15%.

best glycolic acid antiaging face cream

However, you can combine a physical exfoliator with a mild exfoliating cleanser and cream for especially hard plugs. Dr. Bailey has compiled all these elements in her Glycolic Acid Anti-Aging Kits designed for various skin types. Shown below are two of Dr. Bailey's Glycolic Acid Kits, click the link above for more kits: Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit for Normal Skin and Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit for Dry Skin.

fast acting glycolic acid aha facial kit normal skin

4. Gentle Manual Massage

If several weeks of deep cleansing skin care regimens (Clarisonic or Buf-Puf Facial Sponge) are not enough to remove tough clogged pores, consider a gentle massage technique. A gentle massage technique squeezes out the junk in your pores. Aestheticians call this technique an "extraction" and it is commonly used during their facial routines. Very gently with tissue pads, pinch 1/2 inch of your skin (be careful not to push too hard or you will bruise your skin). If nothing comes out, then the clogged pores are not soft and ready to undergo an extraction.

Extractions are a tricky business, and the best way to unclog clogged pores is to visit your local aesthetician for a facial. Aestheticians have all the tools to remove even the hardest clogged pore. As Dr. Bailey says, "Getting a facial every 6 to 8 weeks is ideal to keeping pores really clean." If you are local to the Sebastopol area, Dr. Bailey offers medical aesthetician services at very competitive rates that utilize medical grade sterilization techniques. Click here to learn more.

Methods for Unclogging Blackhead Clogged Pores

1. Keratolytics

Keratolytics soften the "glue" that stubbornly holds the debris and oil in a blackhead. Look for skin care products with the following keratolytics:

  • Glycolic Acid
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Retinoids (tretinoin or Retin-A)

Keratolytic cleansers are the simplest treatment. Combining a keratolytic cleanser with a Clarisonic is even more effective. For stubborn clogged pores, leave-on keratolytic products may be necessary such as creams, lotions, and gels. After a month use, a leave-on keratolytic will soften the pore and allow the skin to naturally dissolve the plug. They may even soften your clogged pore to a point that allows the manual massage technique discussed above. Dr. Bailey's favorite keratolytic options combine several different keratolytic ingredients and exfoliation methods which are shown below:

For Classic and Teenage Acne: Ultimate Acne Solutions Treatment Kits

For Acne and/or Anti-Aging Concerns: Glytone Mild Gel Wash and Exfoliating Lotion

2. Visit a Professional

If keratolytics aren't working, it may be time to visit a professional to clean up your clogged pores. Find a local aesthetician in your area to start a facial series with extractions every few weeks. Malinda and Danielle, Dr. Bailey's medical aestheticians, are available for free consultations and appointments for people local to the Sebastopol area. Click here to find out more. For the toughest clogged pores, it might be necessary to discuss them with your local dermatologist. A dermatologist or nurse may perform an extraction or recommend a prescription. Dr. Bailey usually prescribes tretinoin/Retin A to patients for unclogging clogged pores. Even a mild chemical peel will be helpful to clear up clogged pores. Talk with a medical professional to see if you are a candidate for these treatments.

The Bottom Line

Identify the culprit of your clogged pores to form the skin care routine that will best suit treating your skin type. As you can see, there are several methods to employ and even professionals to seek for advice. Once the clogged pores are removed, maintenance is necessary to prevent future blackheads or plugs.  Dr. Bailey's bottom line for clogged pore maintenance is:

And remember, if you’re prone to blackheads, you’re going to need to continue using your keratolytic products and the Buf Puf or Clarisonic System to keep new blackheads from forming again.  Unclogging clogged pores is an ongoing project!

For a more thorough discussion on this topic, read Dr. Bailey's original blog post: How to Unclog Your Clogged Pores If you have found these unclogging clogged pores tips helpful, please show your thanks by commenting on, sharing, “liking,” Google+, tweeting, and “pinning,” using the social sharing buttons above and below this blog post with friends and family.  Sincerely, Dr. Bailey Skin Care Team Photo attribution: Thanks and gratitude to © Doable/amanaimages/Corbis

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