When you think of clogs, your mind may wander to drains and sinks but — while faulty plumbing may be alarming — we think there’s an even more distressing location for blockage: your clogged pores. These tiny orifices on your skin can attract all types of debris, prompting the question: How do you clean your pores? If you’re ready to decongest and eliminate buildup, here’s our guide to achieving clear pores on your face once and for all.
Clogged pores are small openings in your skin, each corresponding to a hair follicle. They can occur at any age, but the likelihood of them occuring depends on several factors. These become clogged when a combination of dead skin cells, oil and external impurities like pollution accumulate in them. This can lead to various forms of acne: Blackheads form in open pores filled with a mix of oil, dirt and dead skin cells, which appear black due to oxidation. While commonly found on the face, particularly the nose, blackheads can also occur on the back, chest, neck and arms. Whiteheads, on the other hand, develop in closed pores clogged with similar substances. They appear as white or light-colored bumps and often accompany other acne types like blackheads, papules and pustules. Recognizing these symptoms is key to identifying and addressing skin congestion. Keep reading to find out what symptoms might indicate congestion.
Oily, Shiny Appearance (Excess Oil)
An oily, shiny appearance due to excess oil is often the most obvious indicator of congested skin. This happens when the skin's sebaceous glands produce too much oil, or sebum, giving the skin a greasy look. Several factors can contribute to this, such as hormonal fluctuations, dietary choices or improper skin care.
Distressed Or Dull Appearance
Congested skin often lacks a healthy glow and appears lifeless or tired. This can result from poor circulation or a buildup of dead skin cells and impurities on the skin's surface, which hinders light reflection and gives the skin a dull look.
Rough, Bumpy, Uneven Texture
When skin is congested, it can feel coarse or uneven to the touch. This often results from a buildup of dead skin cells that can make the skin's surface rough and bumpy.
Enlarged, Flattened Pores
Congestion can make your pores look larger and more visible, as the accumulation of oil and debris can stretch the pores. Additionally, this buildup might cause the pores to appear flattened because of the internal pressure.
When pores are clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria, it often leads to skin issues like blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. Blemishes, a common symptom of skin congestion, can result in inflammation and noticeable breakouts.
Uneven Skin Tone with Dark Spots (PIH) & Redness (PIE)
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) refers to dark spots that form after a blemish heals. On the other hand, post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) involves redness or pink marks. Both are common in congested skin and result from inflammation and the skin's healing process.
Each of these symptoms indicates an imbalance in the skin's natural processes and may require targeted skin care treatments to address the underlying causes and restore your skin's health. Before we discuss product recommendations to decongest clogged pores, here are three methods you should avoid at all costs as they will only worsen clogged pores.
Here are several popular DIY techniques that cause more harm than good:
1. Pore Strips
When you suffer from clogged pores, you might be tempted to use pore strips, which are strips of material with an adhesive designed to pull out skin cells and blockages. However, many beauty experts advise against these products for blackheads. Dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, MD tells Byrdie, "I'm always wary of pore strips because while they may be fun, you risk damaging the skin and thus making your pores bigger." Herrmann explains that despite good marketing, most aren't effective enough to "clean" pores.
These sticky strips can irritate your skin and lead to inflammation, especially if you have sensitive or rosacea-prone skin. While they may remove some surface debris, they could also worsen the problem by causing dirt and impurities to settle deeper into the pores. Additionally, the superficial action of pore strips means they not only remove dead skin cells but also perfectly healthy ones.
2. Baking Soda
Using baking soda to clear pores has gained popularity, but it often falls short in effectively removing pore buildup. Applying baking soda to your skin often leads to irritation and can strip the skin’s natural barrier, leaving it dry, itchy or more vulnerable to environmental stressors.
Lemon is another ingredient that can irritate your skin because of its acidity. While some people use lemon to dry out breakouts and unclog pores, it often results in irritation, dryness and even increased sun damage. Clearly, unclogging your pores calls for safer and more skin-friendly methods. Let's now explore some effective techniques.
- Exfoliate: Regularly remove dead skin cells through exfoliation. This process helps prevent the buildup of these cells which can clog pores. Choose a gentle exfoliator that's appropriate for your skin type to avoid irritation.
- Detoxify And Clarify: Use products that help detoxify and clarify your skin. Look for ingredients like activated charcoal, clay or certain acids that are known to draw out impurities and clear the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.
- Balance: Incorporate products that absorb excess oil and keep the skin looking balanced and less oily. Ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide or tea tree oil can help give the skin a more balanced complexion.
- Professional Treatments & Extractions: Consider booking an appointment at your nearest Eminence Organic Skin Care spa for deep pore cleansing. Pore-decongesting professional treatments often involve the use of steam and desincrustation gels, making extractions more effective.
- Maintain With Home Care: To prevent future congestion, it's important to maintain a consistent home care regimen. Use products suited to your skin type and condition to keep pores clear between professional treatments. Regular cleansing, toning and moisturizing with products designed for pore health can go a long way in maintaining clear skin.
In addition to these tips, we have several products that can aid in decongesting clogged pores. In particular, our Charcoal & Black Seed Collection is designed to visibly transform clogged and congested pores with naturally potent charcoal and black seed. Keep reading to find out which products you should add to your routine.
Our Charcoal & Black Seed Collection has been created to directly tackle congested skin. Charcoal and black seed are potent ingredients that specifically target pore congestion, effectively pulling out impurities from your skin. You can learn more about the benefits of charcoal here, or the benefits of black seed for your skin here. Infused with fresh and natural aromas, our three formulations tackle excess oil, dirt and debris that block pores, leaving skin visibly clear and refreshed — whether in a spa setting or from the comfort of home.
Charcoal & Black Seed Clay Masque (The Decongestor)
This velvety mask is crafted to remove impurities and absorb excess oil effectively. Infused with a fresh, earthy fragrance, the Charcoal & Black Seed Clay Masque works to help decongest and reduce the appearance of large pores, giving your skin an even and revitalized look without causing dryness. It also reduces the appearance of uneven skin and balances the look of oils on the skin (sebum), resulting in a mattified appearance. Upon using this product, 98% of people agree that their skin looks less oily immediately after one use.
Charcoal & Black Seed Clarifying Oil (The Balancer)
While sebum serves as a protective agent for the skin, it can also cause clogging and a shiny appearance. We recommend using the Charcoal & Black Seed Clarifying Oil. This potent, quickly absorbing clarifying oil reduces the appearance of blemishes, helps regulate the look of oily skin and minimizes the look of redness. 93% of those who have used the Clarifying Oil agree it restored moisture to their skin with a less oily appearance.*
Charcoal & Black Seed Pro Desincrustation Gel
If you were to visit an Eminence Organics spa, an esthetician may assist you with congestion by using the Charcoal & Black Seed Pro Desincrustation Gel. This is a professional-only product that dilates the follicles to aid in easy extractions. It helps break down the sebum that accumulates in the pores and also provides hydrating and skin-soothing properties that are beneficial to the skin post-extraction.
Below, you can watch Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar discuss these products in more detail. Plus, she shares her tips for spotting congested skin.
Exfoliating Products To Decongest Skin
When it comes to exfoliating products, here are the Eminence Organics exfoliants we recommend using:
Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant
A favorite of stars like actress Thandiwe Newton, our Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant uses naturally occurring lactic and salicylic acids to deep clean your pores and remove dead skin cells. Chickpea flour and rice flour gently buff the surface of your complexion and absorb excess oil.
Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant™
When you’re getting ready for a professional blackhead extraction from an Eminence Organics authorized spa, our Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant™ is the exfoliant to turn to. Infused with stone crop, this powder-to-foam product is formulated for desincrustation, a treatment that softens sebum. Its light fizzing action softens the skin and prepares the complexion for a pore-clearing extraction.
Turmeric Energizing Treatment
If it’s a mask you’re looking for, try our pore-purging Turmeric Energizing Treatment. This treatment gently exfoliates to uncover a soft, fresh-looking complexion. Paprika invigorates the look of the skin, leaving it soft and glowing, while turmeric visibly brightens the skin's appearance and reduces the look of puffiness.
Reach out to your favorite Eminence Organics Spa partner and find out more about skin care solutions that work for you.
*In-vivo study results after 28 days