Everything you need to know about clogged pores

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There are many reasons why pores can become clogged but one thing’s for certain – their appearance can wreak havoc on your self confidence. Whether you’ve always suffered with congestion or this issue is new to your complexion, don’t stress – there are actually many ways that you can deal with clogged pores and get well on your way to clearer, healthier-looking skin.

To get the low-down on blocked pores, we speak to Karen Varker, Skin Expert for NeoStrata, about all things pores – from what they are, to why we have them, to the best ways to treat them…

What are pores and why do we have them?

Believe it or not, your pores actually serve a very important purpose in helping your skin produce natural oils, to breathe, sweat and cool the body. “Like it or not, pores are part of our genetic make-up and an integral part of our skin,” says Karen. “They are very small openings in the skin that are home to hair follicles and sebaceous glands (the body’s oil-producing glands). They also allow us to sweat and are part of the body’s cooling mechanism.”

How do pores get clogged?

According to Karen, the most common reasons pores can become clogged are:

  • If there is an overproduction of sebum (the body’s natural oils).
  • If there is a build-up of make-up and grime from not cleansing both morning and night.
  • When dead skin cells on the surface of the skin congest the pores.

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What are the best skin care products and ingredients to treat clogged pores?

It’s clear that make-up, oil and grime are the major culprits for blocking pores, so it’s vital that you’re thoroughly cleansing your skin twice daily.

Cleanse and (gently) exfoliate morning and night
“Using a good cleanser morning and night is really important to ensure you keep your skin clean and make-up free,” explains Karen. In addition to this, Karen suggests opting for a cleanser that contains a gentle exfoliator like fruit acid which can work wonders on sloughing away pore-blocking dead skin cells, as well as boosting skin cell turnover. “Choose a gentle cleanser that has a mild natural exfoliator in it, so your cleanser removes make-up and dirt, but also lifts away dead skin cells,” she explains.

“Mechanical scrubs (for example, a scrub that contains microbeads or crushed apricot kernels) are great for helping to lift away dead skin cells. However, using a cleanser that contains a fruit acid can help to unglue the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface so they naturally lift off without scrubbing the skin. They also encourage skin cell turnover which naturally unclogs the pores.”

Whatever you do, don’t give into the temptation to squeeze your clogged pores! This can not only damage the outer layers of your skin and cause bleeding, but it can also spread pimple-causing bacteria and oil, which can lead to breakouts or even more blocked pores.

bh loves: 100% Pure Brightening Facial Cleanser, Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser, Ella Baché Gel Pureté Démaquillant

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Use a moisturiser with AHAs

“When used a couple of times a week, an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) lotion can help to whisk away dead skin cells and unclog congested pores,” explains Karen. But before you slather your skin with the stuff, Karen offers a word of caution: “You should patch test this type of product first to ensure your skin can tolerate AHAs. Then, build this up to use two to three times a week after cleansing and before applying your moisturiser.” Hello glowing, clear, healthy-looking skin!

bh loves: philosophy renewed hope in a jar refreshing & refining moisturizer, Avon Anew Advanced All-in-One Max, SunSense Anti-Ageing Face Matte SPF 50+

Is your skin super oily? Karen recommends opting for a gel or toner that’s formulated with AHAs instead, such as NeoStrata Oily Skin Solution.

Do you suffer from clogged pores? How do you treat them?

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