4 Things that can clog your pores and how to deal with this
Blackheads, whiteheads and, the worst of all, acne, are all conditions caused by clogged pores. The bad news is that you have a pretty high chance of getting, at least, one of these problems at some point, especially, if you live in an urban environment. The good news is that you can avoid it or deal with it, when it happens, by simply taking good care of your skin. Here are the four causes of clogged pores and how to counteract their effects.
1. City air
If you could see a sample of an average city’s air you’ll probably be horrified. Then you’ll be thankful for all the green initiatives spreading across the world, aiming to make cities cleaner. Air contains billions of different particles, including the exhaust fumes of cars and the smoke from any manufacturing facilities in the nearby area. Then there is our lifestyle, which is often far from perfect. We eat bad food, we don’t drink enough water, we don’t move about enough, and this all reflects on our skin. So, what’s to do? For starters, change your eating habits, of course. That’s the advice you’ll get for any skin problem and there’s a good reason for this. Whatever you put in your mouth will sooner or later show up on your skin, whether as a pimple or a rash. Then, make sure you cleanse your face regularly. The trick is to turn it into a stable habit and start doing it without thinking. It might take some time to get used to it, but one day you’ll find you’re reaching for the cleanser automatically. Choose something with salicylic acid or, if you want to go the natural way, make yourself a parsley mask. Put a bunch of parsley leaves in boiling water, let it stay for a while and cool down, then dip a washcloth in it and put on your face.
2. Cosmetic products
According to dermatologists, women on average try between five and ten new cosmetic products every year. Every single year! That’s a lot, in case you’re wondering what’s wrong. We’re talking skin care here, by the way, not foundation and eyeshadow. What’s perhaps even worse, is that using something like four different acne-fighting products at the same time will have the exact opposite of the desired effect. After all, there’s just so much your skin can handle. Besides, it takes time for it to react to a remedy and it seems that few of us are willing to give it that time, which ranges between a month or two. Then, of course, there’s makeup. Or rather, makeup removal. However light and innocent your makeup, you cannot go to sleep with it. Remove before going to bed, that’s an unbendable rule. And do it thoroughly, otherwise you’ll get clogged pores with express delivery. Remove, cleanse, wash, just make sure it’s all gone and your skin can breathe. That’s what it needs its pores for, to breathe. You block them with makeup, you clog them very effectively and then suffer the consequences. Also try to not wear heavy makeup every day, all day, give your face a break.
3. Dead skin cells
That’s one of the two actual direct culprits for clogged pores – the dead cells your skin sheds constantly. Your body releases dead cells all the time, everywhere but this is, of course, most obvious on the skin. That’s why we bathe regularly, after all, and scrub, and exfoliate, and all the rest of it. What the dead cells do is form a very thick plug in the pore. If the pore gets blocked up really well, you get a whitehead. If the block is not complete, you get a blackhead, because the air and external dirt colour the top of the plug. Fascinating stuff, no doubt. So, what do you do to get rid of these plugs? You wash regularly and make sure your skin is well moisturised because water dries it. You also exfoliate with either a homemade facial scrub or a commercial one, to take care of dead skin cells in a more resolute way. Oatmeal scrubs are a good choice, because oatmeal will not dry your skin excessively. Also, steam baths are a great solution, as the steam will cause the pores on your skin to expand, making it easier for you to clean them. For the cleaning you might consider some essential oil.
This brings us to the second direct culprit, the agent that joins forces with the dead skin cells to plug up your pores. This is sebum, the oily substance that the pores are there for in the first place. Deep in your skin, you have thousands of tiny little glands called sebaceous glands. Their job is to keep your skin moisturised and clean, for which purpose they secrete sebum. The sebum gets to the surface via the pores and basically acts like glue for the dirt accumulated there to keep it from entering the skin. Its second function is to get the dead skin cells out of the pores. So, if you don’t cleanse your face regularly, the sebum, dirt and dead skin cell mixture just piles up and blocks the pores. By the way, you may be wondering what’s the difference between clogged pores and acne. Acne is what you get when the clogged pore gets a guest: a bacteria. There are different types of bacteria that normally live on the surface of the skin and don’t do anything harmful, but there are some types that get the sebaceous glands infected, resulting in painful, unaesthetic pimples. So, you see how important exfoliation and regular cleansing are. They help the glands and the sebum do their job. Moisturising is equally important: if you let your skin get too dry, the glands will start producing excessive amounts of sebum to compensate, and excessive is not a good word.
How to get rid of clogged pores? What are your tips?