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So you’ve noticed your skin’s looking a little congested as of late! Clogged pores are caused by a buildup of dead skin cells, oil or dirt. You might have already come across several ways to get rid of them, but which should you go with? We believe there is really only one winner when it comes to unclogging!
Common ways (not recommended by us) to deal with clogged pores involve squeezing, physical exfoliants and pore strips.
Squeezing can damage skin tissue and cause permanent scarring and pigmentation issues. Unfortunately, I have my own battle scars from doing this. Not to mention, you can enlarge your pores by doing this. Physical exfoliants such as scrubs relies on the manual removal of skin cells, but in the process can cause micro-tears in the skin. These scrubs really only work at the surface, rather than getting deep inside the pore to dissolve the gunk. Similarly, pore strips also work at the surface level to remove gunk, but struggle to get deeper.
So what do we recommend?
If you’re apart of the skincare community you’ve likely heard of hydroxy acids; we believe the most effective and skin-friendly way to unclog pores involves the use of these acids. These acids work as a chemical exfoliant, clearing out pores (by effectively, breaking down the ‘glue’ that bonds cells together) whilst minimising physical damage.
Hydroxy acids (HAs) are organic acids which contain one or more hydroxyl groups attached to the carbon chain of these molecules. HAs are often found in nature (for example, in fruits), but can also be synthesized through chemical methods. Hydroxy acids have massively transformed skin care!
The purposes of hydroxy acids in general are two-fold:
- To increase cell turnover and get that glowing skin back! Topical acids have also been show to stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen.
- Secondly, they are commonly used for the treatment of acne/clogged pores.
Hydroxy acids for clogged pores
The oil-soluble nature of β-hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid allows them to easily penetrate pores and dissolve oily blockages that clog them, they are thus suitable for those with oily skin/acne. Salicylic acid is very popular for the treatment of clogged pores; its oil-loving self, combined with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (helping to decrease the redness that comes with spots) make it easy to understand why! In order to be effective, β-hydroxy acids typically need to be used with a concentration of 1.5-2%, so make sure to look out for this on the packaging.
β-hydroxy acids top picks
This lightweight leave on exfoliator by Paulas Choice (containing 2% salicylic acid) absorbs very quickly to help unclog and diminish enlarged pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth wrinkles, brighten and even out skin tone.
This low-dose BHA serum contains 0.75% salicylic acid with soothing aloe vera!
This exfoliating toner contains 80% aloe and 0.5% salicylic acid.