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Clogged Pores on Face: Causes & Treatments

Published: December 23, 2021


Pores are located at the top of each hair follicle and occur all over the body, including on the face. They release sweat and oil, depending on the type of pores they have.

Both types of pores are essential for bodily and skin functions, including temperature regulation, detoxification, and lubrication.

When these pores get clogged, they can give way to breakouts ranging from unsightly blemishes, blackheads, pimples, and whiteheads.

Sometimes, if an individual is suffering from acne, pores can become so backed up with sebum and dead skin that painful cysts develop under the surface of the epidermis.

So many things can contribute to clogged pores but the most common offenders are listed below:

woman washing her face unclogging the pores


Using poor quality makeup and skipping an evening cleansing routine can easily cause make-up to build up and block pores.


Sunscreen labeled as comedogenic has the potential to blend with sweat and entrap pores, particularly if it remains unwashed.

This can exacerbate issues related to sebum production and contribute to clogged pores and blocked pores, which may affect individuals with dry skin.

Your own dead skin cells

Without proper skin care techniques and practices, dead skin cells easily become one of the major offenders.


As our hormones fluctuate monthly or as we age, oil production can rise and fall, leading to more sebum or less.

Loss of skin elasticity due to aging

As the skin starts to lose its firmness, large pores may develop, rendering it more susceptible to clogging.

To address this issue, using appropriate lotions can be beneficial in unclogging the enlarged pores.


Airborne pollutants such as smog, smoke, and other contaminants can deposit tiny particles that may cause blockages when they infiltrate the pores.

To address this, using a gentle cleanser can effectively cleanse the surface of the skin.

Poor Quality Skincare Products

Cleansers, toners, and moisturizers made with ineffective and toxic ingredients can actually do more harm than good. 


While it’s a natural and necessary bodily function, sweat can mix with dirt and grime, falling into open pores and making them appear larger. 

Hair Care Products

Conditioners and other styling creams or gels can get into the pores on your shoulders, back, neck, and hairline, creating breakouts in any area that your hair touches. Pull your hair back when conditioning it in the shower and be wary of breakout-prone zones along the forehead, temples, and jawline.


The appearance of pores can differ based on the size of your pores. Individuals with larger pores might notice visible dark dirt or sediment lodged in their pores due to increased sebum production.

Conversely, those with smaller pores may encounter whiteheads, pimples, or skin-colored raised bumps, often resulting from blocked pores or dry skin.

It's advisable to seek guidance from a dermatologist to understand how your skin type functions and address any skin concerns effectively.


Blocked pores are a prevalent issue leading to acne, caused by the buildup of oil, germs, impurities, and dead skin cells. This accumulation triggers an inflammatory response.

When pores trap dirt, it oxidizes and forms blackheads, while inflamed, clogged pores produce whiteheads.

Pimples and cysts result from inflammation due to trapped germs.

Clogged pores, known as tiny openings in the skin, play a significant role in dermatology, contributing to dull and uneven skin texture.

When pores become congested, they impede the skin's ability to shed dead cells and regenerate new ones, leading to an accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface.

This buildup can result in the skin appearing rough, dry, and lackluster, diminishing its natural radiance and healthy glow. Clogged pores also exacerbate skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema.

The impaired skin barrier caused by clogged pores makes it easier for irritants to penetrate, triggering inflammation and flare-ups.

To mitigate clogged pores, it's advisable to use oil-free skincare products and incorporate gentle physical exfoliants into your skincare routine. These measures can help maintain clear pores and promote healthier skin overall.

Although clogged pores may appear larger or more noticeable, they differ from enlarged pores.

woman applying a clarifying face mask
woman smiling with a purifying face mask on her face


Clogged pores are a fact of life and anyone in the skincare game knows that helping them get unclogged is basically what your skincare regimen is all about. It’s the most common issue and the majority of cleansers on the market today work to lift dirt and grime up and out of pores, preventing breakouts.

Non-sensitive Skin Types

Wash with Salicylic Acid

 Salicylic acid cleanser helps remove dead skin cells through chemical exfoliation tactics. Depending on your dermatologist’s recommendation, using a glycolic acid wash can be equally helpful at quelling dead cell buildup and excess oil. 

Cleanse with Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a gentler yet effective ingredient in cleansers that tout moisturizing and exfoliating solutions. If salicylic acid or glycolic acid is too hard for your skin, a lactic acid cleanser may be a better solution. Chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids can be better for certain skin types, like those prone to irritation or who have certain skin sensitivities. 

Routine Facials

An experienced esthetician can utilize his or her skills to create a comprehensive skincare plan and offer services like microdermabrasion or an oxygen facial, that help slough off excess sebum and dead skin, revealing a clean, new layer underneath. Use our spa locator to find an experienced professional near you.

Using glycolic, lactic, and citric acids, these exfoliating peel pads gently remove the top layer of dead skin while lifting dirt out of clogged pores, leaving a free and clear complexion underneath. 

Use a spot corrector

The Active Pureness Corrector was designed to assist trouble areas that are breaking out because of clogged pores. This targeting spot corrector acts fast, banishing blemishes and preventing infections from clogged pores. 

Incorporate a face mask into a weekly routine

Our Sacred Nature Exfoliating Mask offers both nourishment and gentle exfoliation. DIY an at-home treatment like a charcoal facemask that purifies the skin’s surface and leaves behind smaller-looking skin pores and glowing skin. If you need more power in the skin renewal game, add the /skin regimen/ Glyco Lacto Peel mask to your weekly skin care regimen. 


Our Essential Scrub uses natural and soothing exfoliants to help remove the top dead layer of skin and prevent clogged pores. For those who hit the gym extra hard or spend time playing in the sun, exfoliate your body with Body Strategist Peel Scrub to remove excess sweat, sunscreen, and build up.

Sensitive Skin Types

Our Remedy collection cleaners, toners, and moisturizers calm and soothe irritated, stressed out, or frazzled skin, allowing it to work its way back to health.  


Having a healthy skin foundation can be the best line of defense against clogged pores. It’s crucial to stick to an established skin care routine morning and night.

Use non-comedogenic products

Non-comedogenic products mean products that don’t use poor quality oils or creams that can easily clog pores. If you know that your skin is especially reactive to certain ingredients, be sure to steer clear. 

Wash in the morning and evening

We sweat in our sleep, meaning that many of us - especially those with oily skin - can wake up with a sheen. Washing in the morning sets your skin up to receive products like a daily moisturizer and sunscreen. It’s equally important to cleanse at night to remove make-up, sunscreen, and whatever else the day dealt you.

Don't skip out on toning

Using a high quality toner doesn’t actually dry out the skin contrary to popular belief. It adds hydration while packing an extra punch in the pore-cleaning category.  

Use Retinol at night

Retinol has been proven to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of aging. Additionally, it can slow the sagging of the skin and increase elasticity.

When paired with a moisturizer, retinol and other retinoids are effective, over-the-counter skin care ingredients that help acne-prone skin.

Commit to routine

Consistency is key to achieving any goal, like maintaining clear pores. Try out our products by opting for a skincare set and you’ll get to sample our cleansers, toners, and moisturizers before landing on one that works with your skin.

Improve your diet

Plenty of antioxidant and vitamin rich foods can help overall skin health and wellness.

Add exercise to your routine

Even though sweat can clog pores, there's no reason not to get your heart rate up. Blood flow allows oxygen to spread more easily throughout the body. 

Drink plenty of water

Our cells are mostly water, hence, staying hydrated can help skin cells maintain elasticity. 


Choosing high quality products is essential to creating a healthy, glowing complexion and your best bet when maintaining clear pores. [ comfort zone ] products opt for non-comedogenic ingredients that harness the power of mother nature so that your skin’s health and wellbeing are front and center. 

comfort zone Remedy Collection natural skincare products on a grey background


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