Clogged pores are an understandable source of insecurity for men everywhere because of how noticeable they are. Pores reflect your skin’s health and impact your complexion, so it is best to take the initiative and treat when you are ridden with white and blackheads.
MadeMan is here to help and has tips for deep cleaning your pores the right way.
What Are Pores?
Pores are little openings connected to your hair follicles that extend down through the skin and allow for substances to reach the surface. There are two different types of pores. The type of pore determines which substance will assist in reaching your skin’s surface.
The first type is sweat pores. They are connected to the sudoriferous glands, which discharge sweat. Sweat travels from these glands to the surface and helps to maintain your body temperature when overheated. Despite these pores being all over your body, they are extremely small and are typically not visible.
The second type is oil pores. Oil pores are connected to the sebaceous glands that produce oil, or sebum, which lubricates the skin, keeping it moisturized and healthy.
Oil pores cover almost the entirety of your skin and are usually large enough to be noticed. Because they are visible, when there is clogging in these pores, they can be seen to the naked eye.
How Pores Get Clogged
As previously mentioned, pores are the tiny openings that allow sebum or sweat to be transmitted to the surface of your skin. On occasion, these openings can get clogged when a buildup of oil is stuck beneath the surface. Other reasons that your pores can experience blockage include hormonal changes and the gathering of dead skin and bacteria.
In fact, these blockages are also responsible for acne. Sometimes the skin will close over a clogged pore. This results in what are called closed comedones. Closed comedones are pores blocked with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells that have been covered by a layer of skin, forming bumps called pimples.
When the skin does not close over the clogged pore, the result is an open comedone. This will typically present itself as a blackhead, a very mild type of acne that gets its name from its dark appearance.
If left untreated for a long enough amount of time, a clogged pore can increase in size. This is why it is important to deep clean your pores, treat any blockages in the skin, and take preventative action against clogged pores.
How To Unclog Pores
There are several different available methods for unclogging blocked pores and improving your skin's health and appearance. Many of the available treatments involve extraction and exfoliation.
Extraction means taking out all of the buildups that are clogged in your pores. There is a myriad of different ways to go about extracting blackheads and whiteheads.
One of the most common at-home techniques for extraction is pore strips.
Pore strips are strips that contain water-activated ingredients that you place on your face. They connect themselves to the top layers of bacteria, dirt, sebum, and dead skin cells. Then, when peeled off, debris on the strip shows what has been extracted from the skin.
While effective at attacking the skin’s surface, it is limited to that area. It is not effective for providing a deep cleaning or eliminating clogged pores. Face masks are similar in effect to pore strips when it comes to treating clogged pores.
You have the option of using both sheet and clay masks. Sheet masks are wet masks infused with hydrating ingredients. Their moisturizing properties can help treat skin dried out from clogged pores but not at treating the clogs themselves.
Clay masks do not lock moisture in but rather soak it up. Clay masks target excess oil and, in the process, can help to clean out pores. One issue with clay masks that you might want to be wary of is their tendency to strip your skin of necessary moisture. If you use clay masks, we recommend moderation.
There are also extraction tools available on the market that can directly target each clogged pore. Comedone extractors unclog pores with better accuracy if used correctly.
The extractors with small loops are meant to target whiteheads, while extractors with flat loops are meant for blackheads.
While effective, the technique takes patience and precision. If done incorrectly, the pore is at risk of becoming even more clogged than before or leaving behind a scar. These tools may be better left to the professionals.
On the topic of professionals, one of the safest and most effective ways to extract blackheads and whiteheads is to get a professional facial. Schedule an appointment with a professional, whether your dermatologist or a beautician, to ensure that your skin is in good hands.
Exfoliating is the process of removing sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells from your skin using chemicals or tools. Exfoliation can be used to treat clogged pores.
In addition to removing dead skin cells, exfoliation can improve circulation. In combination, these two features of exfoliation encourage skin turnover and allow for better absorption of skincare products that are otherwise kept out by your blocked pores.
One method of exfoliation is mechanical exfoliation. This type uses tools such as brushes, sponges, and gloves to rid the outermost layer of your skin of dead skin cells. Certain versions of each product can be used on dry skin, while others work better in combination with a scrub or cleanser.
The other method of exfoliation is chemical exfoliation. This type uses chemicals to dissolve the dead skin cells on your skin. In fact, chemical exfoliation products tend to contain either beta hydroxy acids or alpha hydroxy acids.
While both methods are proven to help with unclogging your pores, you should select the one that best suits your skin type. For example:
- Dry and sensitive skin types should try to exfoliate chemically.
- Oily skin types may require something stronger and will likely react better to mechanical exfoliation.
- Combination skin types may require a combination of both methods, and normal skin is generally able to choose whichever method they like.
As with most skin care products, results may vary, and adjustments should be made to fit your unique skin’s needs.
Post Unclogging Treatment
After you have successfully treated your clogged pores, your skin is likely to be clean but tender. This poses the unique challenge of keeping your skin clear but doing so in a gentle way because when your skin is in a vulnerable state, it is more susceptible to damage.
MadeMan is committed to keeping things simple and convenient. That’s why we offer a simple skincare routine. The Resetter, which is part of The Re(Set) Collection, does just that. This non-irritating water-based cleanser is extremely refreshing.
Unlike most other cleansers, it is not filled with harsh chemicals but rather natural ingredients. Using The Resetter will give you a champion cleanse that eliminates impurities from your pores without breaking down the skin’s moisture barrier.
With consistent use, you will be saying goodbye to acne-prone clogged pores.
The next step is to moisturize. Whether you opt for extraction or exfoliation, moisturizing should be a part of your post-unclogging routine. This will ensure that your pores remain clean. Every skin type, including oily skin, needs a moisturizer to hydrate your skin and minimize your pores.
Clogged pores can lead to skin irritation like dryness or acne. Moisturizing every day can minimize the chances of your skin becoming afflicted with these conditions.
Your moisturizer can help to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier, which will prevent environmental damage to your skin. Environmental damage like external bacteria can cause your pores to become clogged once again. It is best to prevent this by keeping your moisture barrier strong.
Also featured in The Re(Set) Collection is The Refresher. This product, meant to be applied after The Resetter, restores and repairs your skin using complex nutrients. It is easily absorbed and penetrates your skin’s layers with nutrients it may need to heal post exfoliation or extraction. The blend itself contains antioxidants that promote the natural repair process and boost natural collagen production.
The last step is to apply sunscreen. Ultraviolet light can negatively impact your skin’s moisture barrier, as well as cause other damage both internally and externally.
For this reason, you must protect yourself every morning by applying sunscreen that is broad-spectrum and has an SPF of at least 30.
There is no reason to allow clogged pores to affect your confidence when so many treatment options are available. Remember to choose the methods that you can perform the most safely.
Once you have provided your pores with the deep cleaning they have been begging for, remember to utilize your self-discipline to apply good habits and keep your skin looking fresh and clean.
Facial Pores: Definition, Causes, and Treatment Options | PubMed
Comedone formation: etiology, clinical presentation, and treatment | PubMed
Dynamics of progressive pore clogging by colloidal aggregates | PubMed