If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then you might be familiar with clogged pores. Pores are very tiny holes on the skin and their main function is to secrete sebum to keep the outermost layer of your skin moisturised. But these pores sometimes get clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil, dirt, sweat and other impurities, which not only makes your skin appear dull, but also causes acne.

If this is a skin problem you are dealing with, then don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We contacted celebrity dermatologist and skin expert, Dr. Soma Sarkar to help you figure out everything you need to know about how to deal with clogged pores effectively. Simply follow the tips and treatments mentioned below to achieve clear and glowing skin in no time.


1. What causes clogged pores

What causes clogged pores

Dr. Soma Sarkar further explains, “Clogged pores are caused due to excess oil secretion from the oil glands under the influence of hormones, it can also happen due to an unhealthy skin care routine. Clogged pores can always give rise to acne, especially whiteheads and blackheads. The pores are essential for the exchange of substances in and out of the skin and to maintain the osmolarity in the skin layers.”


2. How to get rid of clogged pores

How to get rid of clogged pores

Even though clogged pores do not cause any serious health threat, they cause a lot of skin damage if not treated properly. They could lead to blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne and permanent scarring, making your skin appear dull and lifeless. Dr. Sarkar says, “Pores are generically sized and numbered, one has to understand that regular cleansing is an essential part to clear the pores on a daily basis. One can also cater to treatments like Q Switch lasers and CO2 lasers to tighten the pores so as to achieve clear skin. Simultaneously, usage of certain night serums with ingredients such as retinol helps to micro exfoliate, clear the pores and make your skin appear toned.”

Following are some simple ways to get rid of clogged pores:


- Avoid comedogenic products

Avoid comedogenic products

Whenever you are buying makeup and skincare products, it is really important to check the label to see if it says non-comedogenic, especially if you have oily skin. Non-comedogenic products are oil-free and have a lighter formula, which does not clog pores and thereby keeps your skin clear and healthy.


- Cleanse your skin twice a day

Cleanse your skin twice a day

Cleansing your skin every single day is something you should never skip doing if you’ve got clogged pores. But that’s not all; the kind of cleanser you use also plays a very important role. When picking a cleanser, look for something that has a gel formulation and is specifically meant for oily skin. Use lukewarm water to wash your face as it is less irritating and prevents your skin from further drying.


- Exfoliate regularly

Exfoliate regularly

Regular exfoliation is an absolute must, irrespective of your skin type, but it is especially important for people with oily, acne-prone skin. Exfoliation helps get rid of dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities stuck deep within your pores and gives your skin a clearer appearance. Not only is it important to use a gentle, everyday scrub, but it is also important to use an extremely light hand when exfoliating to prevent further skin irritation and damage.


- Use pore strips

Use pore strips

Another effective at-home remedy to get rid of clogged pores is to use over-the-counter pore strips, especially if you are dealing with blackheads on or around the nose. These strips, made with special bonding agents, work like a magnet to attract and lift away dirt and other impurities from your pores to make them appear clearer.


- Use a clay mask

Use a clay mask

Clay masks are gaining a lot of popularity and for all the right reasons. Clays like kaolin and bentonite help draw out excess oil and impurities settled deep within your pores to unclog them and make your skin look bright, clear and healthy.


- Use a retinol-based product

Use a retinol-based product

A major cause of clogged pores is slowed down cell turnover, which leads to your skin looking dull and dry, thus making your pores appear larger. Using a retinoid-based skincare product in your beauty routine will help increase the skin’s elasticity, improve collagen production and make your skin appear younger. But most of all, this ingredient also helps increase cell turnover, thereby making your pores appear smaller and unclog them.


3. Cosmetic treatments for clogged pores

Cosmetic treatments for clogged pores

Home remedies don’t always show desired results, and if you want to achieve absolutely flawless skin by getting rid of clogged and enlarged pores, then you may have to go in for in-clinic cosmetic treatment. Dr. Soma Sarkar says, “Clogged pores mean you can have dead skin, which leads to blackheads and whiteheads due to accumulation of excess sebum. To get rid of this, you may have to extract the comedones, followed by chemical exfoliation or even laser treatments, along with a very religious CTM routine.”

Some common cosmetic treatments for clogged pores are as follows –

i). Extractions:

Extraction is a pore cleansing method where dermatologists use special tools and equipment to draw out excess sebum, which, if left untreated, could cause blackheads or whiteheads.

ii). Skin peels:

Clogged pores usually make your skin appear really dull and lacklustre, and a great way to get rid of this problem is to ask your doctor for a chemical peel. These treatments use AHAs and BHAs to carefully and gently peel away the topmost layer of dead skin, as well as deep-set impurities in your pores for clearer skin.

iii). Microdermabrasion:

This is a very common skin treatment recommended by doctors to unclog pores and retexturize your skin. Doctors use a diamond or crystal-tipped extraction tool to physically exfoliate your skin. This helps draw out impurities and makes your skin appear a lot firmer, clearer and healthier.

iv). Hyaluronic acid treatment:

Hyaluronic acid is a potent hydrating ingredient that infuses life and moisture into dull, dehydrated and aging skin. Since hyaluronic acid is a humectant, it plumps up your skin to automatically reduce the appearance of enlarged and clogged pores.


4. Frequently asked questions about clogged pores

Frequently asked questions about clogged pores

Q. What can one do to prevent clogged pores in the future?

A. Dr. Sarkar says, “To prevent clogged pores, one has to follow the basic CTM skin care routine and always wear sunscreen. If one has oily skin, then it is recommended to use products with AHAs in them. Exfoliation can be done on the skin once in 15 days with mild exfoliating agents. One can also use a clay mask or Fuller’s earth which will help reduce the excess oiliness and keep the pores clean.”

Q. When should one see a doctor for clogged pores?

A. I always suggest that you must visit your doctor when you feel that in spite of following a strict skincare routine, your skin isn’t showing remarkable improvements and maybe it is time to re-evaluate your skin regimen and to check if there are any pathological changes in the skin, like pimples. Don't wait for your skin to get really bad, as that will take time to heal. Ideally, one should visit a dermatologist once in three months or every time the season changes to keep your skin healthy and glowing.