Dealing with stubborn blackheads can be a frustrating skin issue that many of us face, no matter our age. Tiny but persistent, they can feel as if they’ve taken up permanent residence on our skin, despite every attempt to have them evicted.
But rest assured, there is hope! If you're tired of battling blackheads and clogged pores and feel as if the war is lost, we’ve got you. Not only are we about to delve into the details surrounding pores and their function, we’ve compiled tried-and-true steps and ingredients to finally help you achieve the clear skin you’ve been looking for – and vanquish blackheads for good!
Scroll on for more…
So, What Exactly Are Pores?
Pores are tiny openings on our skin's surface, and they play a vital role in the health of the complexion. Acting as gateways for hair follicles and sebaceous glands, they also release sebum, an oily substance that moisturises and protects the skin.
In addition, pores help to expel toxins from the body and regulate body temperature via perspiration. So, while they're essential for skin function, factors like excess sebum and dead cells can cause them to become clogged, leading to myriad issues, including congestion, blackheads and acne.
Why Do We Get Blackheads?
Blackheads and congestion occur when sebum and dead skin cells mingle within a pore, forming a kind of ‘plug'. Blackheads are so named because they differ from whiteheads in that the pore stays open to the air, which causes the trapped stuff to oxidise and turn dark in colour.
While they are harmless, we totally get that they’re annoying, and chronic blackheads can stretch out the pores, leading to a spotty or unrefined skin texture.
Hormones, certain skincare products and cosmetics can also play a role in the formation of blackheads. Hormones like testosterone, for example, can trigger excessive oil production, while the overuse of heavy or occlusive formulas can contribute to blocked pores.
But knowledge is power, and being aware of these factors will only help you to find the right solutions for your face.
Read on for some top tips.
What Can I Do To Keep My Pores Clear And Blackheads Away?
Despite internet fodder, you can’t close your pores (in fact if you did, you’d be in serious trouble). An integral part of skin function and part of the healthy function of our bodies, pores don’t open and close, but they do stretch, dilate and become blocked, which is when things get annoying.
The good news? There are things you can do to keep your pores clear and blackheads at bay. Our experts suggest the following:
Don’t touch or pick
Picking your skin is never a good idea. It can spread bacteria, cause further damage and lead to scarring. No matter how tempting it might be, avoid squeezing blackheads at all costs.
Always double cleanse
While we’d never skip SPF, sunscreen can be difficult to remove. The same goes for makeup. If these products remain on the skin for too long – i.e. overnight – they can clog pores and trigger congestion.
The takeaway? Double cleanse every single night. Reach for an oil-based formula to start and follow up with a gel.
Avoid Thick Or Heavy Moisturisers
On that note, if you’re prone to acne, clogged pores and blackheads, avoid heavy moisturisers. Instead, look for lightweight serums and creams that will dial up the skin’s water content without contributing to oil production. The same goes for your sunscreen! We recommend an oil-free formula, such as Face The Day SPF 50+.
Try: Face The Day SPF 50+
Exfoliation is the best way to remove cellular build-up, and it helps to keep the pores clear and skin healthy. We swear by Glycolic Scrub 14% – it works like a charm to dissolve expired cells before buffing them clean away. There’s a reason it’s dubbed one of our Real. Skin. Heroes! If you tend towards more sensitive skin, try Enzymatic Micro Peel, which is designed to remove surface cells while simultaneously hydrating your face.
Try: Glycolic Scrub 14%
Try: Enzymatic Micro Peel
Look Towards Retinol
Retinol is another wonder ingredient for congestion-prone skin as it regulates cell turnover, which minimises the risk of clogged pores (including pesky blackheads). If you’re new to the ingredient, try working our Retinol Serum into your evening routine once or twice a week. For seasoned users, every night or every second night is appropriate.
Try: Retinol Serum
Try A Professional Treatment
To truly level up results, try booking a professional skin treatment with our partners at Laser Clinics Australia. The Skinstitut 4-Step AquaFacial is the perfect option as it deeply cleanses, dislodges debris and leaves the skin plump, purified and looking thoroughly cared for.Want to learn more about breakouts and just how they form? Read up on the lifecycle of a pimple right here.