If you want to maintain clear, smooth skin, it is vital that your pores are kept clean. Dirt, oil and bacteria that become trapped within the pores may enlarge them, giving skin a bumpy, uneven look, or cause acne blemishes, such as blackheads and whiteheads. While there are many deep pore-cleaning treatments available at the dermatologists' office or your local spa, there are several at-home options for cleaning your pores as well, which often prove to be more cost-effective and easier to maintain.
To make sure that your pores are clean, it is important that you wash your face daily with a cleanser that is designed for your skin type. Individuals with dry skin should choose a cream-based cleanser, while those with oily skin do better with a foam or gel cleanser. If you have combination skin, with dry patches in certain spots and oily skin in others, choose a mild cleanser that will not exacerbate either condition. Individuals who wear makeup on a regular basis may need to wash their face twice. You can first use a special makeup remover or makeup removal wipe to remove the cosmetics from your face and then wash with your regular cleanser to deep clean the pores.
An easy way to clean your pores at home is to use steam. Steam opens the pores, so dirt, oil and debris that is trapped inside is loosened and easier to remove. It also helps treatment products designed to deep clean the pores penetrate the skin more easily. Taking a hot shower gently steams the pores, but if you are interested in a more concentrated effect, place hot water in a bowl and lean over it. Drape a towel over your head to trap the steam. You will see the best results if you steam your face for two to three minutes. Try doing this once a week, if possible.
To prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores, you should exfoliate regularly. Using a wash cloth to rub the face while using your regular cleanser is a cost-effective way to exfoliate but be sure to wash your face cloth regularly so bacteria does not accumulate. Facial scrubs with fine beads or grains that remove dead skin cells when rubbed against the skin may be purchased at the drug store or cosmetics counter as well. Many companies also make skin care brushes that help exfoliate the skin with regular cleansers. Individuals with oily skin may exfoliate several times a week, while those with dry skin should limit their manual exfoliation to once a week.
Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Exfoliating the pores from the inside out is the most effective way to keep them clean. Alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) both work as chemical exfoliants to remove dead skin and other debris that might clog the pores. AHAs, such as glycolic, lactic or malic acid, are typically better for dry-skinned individuals, while BHAs like salicylic acid are better for those with oily skin because it helps dissolve trapped oil as well. Those who have combination skin should try to find a product that contains both AHA and BHA. Drug stores and cosmetics counters sell creams, lotions, serums, cleansers, toners and facial masks that contain AHAs and/or BHAs, so choose the product and formula that works best for your skin type.
For severely clogged pores, pore strips may be a good option for deep cleaning. Available at most drug stores, pore strips are pre-cut pieces of material that contain an adhesive on one side. The adhesive is water activated so when you dampen an area of your face with clogged pores and place the strip over it, it adheres to the skin. After the strip dries, you pull it off and the strip will pull out the dirt, oil and debris that is trapped inside the pores. Using an AHA or BHA product following the removal of pore strips allows them to penetrate more deeply.
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