What Causes Clogged Pores? A Skin Health Guide

Acne can affect over 80% of teenagers and nearly 3% of adults.

Blocked pores are never pleasant to look at or experience. Often they can be red in appearance or sore to the touch. But why do we get them?

Read our short guide if you would like to know more about what you can do to help keep your pores clean and get rid of clogged pores. We will take you through the best ways to keep your skin looking its best in our modern world.

What Is A Clogged Pore?

A pore is a tiny opening on your skin. They allow the skin to release sweat and oil, technically known as sebum, to help keep the body cool and clean. However, sometimes they can become blocked and inflamed.

When you have a spot like a whitehead or a blackhead on your skin, this results in a blocked pore. Your skin may appear greasy, and your complexion dulls when you have too many blocked pores on your skin. 

What Can You Do To Prevent Clogged Pores?

So, what clogs up pores? Pores become clogged for lots of different reasons. Toxins in the air, excessive sweat, or oils from makeup and creams can all block your pores and cause spots.

Hormones are also a factor and cause an overproduction of sebum on the skin blocking the pores with skin cells. This is why teenagers often suffer from spots, and you may find you have more blackheads around the time of your period.

In fact, there is little you can do to prevent clogged pores outside of a daily skincare routine. Ensure that you wash, tone, and moisturize your skin daily to help keep it healthy and clean. Speak to a dermatologist to get advice on cleaning your skin and the best products for your skin type.

However, you may find that you still find that even with a perfect skincare plan, you still develop blocked pores from time to time. So, before you dash to Google and search for facials near me, let’s look at some ways you can treat your clogged pores at home.

How Do You Clean Clogged Pores?

There are many different treatments that you can try to help unclog pores and keep your skin looking fresh and clean again. You can do most at home yourself with products you can find in most drug stores.

Pore Strips

Pore strips can remove pores by pulling the blockage out of your skin. They are small, sticky strips much like a plaster that you can place over a blockage and pull off to rip out the blocked pore. They will remove oil, hairs, and dead skin with the adhesive in a safe and relatively painless process.

Pore strips may not be the best solution for you if you have sensitive skin, as they can irritate and leave red marks. Try using them sparingly as some dermatologists believe that they may also remove natural oil from your skin as well as unblocking your pores.

Steam Facials

There are two ways to have a steam facial: at home with a personal steamer or at a clinic with a professional. Whichever route you choose, the steam will naturally open your pores and make them easier to cleanse.

Once your pores are open, you can use various skin creams for a more intense and deeper effect. A skincare specialist will advise on what is the best after steam treatment for your skin type.

Steaming is beneficial and is done every month to help naturally cleanse and enhance your skin. It will also help with future clogged pore prevention by keeping your skin in better condition.


This process uses friction on the skin to rub dirt and grime out of your pores and help to keep them clear from clogs. There are two ways to exfoliate your skin: manually or chemically.

If you opt for the manual method, you can buy scrubs and cleansing cloths from most stores. You can then apply the scrub to your body and exfoliate the skin gently with the cloth. This will help lift the dirt out of your pores and clean away dead skin and excess sebum.

You can feel a little raw after exfoliation, so be sure to rub gently, especially in sensitive areas of the body or where the skin is thinner, like under your eyes.

A chemical exfoliation should be performed by a skincare professional. The dermatologist will apply chemicals to peel back a layer of your skin, removing dirt and pore blockages as it works.


Skincare professionals can perform extractions on particularly clogged pores in your skin. They will ‘pop’ the spot over the clogged pore and extract the blockage with a specialist tool.

This is a much safer and healthier way than popping your zits at home with your fingers. Popping clogged pores can damage the skin surrounding the pore, causing scarring, which may last for a lifetime. It is always best to let the professionals remove the spot for you with their expertise.

How Not to Unclog Pores

Skincare professionals agree on the above methods as the best methods for cleaning your skin and removing unwanted blocked pores. However, some treatments are not suitable for your skin and should be avoided.

Baking Soda scrubs are very popular and often recommended as a facial cleanser on how to clean out your pores guides. However, baking soda is far too alkaline in nature to be safe to use on the face and can strip the natural oils, leaving the skin vulnerable.

Lemon is also toted on guides for how to unclog pores as a great way to cleanse the skin and remove blockages. Lemon juice is highly acidic and will dry out and irritate your skin, and in some extreme cases, it may even burn and leave lasting damage.

Care For Your Clogged Pores

As much as we would like to prevent clogged pores, they are a natural part of life and our hormonal cycles, and modern living creates environmental factors that will take their toll on our skin. So, the best we can do is have a regular skincare routine and treat ourselves to a professional facial whenever we can to keep our skin looking younger for longer.

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