How to Unclog Pores

How to Unclog Pores

We all know the feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing blackheads or whiteheads on your skin. Eek! It’s never fun. While you can’t change the size of your pores, there are definitely things you can do to unclog pores and keep your skin clean and fresh.


Main Takeaways: The best things you can do to unclog your pores is to wash your face twice a day and exfoliate regularly.

Good to Know: It’s best to avoid pore strips as the adhesive can actually be damaging your skin and remove beneficial oils instead of the stuff in your pores.

Recommended Products: So Clean! Facial Cleanser and Prince Charcoal Detox Mask.


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What are pores? What causes clogged pores?

First, let’s talk about what pores are.They’re openings in your skin that allow sweat and oil to get to the surface from the lower layers. This helps to keep your skin cool and hydrated. Pores are absolutely necessary for healthy skin, but clogged pores can lead to dull, uneven looking skin.

One thing you may be tempted to think is that you can make your pores smaller, thus making them less susceptible to clogging. But, you’d be wrong. Pores size is mostly determined by genetics, and you can’t actually make your pores smaller. Although there are things you can do to shrink the appearance of pores, including washing your face and cleansing out your pores.

Throughout the day, dirt, oil, makeup, bacteria, and dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin clogging your pores and leading to blackheads, whiteheads, or blemishes. Luckily, there are products that can help to clean clogged pores on your face.

Best Products for Unclogging Pores

If you find yourself with clogged pores on your face often, you may be wondering how to clean your pores? Well, most likely you need to switch up the products in your skin care routine or add new products to your lineup.

Face Wash

Most people probably already use a face wash, but it’s seriously so important to wash your face no matter your skin type. Using a gentle cleanser twice a day in the morning and at night is the first step in unclogging your pores. It’s especially important to cleanse at night and remove the dirt, makeup, and potential pollutants that your skin was exposed to throughout the day. The best pore cleanser will help unclog pores and keep them from getting clogged in the first place.

Bonus Tip: When washing your face use lukewarm water to lather the cleanser, and then rinse with cool water. The lukewarm water will help to loosen your pores, and the cool water will help to temporarily tighten them back up.


Even if you cleans everyday twice a day, you may need to give your skin a deeper cleanse with an exfoliator 1-3 times per week. Exfoliators help to clear out excess dirt, oil and dead skin from your pores. Just keep in mind that over exfoliating can lead to irritation, so you should use a separate exfoliator and cleanser. Two-for-one may seem like a good deal, but you’d likely be irritating your skin by using one everyday. No fun.

There are two different types of exfoliators: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators often use granules of natural ingredients like coffee, sugar, or sea salt, to cleanse your pores. Make sure that physical exfoliants are small as overly large granules can make small tears in your skin causing more harm than good. Chemical exfoliators on the other hand use acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt, so there is less risk of irritation.


Retinols are known to minimize the look of common signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. But, they can also help to cleanse your pores through exfoliation and temporarily tighten them making them appear smaller. Retinol can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so it’s best to use it at night.

Detox Mask

A good charcoal mask or clay mask can do wonders for unclogging your pores. Charcoal helps to cleanse your skin of dirt, oil, and other buildup. Mix that with kaolin clay or bentonite clay which help to draw out impurities and balance your skin’s natural oils, and those clogged pores on your nose don’t stand a chance.

Like exfoliators, detox masks have amazing benefits, but overuse can lead to irritation, so it’s best to only use it 1-3 times a week.

Charcoal mask on a hand

Other tips for clogged pores

Don’t touch your face - Your hands touch everything, and then they reach out and touch your face bringing all that dirt, oil, and bacteria with them leading to clogged pores on your face. You should also not pick at your pores. Picking at your skin can lead to scarring or infection, so let your products do their job, and stay away.

Avoid Pore Strips - As satisfying as it may be when you pull them off, the adhesive can actually be damaging your skin and removing beneficial oils instead of the stuff in your pores. It’s best to avoid these, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Avoid comedogenic ingredients - Comedogenic ingredients are ingredients that are most likely to cause clogged pores. If you consistently have clogged pores or oily skin it’s best to avoid them in. Some common comedogenic ingredients in skincare are coconut oil, lanolin, and algae extract.

Talk to your dermatologist - Your dermatologist is the best person to talk to if you have clogged pores, and nothing you do seems to help. They can do a chemical peel, facial, or prescribe something for you. It’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.

Frequently Asked Questions About Unclogging Pores

What do pores do?

Pores are tiny openings in the skin that allow perspiration and sebum (the oil naturally generated by the body) to get to the top layer of the skin. They help keep your skin cool and healthy. Many think that pores open and close, when in fact, that’s impossible. What can be altered, however, is the appearance of pores.

Why do pores get clogged?

Pores get clogged because dirt, oil, makeup, bacteria, and dead skin cells build up on the surface of the skin and essentially burrow in your pores. This is what causes breakouts and blemishes and sometimes gives the skin a dull or even dirty appearance.

Can I make my pores smaller?

Nope. Your pores are what they are. There are things you can do to make them appear smaller like cleansing and exfoliating to remove dirt and oil that could be clogging your pores, but you can’t actually change their size.

Are pore strips safe?

Pore strips won’t kill you, but the adhesive can potentially damage your skin, and they most likely are removing the natural oils that aren’t actually the oils clogging your pores. It’s best to stick with natural cleansers or add an exfoliator to your routine instead.

How to clean clogged pores on nose

The best thing you can do is cleanse twice a day and use an exfoliator 1-3 times a week. To get the most out of your cleanser and exfoliator, use lukewarm water to wet your face, this will help to loosen your pores allowing for a deeper cleanse. Then rinse your products off with cool water to help tighten the pores back up.