Acne and clogged pores

Acne and clogged pores are not the same thing, but they almost always come together. (Clogged pores are one of the causes of inflamed acne). It makes sense to tackle both issues together in your routine.

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. In other words, when you have acne, it means that the immune system in skin is on high alert. It attacks any possible threat with inflammation. As the result, inflamed spots appear.

The other part of acne coming to be is a presence of acne-triggering bacteria. An interesting fact that these bacteria live both on acne-prone and acne-free skin. The bacteria on their own do not cause acne. This is why acne is not an infectious skin condition.

Inflamed acne spot appear when immune cells in skin are on high alert and too many acne-triggering microbes live on the skin. We do not know for sure what comes first: the immune cells going on high alert responding to the bacteria, or more acne-causing bacteria growing (when the immune cells goes on high alert, our skin becomes a more favorable environment for the bacteria). In practice, it does not matter much. To help reduce and prevent acne, we need to both help our skin immune cells calm down, and reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.

To help calm down your skin immune cells, we recommend treating acne-prone skin as a sensitive skin. In a nutshell, it involves using a minimal amount of products, going fragrance-free, and moisturizing well.

As for the acne-triggering bacteria, there are two main ways to reduce their number on our skin:

  1. kill or prevent them from growing with antibacterial ingredients (for example, benzoyl peroxide or prescription antibiotics);

  2. make their living conditions on the skin less favorable.

Acne-triggering bacteria do not like oxygen. That's why they live inside the pores. The more closed, or clogged a pore is, the better it is for the bacteria. This is why reducing clogged pores helps prevent acne.

We can reduce clogged pores with two methods. First, we can reduce the amount of "skin debris" (aka loose dead skin cells) that get stuck inside pores. We can do it using exfoliation. Salicylic acid is the most effective exfoliator for preventing clogged pores. The second method is reducing the amount of sebum (natural skin oil) that our skin produces. When sebum mixes with the "skin debris", it creates a sticky substances that clogs pores. Retinoids are the most effective skincare actives that can help reduce sebum production. (Retinoids also help regulate inflammation that results from the immune cells activation, which helps reduce acne as well).

Sebum production in our skin depends on hormones. This is why we get acne when we have more sebum-stimulating hormones in our bloodstream. For example, this is the case during teen years, in times of stress, and before female monthly period.

There is also a link between diet and acne for some people, but we need more studies to understand how exactly it works. Healthy balanced nutrition without excessive free sugars is probably helpful for preventing clogged pores and acne.

Top actives against acne & clogged pores

Healing acne patches

Hydrocolloid spot patches help to heal the skin trauma from active blemishes faster and minimize the scarring. Hydrocolloid patches alone do not reduce inflammation. It is best to apply a spot treatment with Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide on the blemish first, and then apply the patch. Or you can select a patch with an anti-inflammatory active added to it.

Recommended patches

Starface - Hydro-Star + Salicylic Acid
Price: $12.99
US, Canada, UK
Key ingredients
  • Hydrocolloid patch
  • Salicylic acid 1%
What we like about it:

Hydrocolloid patch with anti-inflammatory active Salicylic Acid. Reduce inflammation & help heal the acne-caused wound faster and with less scarring.

Example routines against acne & clogged pores

RoutineWizard
2 months ago
Ayoushi (https://whatsinmyjar.com/users/19262/ayoushi) is looking for a minimal budget-friendly skincare routine for acne-prone skin. The routine we've put together relies on the following actives: - Niacinamide (about 4%) in the moisturizer - 2x daily - Broad spectrum sunscreen ☀️ - Azelaic acid 10% - 1x daily - Retinoid - retinol + HPR, every other day (could be used daily once the skin "gets used" to it). For spot treatment, we recommend hydrocolloid patches with 1% salicylic acid (instead on the ones in the original routine - those included tea tree essential oil)
AM - Everyday
1
Skin Clear Lotion with niacinamide Boots - Skin Clear Lotion with niacinamide
2
Sun UV Face Sensitive Soothing UVA/UVB, 0% sticky skin feeling sunscreen protection SPF50+ Nivea - Sun UV Face Sensitive Soothing UVA/UVB, 0% sticky skin feeling sunscreen protection SPF50+
PM - Everyday
1
Ingredients Squalane Cleanser Boots - Ingredients Squalane Cleanser
2
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% The Ordinary - Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
3
Skin Clear Lotion with niacinamide Boots - Skin Clear Lotion with niacinamide
PM - Every other day
1
Retinol Serum The INKEY List CA - Retinol Serum
PM - Once a week
1
HYDRO-STAR + SALICYLIC ACID Starface - HYDRO-STAR + SALICYLIC ACID
5
13
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RoutineWizard
2 months ago
This is a routine makeover for Katiev (https://whatsinmyjar.com/skincare-routines/public/7176). The original routine already includes good actives, but is too harsh on the skin barrier. The updated routine relies on these actives: - 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide every other day in the AM allover and daily as a spot treatment on active blemishes. We recommend to stop it after 3-4 month, or at least reduce the frequency. - Adapalene 0.1% daily in the PM (it's a good idea to start using it every other day at first and only increase the frequency once the skin feels not irritated or too dry). - 20% Azelaic Acid daily in the AM - Niacinamide about 4% 2x daily - Linoleic acid at about 1.5% combined (Honest Beauty serum + BeautyStat moisturizer) - Salicylic acid 2% once a week and as a spot treatment on active blemishes as needed
AM - Everyday
1
Azelaic Acid 20% Dermatica - Azelaic Acid 20%
2
Calm & POREfect Serum Honest Beauty - Calm & POREfect Serum
3
Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream BeautyStat - Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
4
Mineral Mattescreen SPF 40 PA+++ Supergoop! - Mineral Mattescreen SPF 40 PA+++
AM - Every other day
1
CLEAR Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Paula's choice - CLEAR Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
PM - Everyday
1
Oat Cleansing Balm The INKEY List CA - Oat Cleansing Balm
2
Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment Differin - Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
3
Calm & POREfect Serum Honest Beauty - Calm & POREfect Serum
4
Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream BeautyStat - Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
PM - Once a week
1
Clear Regular Strength 2% BHA Exfoliant Paula's choice - Clear Regular Strength 2% BHA Exfoliant
2
0
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Latest community discussions about Acne & clogged pores

yungsoozzz yungsoozzz
5 hours ago

Looking for more affordable options, and less fragrance

AM - Everyday
1
Cream to Foam Cleanser CeraVe - Cream to Foam Cleanser
2
Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer LANEIGE - Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
3
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence COSRX - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
4
Acne Solutions™ Clarifying Lotion Clinique - Acne Solutions™ Clarifying Lotion
5
Collagen Booster Serum The INKEY List CA - Collagen Booster Serum
6
Guava Vitamin-C Bright Eye Gel Cream Glow Recipe - Guava Vitamin-C Bright Eye Gel Cream
7
Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream Dr. Jart+ - Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream
PM - Everyday
1
Cream to Foam Cleanser CeraVe - Cream to Foam Cleanser
2
Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm Cerave - Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm
3
Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer LANEIGE - Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
4
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence COSRX - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
5
Acne Solutions™ Clarifying Lotion Clinique - Acne Solutions™ Clarifying Lotion
6
Collagen Booster Serum The INKEY List CA - Collagen Booster Serum
7
Guava Vitamin-C Bright Eye Gel Cream Glow Recipe - Guava Vitamin-C Bright Eye Gel Cream
8
Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream Dr. Jart+ - Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream
PM - Twice a week
1
Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial Glow Recipe - Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial
0
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idullic idullic
18 hours ago

overnight exfoliator and retinol serums

so i'm trying to decide between serums for both of these functions, and i am kind of torn between two brands. i've listed the items below. i used the compare feature and saw some similarities and ... Read more

CeraVe - Skin Renewing Nightly Exfoliating Treatment
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Good Molecules - 1% Retinol Night Oil
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CeraVe - Retinol Face Serum For Post-Acne Marks
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Good Molecules - Overnight Exfoliating Treatment
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0
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Lenny Lenny
yesterday

Finding low budget effective skincare for my goals

Looking to keep a streamlined low budget routine for concerns of pigmentation, first signs of aging (crows feet/fine lines appearing), wrinkle prevention, and hormonal acne on chin and neck.My ski ... Read more

AM - Everyday
1
Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam innisfree - Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam
2
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres The Ordinary - Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres
3
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 The Ordinary - Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
4
Anthelios Xl Ultra Cream SPF50+ La Roche-Posay - Anthelios Xl Ultra Cream SPF50+
PM - Everyday
1
Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam innisfree - Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam
2
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% The Ordinary - Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
3
PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion CeraVe - PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
PM - Every other day
1
Advanced Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion The Ordinary - Advanced Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
1
1
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