Acne and clogged pores

WIMJ Guide


Acne and clogged pores are not the same thing, but they almost always come together. It makes sense to tackle both issues together in your routine as well.

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. In other words, when you have acne, it means that the immune system 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 because when the immune cells goes on high alert, it makes our skin into 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.

Latest discussions

dankm
6 hours ago

Does it unclog pores

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Ask your skincare question
Gal-S
15 hours ago

Reduce the overall irritation risk

How can I reduce the overall irritation skin according to my routine ? Should I change to different products or maybe change specific products to PM routine instead of AM routine ?

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Malinalina
5 days ago

I need new routine fast.

Please help!! I'm 27 and need a better skin care routine. Best products for dry skin and dark spots I have been tanning for years.

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gangnamstylefanatic123
2 months ago

SPF

I have a cleanser moisturiser and use benzoyl peroxide daily to combat mild acne, I live in Uk and am wondering what to use for sun screen. Preferable non comedogenic, and not too expensive?

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Best ingredients for acne and-clogged-pores

NIACINAMIDE


Works for
  • Anti-aging
  • Moisturizing
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • Reduces irritation
  • Reduces redness
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
Irritancy risk
LOW

Appears on 3 avoid lists
Included in 1002 skincare routines

Summary

Is proven to be effective in reducing blemishes, evening out skin tone and helping to improve lines and wrinkles. It helps the skin to repair sun damage, calm down inflammation and keep maintain good levels of moisture

SALICYLIC ACID


Works for
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
  • Antibacterial
  • Evens skin tone
Irritancy risk
HIGH

Appears on 4 avoid lists
Included in 645 skincare routines

Summary

Used for skin exfoliation. It has an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect, helps to unclog pores, prevent blemishes and speed up healing of the existing ones. Sometimes referred to as a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid)

RETINOL

Other name: Retinoid, derivative of vitamin A

Works for
  • Anti-blemish
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-aging
  • Evens skin tone
  • Mattifying
  • Sun protection
Irritancy risk
HIGH

Appears on 5 avoid lists
Included in 321 skincare routines

Summary

Two steps removed from the active form of vitamin A - retinoic acid. Once converted to the retinoic acid in the skin, retinol is proven to be effective against all signs of aging. It improves skin cell turnover, helps fight blemishes and clogged pores, can regulate excess oil production and even skin tone. It can, however, be quite irritating

SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE


Works for
  • Anti-blemish
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Anti-aging
Irritancy risk
MEDIUM

Appears on 0 avoid lists
Included in 193 skincare routines

Summary

A stable derivative of vitamin C. It is oil-soluble which means it is more likely to penetrate the skin compared to the pure form of vitamin C (which is water-soluble), but it is less bio-available and is way less effective in stimulating collagen and reducing wrinkles compared to the pure form of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) and its other derivatives (for example, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). At the same time, this vitamin C derivative has been shown in studies to be effective in reducing acne, blemishes and clogged pores. It is less irritating then the pure form of vitamin C

AZELAIC ACID


Works for
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • Exfoliation
Irritancy risk
LOW

Appears on 0 avoid lists
Included in 118 skincare routines

Summary

Is produced by a yeast that lives on normal human skin. It is used in medicine as a topical treatment for mild to moderate acne. It has a mild exfoliating effect. It can also help reduce hyperpigmentation, helps calm down inflammation and can help neutralize free radicals

BAKUCHIOL


Works for
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
Irritancy risk
MEDIUM

Appears on 2 avoid lists
Included in 96 skincare routines

Summary

A plant extract that is, though different in chemical structure, acts similar to retinoids. First studies show that it can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone, reduce clogged pores and blemishes, and reduce inflammation. There is no conclusive evidence that bakuchiol is as effective as retinol however. The study that directly compared retinol with bakuchiol used bakuchiol applied twice daily compared to once per day for the retinol. According to this study, bakuchiol is less irritating than retinol. Bakuchiol is extracted from seeds of Babchi plant. Other parts of the plant contain coumarins that could cause allergic and irritant reactions. These compounds should be removed in the extraction process when bakuchiol is produced, but it is a good idea to be cautious and stay away from products that include the Babchi plant extracts other than purified bakuchiol to avoid irritation

HYDROXYPINACOLONE RETINOATE


Works for
  • Anti-aging
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • Exfoliation
Irritancy risk
HIGH

Appears on 1 avoid lists
Included in 92 skincare routines

Summary

A derivative of the most potent form of vitamin A, retinoic acid. The ingredient can be sold under name Granactive Retinoid. Note that if a skincare brand discloses the concentration of Granactive Retinoid in a product, the concentration refers to a diluted form of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate: 1% of Granactive Retinoid corresponds to 0.1% of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR) is a unique derivative of retinoic acid because it can directly work in the skin and does not require additional conversion steps. According to studies done by the manufacturer on models of human skin (not real people), this derivative is more effective than other cosmetic versions of retinoids (such as retinol, retinaldehyde, and retinyl palmitate), and, at the same time, causes less irritation. It has been also demonstrated to be more stable than retinol which makes formulating with easier and increases the chances that a product with it will maintain its effectiveness after opening. The packaging should still ideally be air-tight. HPR is available over the counter in the EU, UK, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, but is only with a prescription in Canada.

BETAINE SALICYLATE


Works for
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
Irritancy risk
MEDIUM

Appears on 1 avoid lists
Included in 86 skincare routines

Summary

Exfoliating acid, a "relative" of salicylic acid

ETHYL LINOLEATE


Works for
  • Moisturizing
  • Anti-blemish
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Evens skin tone
Irritancy risk
MEDIUM

Appears on 0 avoid lists
Included in 59 skincare routines

Summary

Helps reduce acne and blemishes. Helps to soften the upper layer of the skin and reduce inflammation. Might be helpful in reducing hyperpigmentation and evening out the skin tone, but evidence of effectiveness in skin are lacking

BENZOYL PEROXIDE


Works for
  • Anti-blemish
Irritancy risk
HIGH

Appears on 4 avoid lists
Included in 34 skincare routines

Summary

A potent anti-bacterial ingredient that is effective against acne. Often leads to skin dryness and can be irritating

Best products for acne and-clogged-pores

WORKS FOR
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Exfoliation
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • Moisturizing
  • +3 more
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • azelaic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • bakuchiol
  • niacinamide
  • azelaic acid
  • bakuchiol
  • hydroxypinacolone retinoate
  • allantoin
  • cetearyl alcohol
  • glycerin
  • polymethylsilsesquioxane
  • squalane
  • +9 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
MEDIUM
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WORKS FOR
  • Anti-aging
  • Exfoliation
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • Moisturizing
  • +2 more
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • glycolic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • glycolic acid
  • allantoin
  • caprylic/capric triglyceride
  • glycerin
  • kaolin
  • sodium hyaluronate
  • squalane
  • +6 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
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WORKS FOR
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Exfoliation
  • Moisturizing
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • +3 more
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • gluconolactone
  • gluconolactone
  • lactic acid
  • caprooyl phytosphingosine
  • caprooyl sphingosine
  • ceramide ap
  • ceramide eop
  • ceramide eos
  • ceramide np
  • ceramide ns
  • arginine
  • beta-glucan
  • cetyl alcohol
  • cholesterol
  • glycerin
  • helianthus annuus seed oil
  • lactobacillus ferment
  • pullulan
  • pyrus malus fruit extract
  • silica
  • squalane
  • tocopherol
  • +20 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
MEDIUM
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WORKS FOR
  • Anti-aging
  • Exfoliation
  • Moisturizing
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • +2 more
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • lactic acid
  • tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
  • acetyl glucosamine
  • algae extract
  • arginine
  • bisabolol
  • caffeine
  • cetyl alcohol
  • dimethicone
  • gelidiella acerosa extract
  • hypnea musciformis extract
  • kaolin
  • laminaria saccharina extract
  • molasses extract
  • peg/ppg-18/18 dimethicone
  • phospholipids
  • polysilicone-11
  • pyrus malus fruit extract
  • saccharum officinarum extract
  • sea whip extract
  • silica
  • sodium hyaluronate
  • squalane
  • sucrose
  • trehalose
  • triticum vulgare germ extract
  • zinc pca
  • +25 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
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WORKS FOR
  • Cleansing
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • panthenol
  • centella asiatica extract
  • glycerin
  • glyceryl stearate se
  • +2 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
MEDIUM
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WORKS FOR
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • benzophenone-4
  • glycerin
  • hamamelis virginiana extract
  • sodium hyaluronate
  • trehalose
  • +3 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
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Appears in   94 routines
WORKS FOR
  • Anti-aging
  • Exfoliation
  • Evens skin tone
  • Anti-blemish
  • +1 more
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • glycolic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • lactic acid
  • panthenol
  • glycerin
  • sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer
  • tartaric acid
  • +4 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
MEDIUM
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WORKS FOR
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
  • Moisturizing
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • glycerin
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
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WORKS FOR
  • Cleansing
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • cetearyl alcohol
  • cetyl palmitate
  • helianthus annuus seed oil
  • kaolin
  • lactobacillus ferment
  • olea europaea fruit oil
  • +4 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
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Appears in   1 routine
WORKS FOR
  • Cleansing
  • Exfoliation
  • Anti-blemish
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • salicylic acid
  • panthenol
  • carnosine
  • glycerin
  • hydrated silica
  • +2 more
PROMISES
FULFILLED
100 /100
IRRITANCY
HIGH
Wish list
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