Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
The most common cause of clogged pores is the buildup of dead skin cells. Washing your face regularly with a quality cleanser is usually enough, but sometimes your pores are stubborn and need a deeper cleanse. When you’re looking for a cream to unclog your pores, there are a few essential ingredients that will give you the most bang for your buck.
It may be a hard ingredient to say, but creams that contain salicylic acid can help prevent clogged pores by slowing the shedding of cells inside the hair follicles, which prevents the pores from clogging according to MayoClinic.com. Salicylic acid use might also help to break down those icky whiteheads and blackheads that form on the surface of the skin. Over-the-counter products are available with between 0.5 percent and 2 percent salicylic acid, but you can get prescription strength creams from your dermatologist.
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most effective ingredients used in products aimed at treating acne and skin problems, according to MayoClinic.com. Creams that contain benzoyl peroxide help to remove the bacterium that lives on the surface of the skin while removing dead skin cells that clog your pores. Yes, pores can get clogged with dead skin cells! Benzoyl peroxide creams are available in 2.5 percent to 10 percent strengths.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
You’ve probably heard a lot about creams that contain alpha hydroxy acids in TV commercials and from the sales people at the cosmetics counter. Well, there’s a reason for that, and it’s not all just marketing hype. Alpha hydroxy acids help to remove dead skin cells from your pores and the surface of your skin while helping to reduce inflammation. As an added benefit, alpha hydroxy acids also stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid treatment can both cause redness and irritation, and benzoyl peroxide can cause redness and severely dry skin. If you have dry skin, test a small amount of the cream on an inconspicuous part of your body before applying it to your face to make sure your skin won’t be the color of a red bell pepper. Alpha hydroxy acids can take a long time to take effect, and they can cause your skin to look irritated for several days or longer after beginning treatment. Sun exposure also can irritate the skin when using all three products.