How to Unclog Pores Without Strips

Twice-daily cleansing can keep pores clear.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Pore strips can be an instantly self-gratifying way to clear out clogged pores -- especially pesky blackheads. However, your strips aren’t a complete guarantee the clogging contents inside your pores will be gone for good because dirt, oil and dead skin cells can be pesky. To ensure that, you’ve got to use a combination approach that involves a consistent skincare routine and maybe a trip or two to your dermatologist or aesthetician for some specialized skin extractions.


Cleanse twice daily -- once in the morning and once in the evening -- with a gentle cleanser or one that contains glycolic or salicylic acid to minimize skin cell shedding that can keep your pores clear for the long term.


Apply a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide spot treatment to any areas where your pores are especially clogged, such as a pimple or blackhead. Benzoyl peroxide is the ideal ingredient for spot treatments because it unclogs pores while also drying up the pore’s dirt-filled contents. Since benzoyl peroxide can be drying when you first apply it, start off with a once-daily application, then increase to putting it on twice a day.


Apply an oil-free moisturizer to your skin after your benzoyl peroxide has had time to dry. This will keep your skin from getting flaky while you treat your clogged pores. If you let your skin get too dry or tight-feeling, your skin actually produces more oil, which could lead to future clogs.


Rub on an exfoliating mask in gentle circular motions once per week to break up clogs and keep dead skin cells from adding to a blackhead or blemish. Rinse away with warm water.


See your dermatologist or aesthetician when you have a pesky clogged pore that just won’t clear with over-the-counter treatments. Extractions work similarly to a pore strip in that they involve the manual removal of the pore’s contents. Aestheticians and dermatologists are best at performing these because they can achieve the right angle in standing over your face to clear the pore while minimizing the likelihood of scarring.

Things You'll Need


1.Daily cleanser

3.Oil-free moisturizer

2.Benzoyl peroxide spot treatment

4.Exfoliating scrub


Tips & Tricks


The spot treatment salicylic acid is ideal for keeping pores unclogged -- but won’t help you as much when your pores are already clogged. Stick to benzoyl peroxide to treat clogged pores and switch up to salicylic acid when your skin clears up.

Attempting to extract your clogged pore’s contents yourself increases the chance you’ll experience acne scarring. Skip this and let the pros do it to maintain clear, even skin for a lifetime.


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