Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do you unclog your pores?"
The pores on my face are extremely clogged. I can tell because there are black spots on my forehead and on my nose. How can I get them unclogged? I've tried different facial scrubs but they don't seem to be working.
First let me say a little about what causes those black spots, which are commonly referred to as blackheads. There are four factors that lead to acne: 1) increased production of a protein on the skin called keratin which leads plugging of follicles and the creation of "blackheads;" 2) increased production of an oily substance called sebum that helps to plug the follicles; 3) breakage of the blackheads which causes inflammation of the skin; 4) and finally a bacteria called p. acnes that lives on the skin and helps to worsen the inflammation. Finding a strategy to keep your face clear involves targeting a number of these aspects. First, it is important to use appropriate skin care techniques. Wash your face gently and with just your fingertips or hands. Scrubbing your face hard can only make things worse by increasing irritation and inflammation. There are many facial cleansers on the market that are designed especially for acne and blackheads, and the most common ones contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. However, these can frequently cause dry skin. You can try products such as Cetaphil, Eucerin, or Basis skin cleansers which are designed to be much more gentle on skin. These products can help reduce irritation and inflammation and consequently help to prevent their formation. Using these facial cleansers primarily and then substituting in ones containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid once a day or every other day is a good strategy. Your doctors can also prescribe some gels or creams, which can help reduce them. Finally, antibiotics are sometimes used to help decrease the bacteria and inflammation that they cause. A primary care physician or a dermatologist should discuss the best ways to help improve your skin and help you find products that are right for you. Good luck!
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