Pores can become clogged with excess oil, dead skin, or dirt, or they can appear more prominent as a result of too much sun exposure. Other factors that can influence pores becoming clogged include genetics and hormones.
Acne facials are an effective and great way to unclog pores, just ask any dermatologist. "In office treatments, such as Hydrafacials and microdermabrasion are good examples of less aggressive in-office treatments that can improve the appearance of pores by mechanically exfoliating the skin," says Dr. Marchbein.
They form when pores get clogged by dead skin and excess oil," says board-certified dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D. "Blackheads are often very stubborn, and while they generally do go away, it can take months or even years for them to go away on their own."
The white stuff that comes out of your pores like thin strings when you squeeze your nose is called a sebaceous filament. It's mostly made up of sebum (oil that your skin produces) and dead skin cells. This substance typically collects in pores around your nose and chin.
Nazarian recommends exfoliating with topical medications, such as glycolic acid, retinoids, and salicylic acid, to break down the plugs and dissolve them.
Are Pore Vacuums Effective at Clearing Pores and Blackheads? “Pore vacuums certainly can be an effective tool in helping to regularly clear pore congestion, however they're not essential component to a skincare routine,” says Dr. Reszko.
Close the holes temporarily with cold water.
Cold water makes your pores contract, which makes them look smaller. Try splashing some cold water on your face or holding a cold washcloth against the blackhead holes. This won't shrink them permanently, but it works as a good temporary fix.
Salicylic acid can be an effective ingredient in skin care products to help treat acne. Salicylic acid can help unclog blocked pores by breaking down and removing dead skin cells and oil. Salicylic acid may produce mild side effects, such as skin irritation or peeling.
When spread on the skin, retinoids can unclog pores, allowing other medicated creams and gels to work better. They also reduce acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. By clearing acne and reducing outbreaks, they may also reduce the formation of acne scars.
According to board-certified dermatologists Joshua Zeichner, MD and Lily Talakoub, MD, the answer is generally yes. "Pore vacuums offer mild suction to help remove blackheads from the skin," Dr. Zeichner explains.
But does ice really help in closing open skin pores? According to dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad, ice cannot affect the opening or closing of skin pores.
Benefits of cold water
Secondly, while hot water opens pores, cold water closes them. This is beneficial for skin for a number of reasons, namely reducing the appearance of pores and depuffing the face.
Pockmarks, which are also called pick marks or acne scars, are blemishes with a concave shape that can look like holes or indentations in the skin. They occur when the deeper layers of the skin become damaged. As these deeper layers heal, extra collagen is produced.
While cellophane tape could possibly remove surface dead skin cells, it's unclear how effective this method is in removing clogged gunk in your pores. Don't use masking, duct, industrial, or any other type of tape that could be harmful to your skin.
The Skin-Compromising Consequences
“Squeezing, picking, pulling, prodding—all of that can stretch the elastic around the pores, which makes them wider and larger, and they won't bounce back into shape. Ultimately, your pores will look larger and become increasingly more visible.
Removing blackheads may leave the pores open but you can make them appear smaller eventually by following CTM (Cleanser, Toner & Moisturization) routine to tighten the pores. Toner helps prevent breakouts and keep pores from getting clogged, thereby making them appear smaller.
How often should I suction my face? King doesn't recommend suctioning your face. Instead, she recommends other options, such as retinoids and salicylic acid. If you do want to try suctioning, she suggests limiting it to once per week.
Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist at NYC's SKINNEY Medspa, explains over email, "Peel off masks can temporarily improve the appearance of blackheads by removing keratin plugs. The debris will reaccumulate so there is no long term benefit.
For acne, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, at-home blackhead extractors should not be used, as they can harm already sensitive skin and worsen this condition.
The technical term for an acne seed is a microcomedone. A microcomedone is a cluster of mostly dead skin cells that might be mixed with oil and comedogenic ingredients from pore-clogging products. It's called a micro-comedone because when it first forms, it is microscopic so it's invisible to the naked eye.
Don't: Squeeze them.
You might see a gnarly-looking plug in the mirror, your fingers practically itching to pop and squeeze the blemish—don't. "Squeezing can traumatize the skin, introduce bacteria, and damage the pore, which can spread debris and bacteria deeper into the tissue," King notes.
Eventually, the follicle should open enough to release the pus on its own, without you having to push or squeeze. “When you push that pus you compress it and it explodes, which leads to more swelling in your face,” says Finkelstein. When you use a warm compress, “it usually comes out by itself.”