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Clogged Pores | How to Clean Pores & Settle Congested Skin

Clogged pores are a significant aesthetic concern, and fortunately, there are many treatment options to minimise pores and clear congested skin. Microtox facials, Tixel, facial peels, laser and skincare have a place. Combining treatments, including home care, is the best approach. Clogged pores are often caused by sebaceous filaments, which are often mistaken for blackheads. Our skin nurse Christine can help assess and devise a plan to keep your pores clean.

Please book online or call 07 3350 5447 for a free consultation with our laser and skin nurse, Christine. 


Summary:  Treatments to Minimise Pores:

Clogged pores are blocked by sebum (oil) and accumulated shedding skin cells. Current treatments for clogged pores include skin care serums, peels and exfoliants, laser and energy therapies, and physical treatments such as extraction facials and skin needling. There are also novel treatments, such as microtox facials which will give up to 4 months of pore minimisation.

    • Treatment to minimise pores can be classified as short, medium and longer-acting.
    • Tixel is a new treatment that utilises pure heat and effectively reduces enlarged pores on the nose.
    • Pico laser is a very effective laser treatment to reduce pore size in people with skin type 4 and above and gives progressive results.
    • CO2 and RF microneedling is a versatile technology for pore-shrinking results, as it can be used in any skin type.
    • Skincare for clogged pores include vitamin A and B and exfoliants; these must be used daily to maintain results.
    • Extraction facials, jessner peels, skin needling and Carbon laser facials will shrink pores for around four to six weeks.
    • Combining therapeutic approaches and home care gives superior results.

Please book online or call 07 3350 5447 for a free consultation with our laser and skin nurse, Christine. 

What are Clogged Pores?

Clogged pores are blocked by sebum (oil) and accumulated shedding skin cells. Sebum is the oily liquid produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands. The primary purpose of sebum is to help keep skin moisturised, but it probably has other functions in your skin barrier. But when that oil accumulates, it forms a sebum plug or sebaceous filament, making tiny pores appear more prominent, and your skin seems congested.

What Causes Enlarged Pores?

The amount of oil produced in your skin and the susceptibility of pores becoming obstructed are the underlying cause. Acne, enlarged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads are all caused by skin pore function problems, mostly inherited.   Men and women both get enlarged pores, and they occur across many skin types. In addition, a significant study found that IGF-1 levels correlated with enlarged pores. As IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) can be influenced by diet, it may be that foods that stimulate insulin-like growth factors (such as dairy or excess protein may contribute, but this is purely speculative at this point, and much more research is required to confirm the mechanism.

Current treatments for clogged pores include skin care serums, peels and exfoliants, laser and energy therapies, and novel treatments such as microtox facials. All treatments aim to clean out the clogged pore or reduce the size by physical or chemical alteration to the pore anatomy. However, if you are serious about minimising pores, you need combinations of treatments and a pore maintenance program. I will let you know later what my particular pore-minimising regime entails.

Skincare to Minimise Pores

Some topical skin care treatments, both prescription and the counter, can help control those dastardly pores. We consider gold, silver and bronze prescription retinoids, topical exfoliants and niacinamide. A triple combination of these is better as they work differently to reduce enlarged pores. Daily application is required; results are cumulative, and a long-term reduction in pore size can be expected. However, these will need to be applied daily to minimise pore size.

Prescription Retinoids to Settle Congested Skin

Prescription retinoids address the root cause of congested skin by decreasing sebum production and assisting excess skin cells to slough away correctly (rather than sticking to themselves and causing blockages). These are applied at night and need to be introduced slowly. However, they have many additional benefits for skin settling acne, helping repair sun damage, preventing skin aging, and lightening pigmentation. You will need to see our Doctors for a consultation and prescription of retinoids. There is a cost for this prescription.

Niacinamide for Clogged Pores

Niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory topical vitamin B that, alongside Vitamin A, provides a whole host of benefits for your skin in addition to helping reduce enlarged pores. Using a serum with a concentration of 5% niacinamide is sufficient. This can be used at the same time as The mechanism of action of Vitamin B in reducing enlarged pores is unknown. However, topical application of Vitamin B improves skin barrier function and increases ceramides in the skin. Like Vitamin A, niacinamide has many other skin benefits besides relieving clogged pores. It helps lighten pigmentation, settle acne, improve skin barrier function, improve skin moisture and has anti-aging benefits.

Chemical Exfoliants to Clean Pores

Chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) are another essential product to relieve enlarged pores. Unlike their sister AHA’S (alpha hydroxy acid), Salicylic acid is oil soluble. It penetrates the pores, dissolving excess fat and compacts accumulated skin cell debris, essentially acting to help clean pores. However, exfoliants such as scrubs do not work; they merely scratch across the surface of your skin. Salicylic acid should not be used simultaneously as prescription retinoids. Instead, it should be applied in the morning or evening when you do not use Vitamin A.

Treatments to Minimise Pores

It is possible to reduce pore size, and though some treatments are longer lasting than others, if you are serious about tightening enlarged pores, you should consider a maintenance program. Breaking down pore-minimising therapies, we can consider short-acting (last around four weeks) medium, acting (3-4 months), and treatments that bring about a more permanent reduction.

Short-Acting Treatments to Clean Clogged Pores

Extraction facials and chemical peels are valuable tools to clean pores and relieve congested skin.

Extraction facials are used to clear blackheads & milia and assist in clearing clogged pores.

Extraction facials are a physical treatment where extraction tools and desincrustation treatments extract sebum plugs and filaments manually. We pride ourselves on the best extraction facials in Brisbane! These must be repeated every 4- 6 weeks to maintain clean pores. Using home care can help extend the duration of effectiveness.

Chemical peels are a second short-acting means to relieve congested skin and blocked pores. These can be Vitamin A or salicylic acid-containing peels like the jessner peel. The most dramatic result with a jessner peel, which leaves your skin glowing, cleans pores and provides temporary shrinkage. The Vitamin A peel offers a more progressive treatment result, which may be long-lasting; however, a Jessner peel is the way to go for a dramatic skin pick-me-up. It must be repeated every 4-6 weeks; adding home care, especially Vitamin A, can bring long-lasting results.

Carbon Laser Facials using a  Pico laser can be added as part of ongoing treatment to reduce pore size in any skin type. As with other shorter-acting therapies, that can give you up to 6 months of relief for clogged pores.

Medium ActingTreatemnts to Minimise Pores

The unique microtox facial can last up to 3-4 months. This treatment uses small doses of anti-wrinkle injections scattered across the face. This works because anti-wrinkle injections and relaxing muscles decrease oil and sweat production and promote skin rejuvenation. At Pearl, our Doctors administer the microtox facial using the Tixel. The effect of the microtox wears off after 3-4 months. However, a series of Tixel can bring about longer-term pore minimisation.

Longer Acting Treatments to Minimise Pores.

Laser therapy, microneedling,  Tixel and RF microneedling are all helpful to minimise pores. However, these treatments bring about a controlled injury to the skin, so they act to remodel the pore to achieve a longer-term solution to shrink pores.

Tixel Skin Treatment to Minimise Pores

Tixel is a new treatment that utilises pure heat to remodel the skin. It is best known as a treatment for the eye area, as it treats all aspects of aging eye concerns, tightens upper lids, reduces crows feet and treats under-eye wrinkles. However, the Tixel is equally effective for reducing enlarged pores on the nose. Depending on the severity, you will need 4-6 treatments. This can be combined with microtox facial intermittently to bring about more satisfactory pore tightening. As with all other therapies at home, care should be added, and this treatment can be used in combination with other medicines. e.g. Jessner peel.

Laser Treatment to Shrink Enlarged Pores

Several lasers are effective in reducing pore size. Pico laser, Fraxel, fractional CO2, ablative erbium and even laser genesis work depending on depth, skin colour and type.

  • Pico laser is one of the most effective treatments to reduce pore size in people with skin type 4 and above. This is a pico toning treatment that not only helps shrink pores but also helps with pigmentation and general skin quality and texture improvement. It is a favourite of our clients with Asian skin types.
  • RF microneedling is a versatile technology for pore-shrinking results, as it can be used in any skin type. Tixel is more effective, better tolerated and causes less downtime. However, in darker skin types, pretreatment with skin-lightening hydroquinone is recommended. Combining treatments give the best approach.
  • The CO2 laser is safe in skin types 1-light four and, like RF microneedling, is versatile and brings about more extended-term reduction in enlarged pores. However, a series of treatments is required.

Other Treatments Designed to Clear Clogged Pores

There are a couple of therapy treatments that assist in minimising pores.

  • Correct application of skin needling can help reduce pore size – this versatile treatment assists in returning a glow to your skin. However, it must be used with home care and, once again, more effective in combination with other treatments.
  • TCA peels or TCA cross are indicated for deeper skin pores – our doctors administer this, and careful selection is required.
  • Microdermabrasion uses suction to vacuum and clean pores – however, this is a temporary measure.

As all of these therapies clear the sebum, this will reaccumulate, so routine maintenance is required.

Please book online or call 07 3350 5447 for a free consultation with our laser and skin nurse, Christine. 

  • Sugiyama-Nakagiri Y, Ohuchi A, Hachiya A, Kitahara T. Involvement of IGF-1/IGFBP-3 signalling on the conspicuousness of facial pores. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Nov;302(9):661-7. doi: 10.1007/s00403-010-1062-3. Epub 2010 Jun 22. PMID: 20567839.