AS SOON AS OIL AND DEAD SKIN CELLS START BUILDING UP IN A PORE, BACTRERIA HAVE A FEEDING FRENZY THAT HELPS THEM MULTIPLY AND EVENTUALLY CAUSES A PIMPLE. YOU CAN PREVENT CLOGGED PORES BY KEEPING DEAD SKIN CELL BUILDUP TO A MINIMUM, AND AVOIDING FACE- AND HAIR-CARE PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN PORE-CLOGGING INGREDIENTS LIKE MINERAL OIL, LANOLIN AND SHEA BUTTER.
1. OVER-THE-COUNTER Exfoliation
Store shelves are lined with countless exfoliation options, including manual scrubs, glycolic and saliculic acids, and gentle enzyme-based products.
HOW IT WORKS - Similar to in-office exfoliation treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion, at-home products and treatments remove dead skin cells that contribute to blemish formation.
RESULTS SEEN - Although it can take several weeks to see results, exfoliation is extremely helpful.
2. PRESCRIPTION Retinoids
Tetiniods go by many names, including tretinoin, Retin-A, Tazorac, Differin and more, but they are all derivatives of vitamin A that affect the wat the skin turns over and prevents dead cells from sticking together and clogging the pores. As if there weren't enough retinoids tochoose from, there's also a prescription called Ziana that combines tretinoin with the antibiotic clindamycin to target bacteria as well. Doctors often starts acne treatment with Retin-A because, in addtion to breaking down comedones, it's great for older acne patients who are also concerned about aging.
HOW THEY WORK - Topical retinoids prevent clogged pores by speeding up the skin's natural rate of exfoliation. By decreasing the stickiness associated with the dead cells, the chances of pores becoming clogged are lessened.
RESULTS SEEN - Within two to three months, but acne may worsen before it improves.
SIDE EFFECTS - The common side effects are dryness and irritation, which tend to decrease with continued use. starting with every-other-night use and gradually working up to every night can help keep side effects to a minimum.
COST - May be covered by insurance.
3. AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE Chemical peels
Many different types of peels can be used to alleviate acne as well as scarring, but glycolic acid - a type of alphahydroxy acid - is the most common. Saliculic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) may be more suitable for sensitive skin, and yet another type of acid, polyhydroxy acid is among the lastest generation of acids that results in the least irritation. Your doctor will decide which type of peel and concentration is best for you based on your skin.
HOW THEY WORK - Chemical peels remove the superficial layers of dead skin cells to prevent pores from becoming clogged.
RESULTS SEEN - Most peels deliver results within two weeks.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS - A series of six peels spaced two weeks apart is generally recommended.
SIDE EFFECTS - Redness, sun sensitivity, possible peeling.
COST - Starting at approximately $150.
4. AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE Isolaz
Stubborn acne needs a multifaceted treatment that covers all of the acne-causing culprits: bacteria, inflammation, oil and clogged pores. A relatively new office-based treatment called Isolaz does just that. Studies show it's safe and effective for mild to moderate acne, but active lessions respond very well to this treatment, but it's not aggressive enough to help prevent pimples from forming.
HOW IT WORKS - Isolaz users suction to clean out the pores while pulsed light targets oil and bacteria.
RESULTS SEEN - Many patients see improvement in their blemishes after the first ten-minutes