The quest for clean and healthy skin might be long and full of challenges. But if there's one sure fire way you can get notches closer to your dream skin, it's by taking care of your pores. And we all know that pores have one notorious foe in the form of Comedones.
As they say before every battle, “Know thy enemy”; today we'll jump right into learning all about these pesky little things and how to keep them where they belong i.e miles away from your face!
So, what are comedones?
Comedones are basically what you get when the sebaceous ducts and hair follicles are blocked with sweat, oil, bacteria, dirt, debris and other gunk. These are small bumps formed on the skin on your forehead, nose, and chin, as these are the areas that produce the most oil. Comedones usually happen if you don't clean and exfoliate your skin regularly. However, hormonal imbalance brought about by puberty, pregnancy, medicine reactions, steroid treatments are also known causes of comedones, since it leads to increase in overproduction of sebum, which eventually clogs the pores.
There are two types of comedones: blackheads and whiteheads.
Blackheads: Blackheads are also called open comedones, because they're present on the surface of the skin. Blackheads are called so because their exposure to air leads to oxidation, turning the debris darker with each passing day. Blackheads are solid to touch and give the appearance of a dark ball of dirt. They're sometimes so tiny that they appear as tiny black flecks, especially on the nose.
Whiteheads: Whiteheads are called closed comedones, because they're lodged below the skin's surface. They retain their white colour due to never coming in contact with air. Whiteheads are comparatively larger in size, more swollen and sensitive.
Gasp! Sounds awful. What should I do to get rid of them?
Well, first things first, here's what you should NOT do – squeeze them out. As satisfying as it may seem, trying to squeeze blackheads or whiteheads will only do more harm than good. Squeezing these out will not only increase your chances of infection but also make the pores larger, and further susceptible to more depositions.
Here are a few things you can try to get rid of black and whiteheads:
Wash your face with a cleanser daily
Use a cleanser that suits your skin. Salicylic Acid or BHA (for oily skin) and Glycolic Acid or AHA (for dry skin) are known to open up the pores and deep clean them. It is important that you use a mild cleanser for daily use – a strong and harsh cleanser can catalyze oil production and throw you in a vicious cycle of dealing with more Blackheads and Whiteheads.
Vaunt recommends: Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser (oily skin) and Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant (dry skin)
Use a non-comedogenic moisturiser
If your skin is likely to encounter blackheads and whiteheads, you need to only look at “Non-Comedogenic” on the label of any moisturiser. These moisturisers are sulfate free and fragrance free, so they don't clog your pores.
Vaunt recommends: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
Unless you're professionally qualified, DO NOT do this at home. This is a task meant for professionals who have the skill and instruments to help extract the debris from the pores manually, thoroughly and without risking infection.
Pore strips are a quick and easy way to get rid of the stubborn comedones. However, this is not a permanent fix since pore strips don't do much for oil control. If you don't follow a good skincare routine, the blackheads with resurface. Moreover, limit your use of pore strips to once a week, as overuse can increase sensitivity in the affected area, as well as leave the pores open for more bacteria and debris, increasing the chances of an infection. Mature skin should definitely stay away from pore strips.
Vaunt recommends: Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
The best way to keep blackheads and whiteheads away is to keep your skin clean and free from pore-clogging chemicals. If your comedogenic problems persist, head straight to the dermatologist to analyze the problem at the root, and follow a more precise and targeted skincare routine. Good luck!