How to unclog and reduce pores?

I was focusing on restoring the skin barrier last few weeks and now I can see the visible pores & blackheads on my nose and cheeks. Worsen, the weather getting hotter, and I get aged so pores getting larger day by day – more likely stretched and dilated (aka saggy pores). 😂😩
(*sebum levels naturally decline with age, however skin elasticity decreases so pores appear bigger)

Sebum & oil(s) are produced daily to protect our skin so cannot eliminate all pores and blackheads however wish to make my pores smaller. Interesting thing about pores, if we can unclog and look after pores, they will look smaller and get smaller so let’s not give up.

👃What does sebum do?

A moderate amount of sebum forms a protective layer of skin. This lipid of the skin surface protects the skin from infection by bacteria (anti-inflammatory function) and UV radiation and reduces moisture loss.
Sebum also transports antioxidants to the skin surface, protecting from free radicals.

👃What’s Clogging Our Pores?

When oil, dirt or dead skin cells start to build up, this build-up blocks and clogs your pores, leading to whiteheads or blackheads and possible acne breakouts.

👃How to unclog and minimize pores?

Treating clogged pores not only means cleaning the outer layer of the skin but penetrating deeper layers into your skin.

1. Daily routine white-/black-heads removal

*Blackheads: Open pores that are clogged with a combination of dead skin cells and excess oil, creates an oxidation that is dark in color (see more details here – link)

(1) Exfoliate With Toner
This can not be an instant job, however for long-term use you can see how your pore gets better and healthier.
• ISOI PHA First Toner
• Mediheal Phyto-Enzyme Peeling Pad

(2) Melts With Cleansing Oil
• Makep:rem Moisture Cleansing Oil
• Ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil

2. Moisturizing Daily

Moisturizers are also vital to be included in daily skincare routine. If your skin gets dry, it would tend to produce more oil, making it more problematic.

Squalane is one of sebum components and helps to regulate sebum production, preventing the skin from becoming too oily. It also helps increase hydration and doesn’t clog pores.
• S.Nature Aqua Squalane Moisturizing Cream

3. Use Antioxidants Products

Such as vitamin C, E, resveratrol or coenzyme Q-10. Antioxidants help prevent forming of free radicals which break down collagen and help reduce the appearance of acne by unclogging pores and regulating the sebum production.

  • Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum
  • athé VitalC-some Toning Concentrate Ampoule

4. Add Retinol Product

Helps increase collagen production, promote skin cell turnover and decrease oil production. A 0.1~1% concentration of retinol is a good baseline and gradually increases the concentration over time.

  • The Ordinary 0.2% Retinol & Squalane
  • IOPE Retinol Expert 0.3%

5. Pore Mask (Kaoline or Bentonite) – 2~3 times a week

Clay masks help to draw oils and toxins out of the skin.

  • Bring Green Tea Tree Cica Pore Clay Mask
  • BEPLAIN Mung Bean Pore Clay Mask

—- Pore Mask & Retinol topic will be posted separately soon —–

6. Use Hydroxy Acids to unclog pores

AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid) can help clean out our pores, and these two can play alone or combine together with caution.

cf. AHAs exfoliate the skin surface to target roughness and uneven texture, and BHAs penetrate deeper into the skin to remove build-up and unclog pores.
🔎more about AHAs & BHAs:

cf. Witch Hazel: one of natural alternatives to salicylic acid. It contains several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, including tannins to help tighten pores and remove dead skin cells.

🔔My recommendations
These products are helping to rebalance sebum level by removing excess sebum and blackheads without irritating skin.
(1) Pore cleansing liquid

  • Medi-Peel Extra Super 9 Plus – contains Lactic Acid (AHA), Centella Asiatica Extract

(Enclosed cotton pad is big however it splits to 5 layers so you can use 1~2 sheets to the desired area)

$30 (Sale) AT OliveYoung
  • Numbuzin Blackhead Soak Off Cleaner – contains Witch Hazel, Centella Asiatica

👉Both gentle on skin and skin appears smoother, however there is no dramatic result as they have no harsh formula for the skin and not pleasant scent from the ingredients

(2) Nose Patch

  • CNP Anti-pore Blackhead Perfect Clear Kit
  • ilso Natural Mild Clear Nose Pack

(Step-1 patch is a bio-cellulose sheet and step-2 patch is spunlace sheet so they adhere well on the nose)

👉Both products are very effective, consisting of 2-step pore patches(pore clearing & pore tightening) and deliver better results than pore liquid or cleansing oil. No irritation from both, however CNP has a slightly stinging feeling and better result than ‘ilso’ from my test result.

(image source from ilso homepage)

$25 AT OliveYoung


There are also other options to remove impurities and blackheads by using manual extraction or suction devices, however these may do more harm than help to delicate facial skin – especially mature skin like me, will leave more scars and pigmentations as the skin’s capacity to repair diminishes by aging. Hope you can find the best solution(s) for your skin from one of my recommendations.

Remember, when the temperature of the skin rises about 1 degree, sebum excretion rate increases by 10% so keep in mind that ‘Do not get exposed your skin in hot temperature’ and also ‘Wear sunscreen’ as it blocks UV rays that disturb collagen production.

Thanks for reading~

*some articles quoted from Google.


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