5 Best Products To Unclog Clogged Pores

A regular skin care regimen can be the foundation of good, healthy clean skin.

However, with so many products available on the market, it can be difficult to determine which products will work for your skin.

Figuring out your skin type and main concerns is a good way to start learning what would work best for your skin.

If your main skin concern is clogged pores, you’re in the right place.

If you have acne then you must use the right skincare products that won’t further irritate your delicate skin barrier or aggravate your breakouts and make them worse.

best products to unclog pores

Acne or not, the products you use matter especially if you’re dealing with clogged pores. Clogged pores are a very common and annoying skincare concern. Clogged pores can be stressful and difficult to get rid of but here are five products that can help.

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The 5 best products to unclog pores

These are the products you can incorporate easily into your skincare routine to help keep your pores healthy and happy.

  1. The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%
  2. Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2%
  3. Paula’s Choice Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA + Hyaluronic Acid
  4. COSRX AHA + BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
  5. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

1. The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%

best products for clogged pores

This AHA/BHA peeling solution is a great option if you have acne-prone skin and accompanying skin concerns. It can be applied on a weekly or biweekly basis, and its high levels of exfoliating acids tackle issues like clogged and large pores, blackheads, and more.

This is a super effective treatment for blackheads, whiteheads, and moderate to severe acne. 

This toner contains 30% AHAs to exfoliate the surface of your skin and dissolve the body’s adherens junctions or “glue.” Resulting in brighter and healthier-looking skin with a reduced risk of pigmentation.

It contains 30% alpha-hydroxy acids that exfoliate the surface of your skin and help to gently dissolve the gunk inside your pores.

Furthermore, the low percentage of 2% BHA is an excellent ingredient that penetrates the pores more deeply to clear away, oil and bacteria from deep inside your pores. Use it once or twice a week to get the best results without stripping your skin’s surface and causing irritation.

Buy it online from SkinStore, Beauty Bay or Amazon.

2. Paulas Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2%

products for clogged pores

If you struggle with severe acne, this product can be an ideal acne treatment. The Regular Strength 2% Salicylic acid solution is perfect for oily skin types and deals with moderate to severe acne breakouts.

This salicylic acid solution provides a nice and light texture, doesn’t feel like it’s clogging the skin, and is generally well tolerated by all skin types.

This salicylic acid solution won’t feel heavy on your face and will unclog your pores, which can help to moderate acne breakouts.

Keep in mind that it may sting a little for the first few uses, especially if you have dehydrated or dry skin. However, with consistent use, your skin will get used to it.

Buy it now on Amazon.

3. Paula’s Choice Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA + Hyaluronic Acid

best products for congested skin

Paula’s Choice pore-refining treatment is for sensitive skin types that also need hydration. Besides containing 2% salicylic acid to help clean bacteria from your pore, this also has hyaluronic acid, nourishing peptides and antioxidants to hydrate and plump your skin and accelerate the healing process.

Buy it online from Amazon.

4. COSRX AHA + BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

products to unclog pores

This COSRX Clarifying Toner is one of the best affordable chemical exfoliation treatments out there. Formulated with ingredients such as willow bark extract, glycolic acid and apple water, this gentle toner is a great exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and excess oils.

It also prepares the surface of the skin to receive nourishment and treatment from other skincare products.

The lotion is infused with exfoliating and hydrating ingredients, such as alpha-hydroxy acids derived from fruits, and a gentler form of salicylic acid known as betaine salicylate.

Additionally, it has no shortage of hydrating ingredients, including moisturizing and softening ingredients like allantoin. With consistent use of this clarifying treatment, you can have a bright, radiant and glowing complexion.

Buy it online on Yesstyle, Beauty Bay or Amazon.

5. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

best skincare for clogged pores

The Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum contains 12% AHA/BHA that helps refine and resurface the skin, smooth the appearance of pores, and reveal a radiant complexion.

This serum is effective, gives excellent results and is great for dry, oily and combination skin types.

Formulated with a strong combination of exfoliating acids like glycolic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid, it helps to unclog pores, balance sebum production, and prevent acne breakouts.

All while repairing and rejuvenating the skin and fighting pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Buy it online from Amazon.


What causes clogged pores? 

We all have pores, which are tiny holes in our skin where hair follicles and sweat glands exist and where our sebaceous glands and sweat glands empty their oil onto the surface of the skin.

If your skin produces too much sebum or accumulates dead skin cells, excess oil and other debris like makeup in your pores, your pores can become clogged and increase your risk of acne.

When your pores are clogged, this can cause blackheads, whiteheads, and a dull-looking complexion.

Having a good skincare routine can help keep unwanted dead skin cells, bacteria and oil from settling in your pores and causing breakouts. This is the perfect environment for cystic acne to thrive.

Do clogged pores go away on their own?

No, clogged pores won’t go away on their own. If you have clogged pores, it’s better to be proactive by being consistent and persistent with your daily routine.

And part of that is having a skin-friendly gentle cleanser (one that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils) and gently exfoliating your skin at least once a week type to help reduce oil production and keep your pores clear. 

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What does a clogged pore look like?

When pores are mildly clogged, they will appear dull and lifeless. This can make the skin’s surface look bumpy and textured and your complexion pasty and discoloured.

Additionally, clogged pores always lead to blackheads, whiteheads and mild to moderate acne breakouts.

How do you get rid of clogged pores?

To get rid of clogged pores, you need a good skincare routine with a good cleanser and exfoliator. That’s the first step to getting rid of most skin concerns, including clogged pores.

Exfoliation is important but avoid harsh scrubs and anything too abrasive.

Mechanical exfoliation won’t get to the root of your problem, and will only tear your skin and make the problem worse.

Instead, try chemical exfoliants like topical retinoids like a retinoid cream or adapalene. Retinoids help to address the root cause of pores by reducing sebum production and clearing away dead cells that can clog pores.

Adapalene helps reduce skin inflammation and prevents skin cells from sticking together to block the follicles. You can also consider using clay masks or charcoal masks to help absorb excess oil.

How can I permanently shrink my pores?

Unfortunately, you can’t permanently shrink your pores. How many you have and the size of your pores is largely genetic and based on how your glands are made.

What you can do is make them look smaller with regular exfoliation and following a good skincare routine.

Can you actually unclog pores?

With the availability of facial brushes and pore strips, you might think a special device is needed to unclog your pores, but that’s not the case.

Our skin produces oil all the time, so clearing blockages will only have a temporary effect, they usually fill up again in a few days.

However, if you take care of your skin and use gentle exfoliating methods, and the right skin care products, you should see a clear improvement in the look of your clogged pores within weeks.

What products should you avoid if you have clogged pores?

If your pores are clogged then it’s a good idea to stay away from comedogenic products like heavy creams and lotions because they could potentially clog your pores even more.

The best way to do that is by looking for and using non-comedogenic creams and lotions. This means that the ingredients don’t include anything that’s known to cause skin congestion and clog your pores.

Some of the worst offenders are products with oils and butter categories, like coconut oil and shea butter.

Those are better used elsewhere on your body and not your face.

Studies have shown that a diet high in whey protein (think whey protein bars and shakes) and dairy makes the skin more prone to acne and clogged pores.

Does baking soda unclog pores?

You would think that using a few home remedies to unclog pores, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar, would help out but it won’t. Instead, these two products can do more harm than good by ruining your skin.

Final Thoughts

Clogged pores can be stressful and the cause of skin concerns like blackheads, cystic acne, discolouration, and dullness, so it’s important to keep them clean.

You can’t get rid of clogged pores permanently, no matter how much you spend.

But with the right products, skincare routine and correct technique, you can reduce their appearance and stop acne from developing.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by taking care of your skin, following a skincare routine and staying away from products with pore-clogging ingredients.