10 Gunk-Busting, Grime-Extracting Products To Unclog Your Pores

Pores unclogging products

If you deal with excessive blocked pores, blackheads, and whiteheads in the monsoon, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The muggy weather can wreak all kinds of havoc on our skin! You’ll be surprised, but a simple skincare routine can go a long way in keeping pores unclogged and clean.

We spoke to dermatologist Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, Founder and Medical Director, ISSAC Luxe to get her expert opinion on why pores get clogged in the monsoon and how to deal with this. She says, “In addition to calming and cooling rains, the monsoon season is also known for skin eruptions, fungal infections, and clogged skin pores. Slow cellular turnover is another influencing aspect. Your dead skin cells might accumulate and clog pores as a result of increased stress, a poor diet, and a lack of a good skincare routine.” 

Identifying Clogged Pores

Wondering how you’d know if your pores are blocked? “Pores are the small openings in the skin that allow sweat and oil to escape and blackheads, whiteheads, and acne can appear when these pores get congested. So, if you see whiteheads, blackheads, or a general dullness in the appearance of your skin, your pores may be clogged,” points out Dr Geetika.

Here’s an interesting fact: a blackhead forms if the dead skin cell plug oxidises as a result of oxygen exposure; and the blocked pore will remain as a whitehead if the plug is not exposed to oxygen.

But can clogged pores lead to acne? Dr Geetika says, “Acne can result from clogged pores. Bacteria that ordinarily reside on the skin’s surface without harm can begin to proliferate inside the follicle when sebum-clog forms. Following inflammation, a breakout occurs.” 

Dealing With Congested Pores

Simple steps like a good CTM (cleansing-toning-moisturising) routine can help greatly. Clogged pores are typically resolved by regular washing with non-comedogenic skin care products, shares Dr Geetika. “No matter what kind of skin you have, wash your face every two hours to remove the filth and grime that is usual during this time of year,” she says. While that takes care of the cleanse part of your CTM routine, the next step is to tone which shouldn’t be missed. “To keep your skin moisturised throughout this season, a toner is a must,” says Dr Geetika. When it comes to the ‘moisturise’ step, she suggests avoiding the use of thick lotions or creams to ward off the effects of excessive humidity on skin, and to ensure your face doesn’t feel sticky. “Instead, use one that is water or gel-based because it absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving a greasy appearance or clogging pores.”

Taking steam every other day also helps open and cleanse your pores. To fully revitalise your skin, you can also use a gentle scrub with soft beads twice a week.

“Regular application of chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid or salicylic acid and extractions greatly aid in clearing pores. Regular acne facials or mechanical exfoliation with microdermabrasion performed by a licensed aesthetician can also help reduce pore build-up,” says Dr Geetika. 

Chemical exfoliation involves using products with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) such as glycolic and lactic acids and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) such as salicylic acid. “Both AHAs and BHAs are excellent for clearing up congested pores. Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, as well as other AHA/BHAs, will all help exfoliate and dissolve away dead skin cells and debris, which will clear and reduce the visibility of pores,” she says.

For professional help, Dr Geetika also suggests in-clinic treatments like the HydraFacial MD Elite, Skin Oasis (which uses an ultrasound-based spatula to deep clean the skin), and Tight Pro (which uses Grid Fractional Radiofrequency or GFR to tighten the pores) as effective treatment options for clogged pores.

10 Skincare Products To Help Unclog Your Pores This Season

Now that we’ve got all that cleared up (and hope your pores do too!), take a look at some products that can help. From toners and cleansers, to scrubs and peeling solutions, we round up some effective ones to help banish those congested pores…

1. PIXI Glow Tonic


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A cult favourite, this highly concentrated facial toner deeply cleans pores and gently exfoliates by sweeping away excess oil and impurities. It is enriched with 5% glycolic acid that pulls away grime from your pores, while aloe vera soothes and hydrates your skin.

2. Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

A daily deep pore cleansing face wash, it gently detoxifies and exfoliates the skin. The exfoliating clay face wash, infused with a range of ingredients sourced from the mouth of the Amazon River, helps remove impurities while visibly minimising pores. 

3. Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2X

Formulated with absorbent Jeju super volcanic clusters and AHA, this clay mask helps get rid of blackheads, clogged pores and flaky skin. It provides even-toned skin and improves overall skin texture, giving your face a natural matte effect.

4. L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence


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Being a watery essence, this is able to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. It is packed with salicylic acid that accelerates skin renewal and mildly exfoliates to refine pores and skin texture. Known to treat blackheads, whiteheads and acne by clearing blocked pores, salicylic acid helps break down the bonds between dead skin cells helping them release from pores more easily.

5. iSClinical Active Peel System

A two-step peel pad system designed to use every other day, these pads gently exfoliate, restore, and rejuvenate the skin. They help improve the appearance of skin tone and texture, and also address concerns such as breakouts, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Being travel-friendly, you can easily pop these individually-wrapped pads into your bag for those long trips.

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


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Can’t do without your peels? This solution offers deep exfoliation to help fight clear pore congestion, and visible blemishes and gives improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use. 

7. L’Occitane Reine Blanche Illuminating Scrub 

If you’re looking to clear pores and add a natural glow to your skin, try this scrub. Infused with the extract of the white flower Reine des Prés, also known as meadowsweet, which is known for its brightening properties, this scrub gently exfoliates, brightens and evens skin tone with its creamy texture.

8. Neemli Naturals Glycolic & Apple Cider Vinegar Exfoliating Toner 


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With gently exfoliating glycolic acid and pH balancing apple cider vinegar, this toner is a potent clarifying agent that deeply cleans pores and sweeps away excess oil to give you a smoother, brighter and more radiant look. This potent mix of ingredients is balanced by the calming properties of aloe vera.

9. The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash

Formulated with bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills, kaolin clay and Community Trade tea tree oil from Kenya, it cleanses away dirt and impurities and helps unclog pores. It leaves skin feeling refreshed and looking mattified without drying it out.

10. Quench Botanics Matcha Better Pore Clearing Skin Tonic

This multitasking tonic is packed with skincare superheroes. Imbued with 10% willow bark complex, aloe vera, salicylic acid (BHA) and glycolic acid (AHA), it is a gentle and effective exfoliant which gets rid of blackheads and sebum inside pores. Additionally, matcha green tea and chamomile soothe and protect the skin, while bakuchiol fights the signs of ageing.


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