The tiny pores on your skin and scalp help your body stay clean and healthy. Pores located above sebaceous glands secrete a natural oil called sebum. This oil helps collect and hold together dead skin cells.
But as the sebaceous glands expel these dead cells, it often results in a buildup and ultimately clogged pores. The pores can also become clogged with dirt, bacteria and other oils.
Regular and proper skin cleansing can ensure that the pores do not stay clogged. But when not cleaned regularly, clogged pores can develop into chronic acne, irritation and other skin issues.
Additional factors like makeup, pollution and hormonal changes can contribute to the problem.
On top of that, many lifestyle and daily habits can cause clogged pores. Habits are hard to break, but if they are damaging your skin, then it is time to change them. Changing those habits can help you reverse the damage and maintain beautiful, clear skin.
Here are the top 10 habits that contribute to clogging your pores.
1. Touching Your Face Frequently
If you have a habit of resting your hand on your face while reading, then change this habit. This can contribute to causing ugly little breakouts.
Touching your face when you are washing or cleaning is fine. But if you frequently touch your face throughout the day, you are contaminating your skin over and over again.
In between washings, your hands pick up all kinds of dirt, bacteria and grease. So, when you touch your face with your dirty hands, you transfer the many bacteria, viruses, oils, allergens and impurities from your hands to your face, which can clog your pores.
Combat this common habit by washing your hands more often and actively reminding yourself not to touch your face. Ask others to point out whenever you touch your face unknowingly.
2. Sunbathing and Using Sunscreen
A day spent at the beach is a lot of fun, but it is very damaging to the skin. Sunbathing for a tropical bronzing any time of the year is not recommended.
Suntanning causes huge damage to the skin, and it can also make your pores appear larger. Plus, it can cause wrinkled skin or worse, melanoma.
Even if you use a sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage, that can be problematic. Many sunscreens are comedogenic, which means they have pore-blocking capability.
So apart from avoiding sun exposure for a prolonged time, it’s also important to choose the right sunscreen. Choose one that is lightweight, oil-free and contains zinc and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
Smoking is a bad habit, both for active as well as passive smokers, as it is a leading cause of heart disease and lung cancer.
At the same time, smoking is linked to skin problems. When you smoke, harmful residue is left behind on the skin. This dirty residue can clog your pores, discolor your skin and result in an unhealthy dullness. Regular smoking also exacerbates skin conditions like psoriasis and saggy skin.
A 2009 study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology journal found that smokers were more likely to suffer from adult acne (non-inflammatory type) as compared to nonsmokers.
Quitting is the easiest way to protect your skin from damage. Get help from friends and experts so you can quit successfully.
4. Sleeping on Dirty Sheets
Sleeping is important for healthy skin, but sleeping on dirty sheets and pillowcases can have a negative effect.
Bedsheets and pillowcases can easily accumulate oil, dirt and dead skin, which transfers back to your skin when you are sleeping at night. This irritates the skin, clogs pores and causes acne and blemishes.
It is highly recommended to wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week with an organic, non-fragrance, hypoallergenic laundry soap. If you are prone to clogged pores, you must change your bedsheets and pillowcases more often.
5. Talking on the Phone
You keep your cell phone in your purse or pocket and whenever you need to use it, you simply put it up to your ear and against your face.
If you don’t clean your phone regularly and the screen is more or less glued to your face from all the use, it can transfer dirt and bacteria onto your face. This can lead to clogged pores on the side of your face with the most contact.
Phones are exceptionally dirty. They collect dirt from any surface they come into contact with. To keep your skin healthy, switch to a hands-free device. Otherwise, clean your phone as often as possible to prevent accumulation of dirt and impurities on the screen.
If possible, avoid using your phone in the restroom, hospital, market or other public places that can leave your device highly contaminated.
6. Skipping Exfoliation
No matter how many times you wash your face, if you are not exfoliating once a week, your skin will suffer.
Exfoliation is one of the best ways to remove dirt, excess oil and dead skin cells that cause clogged pores and other skin problems like acne and blemishes.
Another benefit of exfoliation is that it helps your skin care products penetrate deep into your skin, thus making your makeup appear more radiant.
To decrease the size of your pores and prevent clogging due to the buildup of excess sebum, you must exfoliate your skin once a week if you have dry skin, or twice a week if your skin is oily. Avoid overexfoliating, as it can rob your skin of its natural oils and leave it red and irritated.
When exfoliating, use gentle motions and do not scrub your skin harshly.