Hot weather might give you a golden glow but, mixed with humidity, it can also bring around dermatological nightmares: say hello to the dreaded – and painful – clogged pores. 

We might be champions of nature at Oriflame but even we find this season a battle. 

Despite the sticky sweats (and in the spirit of summer serenity) Oriflame’s Principal Scientist expert David Jameson has pulled together a cheat sheet on understanding and taming these traumas. From skin-hacks to miracle ingredients and must-have products, maintaining your natural cool – and glow – starts here. 

What are clogged pores and what do they look like?

“There are two types of pores: ones that arise around sweat glands and those that come from hair follicles. It is these latter, visible pores that we talk about when we talk about clogged pores. These pores produce an oily substance called sebum, a complex mixture of fatty acids, triglycerides and proteins that’s delivered to the surface of the skin to keep it smooth and moisturised. These can become blocked, leaving a more pronounced appearance.”

What causes them?

“Pores become clogged due to the accumulation of excess sebum, as well as dead skin cells and other impurities. When open to air, the mixture can oxidise and create what we know as ‘blackheads’, or alternatively, ‘whiteheads’ when this mixture is not directly open to air. Blemishes and breakouts may also occur due to the presence of bacteria. Sebum production levels often increase during the summer months, or alternatively, over-cleansing can cause the sebaceous gland to overcompensate and go into overdrive.”

How do you stop them from forming, or make them go away?

“Pores are an essential component required for the normal functioning of the skin, so whilst we can’t make them disappear completely, we can help to reduce their appearance. By directly unclogging pores and limiting their potential formation, we can make them less visible. Here are 5 key tips for beating them”

1. Cleanse, without over-cleansing

“Cleansing is a huge part of any skincare regime, making it is important to cleanse and remove the daily dirt in order to prepare the skin for further products. For those who experience clogged pores regularly, facial cleansing is particularly important to rid excess sebum and limit any potential build-up. Despite this, harsher cleansers often strip away the moisture at the skin’s surface, causing the skin to compensate and produce excess sebum. During hot weather, you can prevent and still protect the skin barrier by using a more gentle cleanser.”

Oriflame recommends

NovAge Supreme Cleansing Gel – Cleanse, but not over cleanse. That is the mantra. This product gently cleanses without drying the skin. In fact, its clinically proven to effectively cleanse the skin, as well as hydrate and maintain the skin’s protective barrier. Formulated with an optimally balanced blend of cleansing, moisturising and soothing technologies with Vitamin E. 

2. Exfoliate

“Whilst cleansing can help to remove dead or excess skin cells from the skin’s surface, exfoliating once or twice a week is an extremely effective way of removing those that are more persistent. What’s more, exfoliation naturally reduces the accumulation of dead surface cells as it helps to stimulate the skin’s own renewal process. 

When it comes to choosing an exfoliator, there are a number of options available. Exfoliators can be physical such as hydrated silica or almond shell granules which scrub away dead skin cells, or chemical such as lactic or glycolic acid which break down the bonds between outer skin cells and promote the exfoliation of the duller skin layers, letting the renewed surface shine through.”

Oriflame recommends

Optimals Exfoliating Face Scrub – This is a creamy-textured exfoliating facial cleanser formulated with a Swedish natural ingredient blend of Apple Extract and Rowan Berry.

Containing almond shell particles and hydrated silica, this product is designed to physically remove dirt, oil, make-up, as well as dead skin cells from the surface of the skin – thus lessening the factors that can lead to pores clogging.

NovAge Skin Renewing Peel – This chemical exfoliation product is all about skin renewal,. Formulated with a blend of alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids (glycolic and salicylic acid), it helps to chemically break the bonds that prevent dead skin cells shedding from the surface. What’s more, the product has been clinically proven to increase cellular regeneration. 

3. Mask it

“Masks are ideal to introduce into your skincare routine for additional support in the fight against clogged pores and oily skin. In particular, clay masks containing Kaolin and Charcoal help to absorb excess sebum if necessary. As with exfoliation, applying 1-2 times a week delivers optimal results.”

Oriflame recommends

Pure Skin Blackhead Clearing Mask – A clay mask formulated with bentonite and kaolin, this product helps to clear blackheads, drawing out dirt and oil to help purify pores and mattify the skin. The clays help to absorb excess sebum, while salicylic acid targets bacteria and exfoliates deep within the pores to help minimise blockages. 

4. Keep excess sebum under control 

“To keep sebum levels balanced throughout the day keep a light textured product on hand to moisturise and mattify the skin. Look for ingredients such as Tapioca Starch which is perfect for striking harmony.

Don’t be afraid to hydrate the skin. Leaving it un-moisturised can provoke excess sebum production and counteract what you are trying to achieve.”

Oriflame recommends

Optimals Hydra Matte Balancing Day Fluid – Provides the perfect blend of mattifying oil absorption and moisturising properties. Delivered as a light and fluid emulsion it effectively mattifies skin, reduces skin oiliness and leaves your skin feeling hydrated, even in heatwave season. 

5. Always be mindful of your skin type

“Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits all product. You have to use the ones that are right for you. If you find yourself prone to excess sebum and clogged pores, make sure to look for skincare products that are non-comedogenic – that is to say, formulated to avoid blocking pores. If you have oily skin for example, look for lighter textured products, that contain minimal or no oils at all.”  

What ingredients are best for combatting clogged pores?

Some of the top ingredients to look out for. Be mindful that they can take around 24 hours to have an effect: 

• BHA (Salicylic acid)

• AHAs (Glycolic acid, Lactic acid)

• Physical exfoliants (e.g. almond shell powder, hydrated silica etc.)

• Clays (Kaolin)

• Mattifying ingredients (e.g. Tapioca starch, Distarch phosphate etc.)