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Q: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads. ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads.
Category: Health > Beauty
Asked by: song2-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 12 Dec 2005 14:04 PST
Expires: 11 Jan 2006 14:04 PST
Question ID: 604957
I am female, with dark skin. I have difficulty with blocked pores. In
particular, I have one on my chest that is very big, and seems to be
very deep. Attempts at squeezing them are futile - nothing can be

I have tried lots of things, including off-the-shelf acne treatments,
suction devices, and even trying to pry out the contents with a
sterile needle. I'm unwilling to try dermabrasion in case it leaves
white patches, but did visit a practictioner
who offered a 'herbal' treatment that seemed to lift a layer of skin -
it looked like sunburn! - with no improvement.

Starting the oral contraceptive did help my other problems, but the
big blocked pores remain.

These stubborn pores are a real problem. What can be done to properly shift them?
Subject: Re: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads.
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 12 Dec 2005 23:30 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Hello Song2,

   I?m not sure you are referring to blackheads, whiteheads, or very
large pores, but I will cover all topics for you.

These are some excellent tips for all forms of acne:

Do see a dermatologist to remove blackheads. They have the tools and
the know?how to safely remove blackheads without causing scarring or
infection. If you have just a few blackheads, use a comedone
extractor, available at a beauty supply store. Using your fingers to
squeeze them out can spread bacteria and can cause scarring. It's best
to remove blackheads after a warm shower or bath, when your skin is
soft. And always disinfect any tools with rubbing alcohol before you
use them on your face.

Don't pick at dark skin. Picking can leave dark spots on the skin that
can take a while to fade away. It can also cause keloid scars.

Do wash your pillowcase every night and always use clean face towels
if you have acne?prone skin. Dirty towels and pillowcases can harbor
bacteria and germs that can make acne worse.

Don't pick, pop, squeeze, or otherwise mess with your skin. Squeezing
blemishes or whiteheads can lead to infection or scarring. It almost
always makes the acne you have worse. You should never tangle with a
whitehead as they'll go away on their own in a few days anyway. If you
have a pimple with a yellow, pus?filled center and you must pop it,
see How to Pop A Pimple ? (On the same page),,639404_643054,00.html

?? Do not pop, squeeze or pick at acne. This could increase the risk of
? Gently wash the face twice daily with mild soap and pat dry. Do not scrub.
Scrubbing irritates the skin
? Use "noncomedogenic" cosmetics and toiletries.
? Avoid things that aggravate acne such as grease or oils.
? Allow acne products enough time to work. With some treatments, it may take as
long as 8 weeks for a show improvement.
? Some acne products increase the skins? sensitivity to sunlight. Use protective
clothing and sunscreen.?

Large Pores

?Why do pores appear larger than life? Anything that attracts
attention or expands their natural architecture magnifies their
appearance. These can be dealt with. However, the closer you look in
the mirror, the larger those pores are going to appear. If you have a
habit of examining your skin in the magnifying side of your beauty
mirror, perhaps it isn?t really your best friend. So put it aside and
address these factors that really do play havoc with your pores.?

Blackheads and enlarged pores often go hand-in-hand. Blackheads can
either expand pores or simply focus attention on them. But pores can
appear larger than life for many reasons, blackheads being but one of

This site goes on to recommend many of the products I have posted
further along in the answer.

?Large pores are a concern for many women. Although you cannot change
your pore size, you can minimize or "tighten" the skin, making pores
appear smaller.
Because pores often appear larger when oil and dirt get trapped in
them, the first step is to keep the area clean. Daily cleansing and
toning are a must. A clay mask once a week will also help to deeply
cleanse and tighten the skin (use the time to "think" your pores

The good news is skin-care companies are getting the message.
Neutrogena has a Pore Refining Line with alpha hydroxy acids and
Retinol to even and smooth the skin. Particularly exciting is their
Pore Refining Mattifier, which is used in place of your foundation or
under it. The Mattifier utilizes silicone to absorb oil and control
shine and will act as a foundation primer -- filling in uneven skin.?,,284485_293192,00.html

?Pores are tiny openings in the skin through which hair follicles
emerge. On certain areas of the body, such as the nose or central
portion of the face, the pores are more prominent. This is because the
sebaceous glands surrounding the hair follicle are larger, producing
more oil. Often the pores get clogged with dead skin cells making them
appear more prominent.

A pore's size can be shrunk but only temporarily. Products that
contain alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic) or Retin-A help unclog pores
and can control oil and sebum production. Regular exfoliation will
help loosen dirt and dead skin from clogged pores. The new
pore-cleansing strips currently on the market can also temporarily
make pores appear smaller, but they are not a deep treatment; they
remove only the top of whatever's plugging the pores. A consistent and
good home skin care regimen is your best remedy to temporarily reduce
the size of large and visible pores on your face. Consult your skin
care professional for a program that works for you and fits your daily
activities, environment and lifestyle.?

?Large pores, unfortunately, are genetic, but in most cases pores
aren?t as ?large? as you think. But for those who do have them, they
are often a source of worry, so nzgirl has decided it?s time to
liberate yourself from your pore problems??

There are a few other ways to reduce the appearance of your pores. We
recommend that you?
- Eat plenty of fresh fish, vegetables and fruit ? especially berries and melon.
- Reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet. Choose ?good
fats? like avocado over saturated fats.
- Swap your usual moisturiser for one specifically designed for
minimising the appearance of pores. I?ve been using Neutrogena?s Pore
Refining Cream for 3 months and the large pores around my nose have
definitely become less noticeable.?

Products and Treatments:

Retin-A (tretinoin, a form of vitamin A)
??helps to unblock pores, so that the skins natural oil producing
glands can function normally. In addition, tretinoin increases the
turnover of the skin cells, which aids the natural exfoliation of the
outer layers of skin. This also helps to unblock pores and decrease
the formation of blackheads (comedones) and spots. It may take six to
eight weeks before definite beneficial effects on the skin can be
seen.?  Please read the warnings on this page as to the indications
and contraindications of this product.

?There are many different treatments and combinations of treatments.
If a problem persists with the use of over-the-counter aids it is
probably a good idea to see a dermatologist. There are four kinds of
acne and it could be that a person is trying to treat the wrong kind;
a dermatologist can diagnosis which type of acne is occurring and
treat it properly. Benzoyl Peroxide will get after the bacteria that
is the initiator of acne. Further, research also shows that Benzoyl
Peroxide will get rid of the hair follicle of dead cells to prevent
further plugging of pores.

 Salicylic Acid will remain near the surface of the skin to clean out
pores and reduce the reaction from blackheads and whiteheads.
Proper skin care can be very subjective to an individual. Some people
have dry skin, others have oily skin, some have a reaction to soaps,
etc. It's best to use mild cleansers with lukewarm water. Really hot
water and harsh scrubbing are not necessary; in fact they can cause
more harm than good to the skin. As far as creams and lotions, stay
away from ones that leave a greasy film on your skin. It is important
to find a skin regimen that works for you and then stick to it--a
routine will help to keep your skin healthy.?

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's)
?Fruit acids don't dissolve the oil, nor do they stop the skin from
producing oil. Rather, they work on removing the top dead layer of
skin, which is a combination of stale oil and dead, dry cells. This
removal takes away the excessive oils without stripping the body of
its natural moisture. Moreover, the removal of this layer stimulates
the lower  skin levels  to produce a healthy, normal level of skin
growth. Fruit acids may help diminish obvious pores because this top
dead layer often becomes caught in the follicle, stretching the
opening. By keeping the pores free of unwanted material, the pores can
shrink in size.

The use of fruit acids for oily skin will refine and brighten the
complexion, making it look soft, less oily, and smoother. One final
bonus is the effect on water balance. All skin needs moisture--whether
it be normal, dry, or oily. In the traditional treatment of oily skin
we remove the moisture when we remove the oil. Fruit acids stimulate
the skin to produce natural moisturizing factor stimulated by a fruit
acid holds a thousand times its weight in water. The result is a
natural plump texture without excessive oiliness.?

Glycolic creams are very highly recommended for blackheads removal. It
helps in skin peeling, effectively unclogging the pores and
smoothening the skin surface.?

When looking for an product containing AHA, keep in mind that it may
go by the following names:
  glycolic acid 
  lactic acid 
  malic acid 
  citric acid 
  glycolic acid + ammonium glycolate 
  alpha-hydroxyethanoic acid + ammonium alpha-hydroxyethanoate 
  alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid 
  alpha-hydroxycaprylic acid 
  hydroxycaprylic acid 
  mixed fruit acid 
  tri-alpha hydroxy fruit acids 
  triple fruit acid 
  sugar cane extract 
  alpha hydroxy and botanical complex 
  L-alpha hydroxy acid 
  glycomer in crosslinked fatty acids alpha nutrium (three AHAs)

Some AHA products:

?Go to your pharmacy and ask for a cleanser and toner that contain
salicylic acid, which loosens blackheads. You should be able to
purchase products over the counter. If this doesn't help, a
dermatologist can prescribe retinoids that are even more effective in
unblocking pores. Remember, never try to remove your own blackheads by
squeezing them. You may cause them to become inflamed and a pimple
will develop.?

Other products

?Benzoyl Peroxide, Resorcinol, Sulfur, Azelaic Acid, Alcohol, and
Acetic acid are some of the treatments discussed on this site.
Prescription remedies are covered as well.?

I recommend you visit a good dermatologist who can prescribe the
correct therapy for you.  Your doctor may recommend oral antibiotics
for a time, or even birth control pills, to be taken along with a
topical treatment.

?Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin
cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or a combination of all
three. Many of these treatments are referred to as comedolytics. A
comedolytic is a substance that loosens the plugs in clogged pores and
lets the pores open. Most common active ingredients in these
preparations are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol, and
sulfur, either alone or in combination.

There is a seemingly never-ending array of OTC acne treatments with
more being offered every day. The most recent products to enter the
market include body washes, facial cloths, and acne patches. There are
lotions, gels, creams and soaps, which may contain moisturizers and
other ingredients helpful, or not. Each works a little differently.?

?Blackheads are not caused by dirt on the surface of the skin, and oil
on the surface of the skin usually does no harm. But it is important
for a person to wash their face regularly with any basic soap. There
is no need to buy special soaps, and harsh abrasives should be
avoided. Scrubbing can aggravate acne by forcing oils back into the
skin tissue. Picking or squeezing blackheads is also not advised. A
blackhead can be squeezed back into the pore, leading only to an
infection of the pore, showing itself as a "zit". A person should
never pick a pimple unless there is a head on the pimple or they can
see pus, and they have washed their hands thoroughly. Any pus should
be gently pushed out rather than forced out. The pimple can be
punctured with a sterilized needle if it needs to be, rather than just
pressed on. Squeezing a pimple until it bleeds can result in scars. It
is also advised that a person keep their hair clean, and away from any
area where they are experiencing problems. In other words, don't cover
up acne by wearing bangs.

 Mild acne can also be controlled with a topical antibiotic or Benzoyl
Peroxide, which is a peeling agent that acts to unblock the blackhead.
There are many treatments available to people who suffer from more
severe acne, ranging from oral antibiotics to hormone treatment.

Blackheads are caused by partially blocked pores. The "black"
appearance of them is not caused by dirt, but by the oxidising effect
of air on the sebum (oil) in a blocked pore and the melanin pigment
from the dead skin cells. The best way to remove blackheads is to
remove the cause of them -- excessive sebum (oil) and dead skin cells.
Use only products made with natural ingredients that are not too
astringent. Harsh products can strip the skin of oil, causing it to
produce more sebum which leads to more blocked pores. Don't be afraid
of using cleansing products containing natural oils, such as jojoba or
coconut oil to cleanse the skin. These oils are close to our natural
oils, so they don't block the pores.?

?Here are ways to loosen the blackheads: 
1. Steaming the Pores
Steaming can be done as often as twice a week but for no longer than
10 minutes at a time. This is a great way to clean out pores and
loosen blackheads.
2. Combine 1/4 cup boiling water with one teaspoon of Epsom salt and
three drops of iodine.
Let mixture cool until it's comfortable to the touch. 
Saturate a cotton ball with this mixture and dab on blackheads. 
This will allow them to loosen so they can be easily squeezed with a gauze pad.
3. Combine equal parts baking soda and water in your hand and rub
gently on your skin for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with warm water.?

Professional Treatments:
?If the acne does not respond to home and over-the-counter treatments
after two months, it is a good idea to see a dermatologist before the
condition produces scarring and/or takes an emotional toll.
Dermatologists have numerous prescription medications and procedures
  Retinoic acids.
   Available as creams and lotions, these vitamin A acids can help
unblock pores and reduce the skin's bacteria.
  Topical antibacterials or antibiotics.
   These creams and lotions can help reduce acne inflammation and skin bacteria.
  Oral antibiotics.
   Though not usually the first course of treatment, oral antibiotics
such as tetracycline are often used to help reduce the inflammation of
  Birth control pills.
   Women who use oral contraceptives may notice that their acne
improves significantly. In fact, the FDA has approved one birth
control pill specifically for acne treatment.
   For severe acne that does not respond to other treatments, your
dermatologist may prescribe isotretinoin. This medication must be used
with care, however, since it can cause birth defects.
   It is never a good idea to remove blackheads or whiteheads (both
called comedones) or pimples on your own. A dermatologist has the
proper equipment to extract them without leaving scars.?

Additional Information:

Here is a home remedy to try:

This book claims to clear skin in 6 weeks!

To summarize, follow the tips given above, eat a healthy and balanced
diet, exercise, and drink lots of water. DON?T pick at the blackheads
or use a needle (not even a sterilized one!). Picking and digging can
lead to permanent scarring.

From my research it appears that large pores are a permanent fixture
for some of us. (Sorry) Minimizing the appearance may be all we can
do, but please see a dermatologist to find out if there is something
that can be done for your individual case.

Whatever treatment you select, give it time - keep at it for at least
six months before trying another. (Changing your pillowcase every
night can really help!)

I wish you the best!

If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an Answer
Clarification. I will be happy to assist you further, before you rate
this answer.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Large pores + treatment
Large pores + blackheads + treatment
Acne + treatment
AHA + large pores

Request for Answer Clarification by song2-ga on 16 Dec 2005 03:18 PST
I have tried a lot of the over-the-counter treatments like the ones you mention. 

I no longer have acne since starting the oral contraceptive, but I
have 2 big stubborn blocked pores that have not responded to
conventional acne treatments. I hesitate to call them blackheads,
since nothing at all can be expressed from them!

Are there any ways to treat or remove such stubborn blocked pores?

Clarification of Answer by crabcakes-ga on 16 Dec 2005 08:56 PST
Hello Song2,

   If none of the suggested products worked on the small number of
clogged pores  you mention, I urge you to see a good dermatologist.

   We can't diagnose online of course, but if yo uhave just a few
clogged pores, it's possible they are not blackheads at all. Since
these "pores" do not express any contents, they may be raised moles
(nevi) ,tumors, skin tags, small warts, or some other skin growth.
Only a dermatologist can determine what you have and take appropriate
action. I would not attempt to pick or poke these "pores" as you risk
scarring and infection and possibly spreading them (if they are

Here is a picture of raised moles -- Not all look the same, varying in
size and color, of course.

Skin tag

Skin growths

Please see a good dermatologist. 

Sincerely, Crabcakes
song2-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
Too much generic info. Not really tailored to my question.

Subject: Re: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads.
From: demeter57-ga on 14 Feb 2006 09:30 PST
Using a natural scrub will help loosen and wash away skin cells that
are "stuck" on your skin. The sebum (oil) of our bodies loosens and a
deeper cleaning occurs. I have tried Five Star Nights scrub and love

If nothing comes out - it could have been a cyst and not a "pore" at
all. I found this out by visiting my dermatologist.
Subject: Re: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads.
From: song2-ga on 28 Feb 2006 14:05 PST
Thank you for your advice. I've seen a dermatologist, who confirms
it's not a mole or skin tag - just a really deep blackhead. Using
salicylic acid has loosened it a bit, and I have been able to squeeze
some of it out. Yuck.

Any further advice on how to clear this for good would be gratefully appreciated.
Subject: Re: Unblocking stubborn blocked pores / blackheads.
From: simplysoo-ga on 19 Apr 2006 15:32 PDT
I'm no professional, but I have similiar problems. The blackheads on
my nose are deeply embedded in the pores. There are two products out
there that have worked for me: ZAPYZYT and PROACTIVE. I'm not
advertising any products (my background is engineering). I just know
that the products work for the type of blackhead condition that I

The ZAPYZYT ointment takes about a couple days to work. You'll feel
your pores and skin starting to itch though. It's the benzoyl peroxide
that causes the annoyance. However, it works. You can pick it up at a
Walmart or local convenience store (or you should!).

PROACTIVE works due to the same concept. The repairing lotion has
benzoyl peroxide in it, which appears to dissolve the blackhead in its
place (i said appears... i'm no doctor).

Well, I hope that one of these products help you. I recommend ZAPYZYT
first, since it's easier to get and less expensive (and less of an
effort to get your hands on).

If you decide to try it, let me know how it works out for you.

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