A description of my skin issues: I had a very oily T-zone with large, blocked pores. This problem was actually worsening with age. As a teenager, the large, blocked pores were just on my nose. Over the decades the problem spread all over my T-zone. I absolutely obsessed about this because nothing seemed to work and I just felt gross. I have benefitted a lot from what I have read on this board and others and I wanted to share.
Here is what I have learned along the way:
-This kind of skin needs acid. You need a skin wash that is either at normal skin Ph (5.5) or preferably lower than that.
-You need to use AHAs, BHAs, and benzoyl peroxide. They have different actions and we need them in combination.
-You need MAJOR exfoliation. In addition to the acid exfoliants above, you need manual exfoliation. I use the clarisonic, but scrubs are a good option too.
-You need to get out what is embedded in the pore now. No product will take care of an existing blocked pore. That material is like hardened wax and nothing can break it up. If you are not comfortable doing the extractions yourself, getting regular facials (maybe even weekly in the beginning) is crucial. The topical treatments can't work until they have a relatively open environment.
-You absolutely must commit to 100% consistency for weeks to allow this to work. One missed day can undo weeks or months of progress.
Here is what I do:
-wash with a low Ph facewash in the shower. I use Neutrogena Oil Free and do that as my last shower step to make sure that no shampoo or conditioner is left on face. I make sure the shower really rinses everything off - don't skimp on that.
-I use a Ph balanced 3% BHA product on my affected areas. I use makeup artist's choice formulation.
-After a few minutes, I follow that with a 15% AHA product on the affected areas. I use makeup artist's choice Gly-luronic serum.
-After another few minutes I follow that with 10% benzoyl peroxide. I use clearasil.
-When everything is dry, apply sunscreen. This part is hard because you need sunscreen, but it can be gloppy and remove everything you just did. I use various neutrogena sunscreens, but I am careful around my nose in particular and apply sparingly there.
-I use the Erno Laszlo wash method. You can google for details, but basically it is filling your sink with hot water, lathering your face (with the acidic facewash and/or your manual exfoliation method), splashing your face 30 times with the now sudsy water in the sink, and lastly splash face 10 more times with hot water from the tap. If you have never followed this method, try it one time. It makes a difference.
-I then repeat all the product steps from above.
Occassionally (when you have the time and inclination):
-I think that the oil wash method can be beneficial particularly in the beginning when the goal is to clear out the existing blocking material. Google oil cleansing method and experiment with what works for you. I use grapeseed oil, apply to my face for a few minutes and then follow the Laszlo washing method.
-Mud masks are also a good product to help reduce oil so that the topical treatments penetrate better.
I really believe that if you follow the basic protocol of acid based facewash, manual exfoliation, extraction, BHAs, AHA, and benzoyl peroxide with complete consistency you will have success. The key is finding the right formulations that work for you and not being discouraged by setbacks. For instance, some people will find that they need to gradually work up to their skin tolerating the necessary concentrations of the acids or BP. That is fine, start slow. If your skin gets sensitive, back off a bit, but do not stop altogether. Sometimes you might need to skip the complete AM process to allow your skin a brief break, for instance.
Also, women: As hard as it is, resist putting any makeup over blocked pores. The pores are unsightly, but the makeup just compounds the problem. If you absolutely must cover them, use loose powder only and apply with a brush.
Every morning, I wake up and look in the mirror and can not believe how clear and fine my pores are. It is hard for me to believe. I keep thinking something bad will happen overnight and I will awaken to a return of blackheads, but after months of perfect (yes, perfect!) skin, I feel confident sharing my process with you all.
Edited by clearpores, 16 April 2012 - 08:10 AM.