Clogged Pores - What You Need to Know
Now, last week we talked about how comedogenic oils can clog your pores. Let's get real about how that affects your skin. Clogged pores = acne. But instead of just trying to treat it after the fact, let's look at ways to prevent it from happening in the first place!
A clogged pore (AKA a comedo, which is just the technical name for a blackhead or whitehead) is caused by inflammation in your skin. And when your pores are clogged, it leads to the development of acne, which happens when your sebaceous glands start secreting oil. This usually happens during puberty and is often triggered by hormones. But even dead skin cells can cause your pores to clog. Whoa, holy science, Batman!
And here's the thing: even after that pimple is gone and the acne is cleared up, clogged pores can still mess with your skin! If you're constantly dealing with acne, your pores can get dilated, leading to even more clogging and acne. Oily skin is already a breeding ground for bacteria, and adding comedogenic oils just makes it worse and slows down the process of clearing things up. It's important to treat clogged pores and acne, because if you don't, severe acne can lead to scarring.
If you've got oily skin, products that contain oils along with other non-comedogenic ingredients can be good for you. But you'll want to avoid oils that are known to clog pores, like coconut oil and wheat germ oil, as well as others that are high in oleic fatty acids. On the other hand, oils like grape seed oil, rosehip, evening primrose, jojoba, and others that are high in linoleic fatty acids are good choices if you've got oily skin. What if you have dry or combination skin? Should you even use oils?! Let's dive into that!
Using the Comedogenic Scale to Find the Best Butters and Oils for Your Skin
Now, if you want to know which ingredients on the comedogenic scale are going to work for you without a doubt, you need to know your skin type. There are five main skin types: normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination.
Now, a lot of this is subjective, since there isn't really a scientific classification of skin types. It's all based on observation and personal evaluation. But with so many different types and needs out there, it's important to try out different things and see what your skin likes. Give each product at least a month to see how your skin reacts. That way, you'll have a better idea of what works for you.
If you've got normal skin, you're in luck. It's not too dry or too oily, and your pores are probably pretty small. Your skin isn't shiny or flaky and doesn't tend to crack. You probably don't have a ton of wrinkles or lines either.
When it comes to normal skin, you want to use products that won't strip away your natural oils, but will hydrate your skin to help reduce lines and wrinkles. Cleansers should clean effectively without any harsh chemicals. The key is to maintain your skin's balance and keep it hydrated with lightweight products. An oil balanced in oleic and linoleic fatty acids is ideal.
If you've got dry skin, you know the struggle is real. Your skin probably feels tight and might be scaly or have patches that are flaky. And your pores are probably pretty much invisible. There are a ton of factors that can cause dry skin, from genetics to how much sebum your skin produces.
But no matter what's causing it, you've gotta moisturize regularly if you've got dry skin. You'll also want to avoid harsh cleansers, keep your showers short and not too hot, use a humidifier at home, and look for products with humectants like hyaluronic acid, which is like a magnet for moisture on your skin.
For dry skin, oils that are high in oleic acid can help reduce inflammation. Some good options include olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, hazelnut oil, olive oil, moringa oil, neem oil, perilla oil, pistachio oil, and argan oil. And if your skin is super duper dry, shea, mango, cocoa, and kokum butter are worth a try.
If you've got oily skin, chances are you're dealing with a shiny face and possibly some serious acne breakouts. Oily skin can be genetic, or it might be due to hormonal changes. You're also probably producing a ton of sebum, which is usually triggered by hormones. And unfortunately, those with oily skin are more prone to acne. But on the bright side, you're less likely to get wrinkles and your skin will age more slowly. Who would have thought, right?
Even though it might seem counterintuitive, if you've got oily skin, you still need to use a moisturizer. Otherwise, your skin might start producing even more sebum, which could make your acne worse. Oils that are high in linoleic acid are your best bet for oily skin.
If you've got sensitive skin, you're probably no stranger to redness, itching, burning, and dryness. And you might also deal with rosacea and contact dermatitis. To keep your sensitive skin happy, you'll want to avoid common irritants like sulfates in shampoo and soap, products with strong fragrances, and harsh acids. (shameless plug -- my handcrafted soaps never contain these!)
Pure oils can be great for sensitive skin, since there aren't any additives or fragrances to deal with. For dry sensitive skin, you might try almond oil, black currant seed oil, marula oil, papaya seed oil, peach kernel oil, or tamanu oil. And if you've got oily sensitive skin, you might want to give, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, meadowfoam seed oil, or watermelon seed oil a try.
If you've got combination skin, you know the struggle of having dry, flaky skin in some areas and oily skin in others. This was me. This is probably the most common skin type, and it can be tough to find a single moisturizer that works for you. You might need to use two different types, one for your oily areas and one for the dry, flaky spots. And if you've got combination skin, be sure to exfoliate once a week to keep your pores clear.
To keep combination skin happy, you'll want to use oils with properties that address both dry and oily skin. Some good options include apricot kernel oil, black cumin seed oil, black raspberry seed oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, moringa oil, pecan oil, prickly pear oil, rice bran oil, and argan oil. Jojoba oil is also a great choice for all skin types, as it reduces inflammation, helps to clear clogged pores, and works to reduce sebum production.
Put Your Comedogenic Scale Knowledge to Work
So, there you have it! Now you know all about the comedogenic scale and how it can help you choose skincare products that won't clog your pores and give you acne. Keep this information in mind when picking out the best oils for you, and you'll be on your way to happy, healthy skin! Remember to exfoliate once a week, always use clean hands and brushes when applying makeup, remove makeup before bed, and BE KIND to yourself on your skincare journey!
Need help finding a quality oil? Check out some of my personal favorites:
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