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What really causes clogged pores?

The last thing you should do is to squeeze out whatever is in your pores. “Trying to extract them at home can lead to hyperpigmentation, permanent scarring, and additional breakouts,” esthetician Annet King tells Glamour. Instead, try double cleansing, and stock up on products with ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, activated charcoal, and a white clay known as kaolin. Pore strips, which have a fan following, are fine but dermatologists tell Glamour that the strips are only a short-term, temporary fix.

Guanche suggests visiting a dermatologist for chemical exfoliation and extraction to get rid of whatever junk your pores happen to be holding. She also recommends exfoliators with ingredients like AHA (glycolic and lactic acid) as well as BHAs (salicylic acid), while retinol can help with your skin’s turnover. Because these chemical compounds can be found in many creams and lotions today, you’ll only need to find a brand and routine that works for you.

The two ingredients Healthline cautions against using on your pores are baking soda and lemon juice because both ingredients can dry out and irritate your skin. Baking soda can even strip your skin of its natural barrier, exposing it to environmental irritants.

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