To start off this post, I would like to thank Fiddy Snails for her pore tightening tips.
I’ve been looking for a way to cleanse my pores and clear them from the hideous black spots because they make my nose and cheek look like they’re dotted by a black sharpie. I didn’t want to turn to manual blackhead extraction (ie. going for a facial or squeezing them out with my fingers/metal extractor tool) because they’re painful and would probably leave behind scars and marks. I’ve also often experienced flaking skin on the sides of my nose whenever I squeeze it too hard to remove the billions of blackheads there.
Turns out, I’ve been blindly waving my sword at an unknown enemy. With some research, I’ve come to realise that those pesky little black dots aren’t blackheads, but are known as sebaceous filaments (SFs). According to wikipedia, a SF is a collection of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle, which usually takes the form of a small hair-like strand. They usually have white or yellow color, are naturally occurring, and are not a sign of infection or any other ailment. They help to channel the flow of sebum within a given skin pore, allowing it to seep gradually to the surface.
Simply put, this means that there is no permanent method to purging these SFs from out faces. We can only remove them temporarily and they will come back rather quickly. So I’ve compiled a deep pore cleansing method one can do regularly (maybe once or twice a week) to maintain a clear and SF-free complexion:
1. Rinse your face
I usually just splash some water on and dry it off, but you can choose to use a low pH, water-based cleanser, especially if you feel that your face is dirty or grimy.
2. Apply AHA/BHA
You can choose to use a natural one or chemical one. Fiddy Snails recommended Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (You can read her review here). I used white vinegar on a cotton pad on my first try as it is said to be a natural AHA exfoliant. It stung a little at the start, especially near my eye and on my nose, and the smell was pretty strong (in a not-so-nice way). I might turn to Cosrx’s BHA toner the next time. Many people also recommend using Apple Cider Vinegar as a natural AHA.
Wait for 20-30 minutes for the AHA/BHA to penetrate into your pores and loosen the sebum, so that they are easier to cleanse later on.
3. Put on a clay mask
Do this step without washing off the AHA/BHA. I used Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask. Some other users recommend Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. I am thinking of trying Rosette Nature Blend Marine Clay Pack because it is paraben-free, affordable and easily available in Singapore.
Wait for as long as your clay mask instructions tell you to. (Note: Elizavecca’s clay mask does not have English instructions on it’s packaging, so I followed online instructions from other users. I applied it, left it on for 5 minutes, then massaged it on my face for another 5 minutes before rinsing it off.)
4. Oil Cleansing Method
Fiddy Snails recommends using a commercial oil-based cleanser, and other users rave about Banilla Co. Clean It Zero balm (which I may end up trying), but I am sticking to the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). This is labelled as a ‘cult’ method to cleanse your face, and I can attest that it truly works. Because oil is able to dissolve oil, you can actually use oil as a cleanser. I use a blend of grapeseed, olive, vitamin e and spiced lavender essential oil. You can check out this website to create your own customised blend for your unique skin, or simply use one oil. I would recommend grapeseed or argan oil because they are the least comedogenic oils you can find so they are suitable for even sensitive skin.
To do the OCM, simply apply a suitable amount of oil on your face and massage it in circular motions for 3-10 minutes (do not massage for too long or you may risk breaking your capillaries which is really nasty to deal with). After some time, you should start feeling the sebum coming out in the form of little ‘grits’, and I can’t tell you just how immensely satisfying that feeling is.
Most people recommend wiping it off gently mulitple times with a wash cloth, but personally, I just use a low pH water-based cleanser to get rid of the oil in one go. I consider it as the double cleansing method (as an excuse for my laziness haha).
5. Tone and Moisturise
If you did not do the double cleansing method like I did, you can skip this step because the OCM will leave behind a thin layer of oil on your face to act as a moisturiser. (I do not encourage this however, because it can cause breakouts if you do not wipe away the ‘dirty’ oil, especially if you use the OCM to remove makeup.) I use plain rosewater as my toner and Cosrx’s Snail Mucin Cream. Don’t forget your sunblock if you’re doing this in the day!
Aaaand that’s all there is to it! Touch your face – doesn’t it feel just so soft and smooth? I love how clean and soft and smooth my face feels after doing this pore cleansing method! I’m planning to do this once a week to keep those pesky SFs at bay.
What about you? How did you find this pore cleansing method? What products did you use? Do leave your thoughts and comments below!