Thankfully, we're here to help you by laying out a buying guide to lead you in choosing the best face washes for darkened pores, and to make your choice even easier, we have asked for some comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz! Aside from this, we are also going to include our top 10 recommended face washes for lightening dark pores.
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
This results in what is called the "strawberry nose" phenomenon, where your pores darken and become visible spots, usually on the nose, resembling a strawberry-like texture. When not addressed, the issue can worsen, and these blackheads can eventually turn into pimples.
Pores are small openings in the skin that release oil and sweat. When our pores are clogged, usually aggravated by hyperkeratinization and excess sebum production and it is exposed to the air, it turns brown to black. These so-called blackheads are medically referred to as open comedones, which are actually a non-inflammatory form of acne.
Overexposure to sun and aging are some common factors that lead to pores appearing larger than they should. As a result, pores appear darker as they become clogged with excess oil and debris, as well as reduced elasticity and reduction of collagen production brought about by aging.
Too much melanin pigment on the skin caused by the sun’s UV rays darkens the skin. This means that exposing the skin to harsh sunlight can consequently darken pores, too, more than necessary. This is why avoiding harsh sunlight is an important precautionary measure not just for avoiding dark pores but also for healthier skin.
The appearance of large pores can also be caused by high levels of sebum production, especially for people with oily or dry skin that causes unnecessary sebum secretion. Genetics also plays a big part in this, so if you're someone with naturally larger pores, you need to exert more effort in declogging them.
Enlarged pores are definitely a cosmetic concern amongst a lot of people. The thing about pores is they are absolutely normal! But the pathophysiology as to why they appear larger isn't completely understood.
Based on the journal by Lee, San Ju, et al., pores can appear more enlarged as a result of higher sebum excretion, decreased elasticity around the pores, and increased hair follicle volume. Most enlarged pores are on the nose and medial aspects of the cheeks and this can also be explained by higher rates of sebum excretion in the area.
Studies still need to be done in order to ascertain the direct correlation of UV radiation to the appearance of large pores. Definitely, avoiding the sun is key in preventing extrinsic aging, which includes loss of elasticity of the skin. It is possible that this loss of elasticity may contribute to the appearance of larger pores.
Zheng, et al. showed that a certain protein needed for elastic fiber assembly decreases with aging and photoaging which might contribute to age-related loss of dermal integrity and perifollicular structural support, which may lead to enlarged pores.
The effectiveness of facial washes in preventing dark pores depends on what caused them in the first place. With this, let's take a look at the recommended ingredients to help deal with specific types of origins of darkened pores.
Overproduction of sebum and leftover makeup are some of the most common causes of clogged pores. Once they oxidize, they become hard, giving you the appearance of dark pores. To remedy this, use facial washes formulated with either enzymes or clay.
Enzymes break down the keratin protein in the skin, which is responsible for bonding dead skin cells together. Without it, dead skin can gently be sloughed off. Meanwhile, clay and charcoal are great for preventing clogged pores as it absorbs excess oil and removes impurities.
Since various factors cause enlarged facial pores, it is useful to identify the cause so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. For oily facial skin caused by high sebum secretion, the most potent inhibitor of sebum production is isotretinoin. This, however, would require a complete work-up and close follow-up by your dermatologist.
For ingredients in facial washes, you can look for niacinamide which has been shown to regulate sebum production. Other options include comedolytics, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid, which are used to loosen the keratinocytes and “unclog” the pores. These, consequently, improve skin texture.
When skin loses elasticity, it tends to sag, which causes pores to open more than they should. In saying this, dry skin can also cause the skin to lose elasticity and, therefore, sag. To prevent this, use facial washes with moisturizing ingredients like vitamin B5 or panthenol., and soap bark extract.
This is because moisturizers help in firming or tightening the skin, which not only prevents dark pores but also maintains its supple and bouncy appearance. Many moisturizing ingredients great for sagging skin are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene, and aloe vera.
Another postulated cause of enlarged pores is the decreased elasticity of the skin, typically with increasing age. Ideally, sun protection is essential at every age and is a necessary addition to all other interventions against skin aging. In terms of the gold standard, I would still stick to topical retinoids, such as tretinoin to improve aging skin.
Aside from that, the use of moisturizers for mature skin shouldn't be underestimated. Maintaining the moisture content of the skin would help with mature skin - look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide. You can even look for a moisturizer that incorporates wrinkle-fighting retinol.
Antioxidant ingredients like vitamins C and E, and amino acids greatly help reduce darkened pores caused by UV rays. This is because they work by negating free radical damage and combating different types of UV damage. By adding these to your routine, you're giving your skin double ammunition to fight off both free radicals and harmful UV rays.
If you have dark spots and uneven skin tone, look for face washes that contain rucinol, or extracts of cactus, green apple, Centella Asiatica, chamomile, green tea, witch hazel, salicylic acid, apricot, licorice, and algae.
If we're after combating the UV rays, first and foremost, sunscreen! Sunscreen will not only keep your skin healthy and protected, but it is also the holy grail for preventing photoaging. For face washes, one ingredient to consider is Vitamin C (e.g. L-ascorbic acid) as it is a potent antioxidant and can help prevent photoaging.
Since face washes are directly applied to our skin, they should be safe. In saying this, you should always check for preservatives like parabens, along with chemical fragrances that may put your skin in harm’s way. This is important for those with sensitive skin as these ingredients may irritate and cause more harm than good.
When you have sensitive skin, it means that you have higher chances of reacting to a product and developing signs of inflammation - be it redness, flushing, stinging, acne-like eruptions.
In choosing a facial wash, it is important to test it out first to see if you will develop a reaction to the product. Also, make sure to wash any residue after using the product - this can also help reduce irritation.
Surfactants are components that allow proper separation between oil and water. While these compounds are great cleansers, some types of surfactants such as SLS or SLES (Sodium Laureth ether sulfate) have harsh elements that may damage the skin, stripping it of its natural moisture and hastening the skin's aging process.
This is why if you can't find a surfactant-free cleanser (which is very hard to do anyway), products with natural surfactants are the way to go. These natural surfactants are usually derived from plants such as coconut or palm oil, and sugar beets.
Unfortunately, surfactant-free washes are quite difficult to come by. Surfactants are key in washes as they help dirt and oil dissolve in water and wash away. The problem is surfactants are so good at their job but they're unable to distinguish the chemicals that should be removed from the chemicals that make up the skin, leaving the skin dry.
The well-known surfactants include sodium laurate, sodium cocoate, sodium lauryl sulfate - and these can be quite harsh to some people. Instead, you can opt to look for milder surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), especially in combination with cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), sodium cocoyl isethionate, alkyl sulfosuccinates, to name a few.
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Face Cleanser Extra White 5-in-1 Deep Clean Foam
Deeply Cleanses and Has 10X Brightening Power
Gentle Skin Cleanser
Fights 5 Symptoms of Sensitive Skin
Foaming Facial Cleanser
Gentle Formula That Eliminates Acne and Dark Spots
Namu Life Facial Jelly Wash
A Refreshing Jelly That Cleanses and Unclogs Pores
Soap Bark Face Cleanser
Achieve Softer and Bouncier Skin Naturally
Men Anti Oil + White Cooling Mud Foam
A Soothing Mud Foam That Draws Out Impurities and Oil
Green Tea Foam Cleanser
Naturally-Derived and Mild Facial Cleanser
Deep Clean Brightening Foaming Cleanser
Provides Bright and Glowing Skin for All Skin Types and pH Levels
Acne Removing Deep Cleanser
Clean and Moisturize the Skin With Organic Ingredients
Apricot Blemish Control Face Scrub
Salicylic Acid-Infused Hypoallergenic Scrub to Reduce Pores and Acne
Compared to other formulations, it has 10x the brightening intensity with the Pearl Whitening Complex powered by rucinol, which gives a smoothening effect. This lightweight foam is perfectly safe for all skin types since it is non-comedogenic, dermatologically tested, and does not thin out the skin.
Those with dry or sensitive skin are more prone to breakouts, so it is vital to find a facial cleanser that does not only wash the dirt away but also moisturizes. This dermatologically tested and gentle cleanser from Cetaphil is best for all skin types, especially sensitive skin, since it is fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of niacinamide, panthenol, and glycerin helps hydrate and maintain the natural moisture of the skin. These three ingredients are key in managing the five signs of sensitive skin, namely, dryness, irritation, roughness, toughness, and a weakened skin barrier.
The unique jelly texture is also very refreshing without drying or tightening the skin. Therefore it is perfect for everyday use, especially for oily skin, giving you a noticeably softer and smoother texture only after a few uses. Because of this, it has good value for money, which is great for those on a budget.
This is a great product for those who have dry or sagging skin because the main ingredients help retain the skin's moisture and bounce. Moreover, it's also suitable for sensitive skin since it's non-irritating, paraben-free, and does not contain any phthalates, petrolatum, and SLS.
This cleanser contains 1% niacinamide, which can help brighten your skin and even out skin tone. It also has 8% amino micellar technology, which gently cleanses your skin without stripping away its natural moisture. This ingredient makes it a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
Users even shared that regardless of their skin type or pH level, this product leaves their skin feeling deeply cleaned, refreshed, and hydrated. Additionally, they also stated that it helps to remove makeup and impurities, making it an effective cleanser that helps to improve the appearance of their skin.
User reviews have a lot of good things to say about this product, with most of them claiming that it made their skin smoother and less oily. They also said that its gel-like texture doesn't make their skin feel tight nor sting the face or eyes. This means that it can also work for those with sensitive skin.
We scoured the internet for the burning questions about darkened pores, and Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz answers them in the next sections.
Definitely, a consult with your board-certified dermatologist would be a good starting point. These "darkened pores" or "blackheads" at the end of the day are non-inflammatory forms of acne after all. A consult would do you good as your dermatologist can help you control these early on before they develop into full-grown pimples.
Usually, aside from the proper selection of a facial wash, topical retinoids would be my go-to for open comedones. Patients would also benefit from a glycolic or salicylic acid peel. Another option would be oral isotretinoin especially if the person not only has enlarged pores but also oily skin.
The sebaceous glands are most abundant in the pores on your face, back, chest, and groin area. Hormones may contribute to stimulating these oil glands to produce higher quantities of sebum. That’s why typically the pores on your face, most specifically those on your nose, forehead, and cheeks, tend to appear larger than on other areas of the body.
Always patch test before adding a new player to your skincare regimen. If you don't develop any reaction or signs of irritation, then good, but always start slow. Consider the other skincare products you already use.
Some products may cause your skin to be more sensitive or peel, so exfoliating while using these products may worsen dry skin or even cause acne breakouts.
Keeping our skin healthy not only makes us look good but also makes us feel good, which is why it's incredibly important to take care of it. To complete your skincare routine, check out our articles below for the best products.
Re-editor: Patricia Catimpo
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Nivea | Face Cleanser Extra White 5-in-1 Deep Clean Foam
No. 2: Cetaphil | Gentle Skin Cleanser
No. 3: CeraVe | Foaming Facial Cleanser
No. 4: Snailwhite | Namu Life Facial Jelly Wash
No. 5: Burt’s Bees | Soap Bark Face Cleanser
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