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Clogged pores can cause acne in both teenagers and adults. In addition to inflammation, excess oil and bacteria, clogged pores add to the risk of developing pustules that lead to unsightly pimples and permanent scarring. Sebum, the oil produced by skin to prevent dryness, is heaviest during hormonal spikes in adolescence and menopause. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you can't completely control oil production, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of clogged pores and end up with cleaner, clearer skin.

Limit the number of times you wash your face. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, extensive washing actually can increase the chance of developing acne by irritating the skin and causing the pores to shut down and become clogged. Wash no more than twice a day, once in the morning and once at night to remove dirt and bacteria.

Use a mild cleanser and lukewarm water to clean your face and remove excess oil and dirt. Avoid scrubbing, and splash on the water to rinse. If you have oily hair, keep it off your face and wash it daily to reduce the amount of oil that rubs off onto your face.

Wipe your face, chin and around your mouth when you eat greasy foods. The oil in the foods does not cause acne through your digestive system, but the oil residue left on your face can settle into pores and clog them. Clean your hands after eating oily foods so you don't transfer oil to your face and hair.

Use cosmetics, sunscreen and other lotions that are labeled oil-free. Use products with labels that say "noncomedogenic" or "non-acnegenic," which means they are made with no oily ingredients.

Treat excessively oily skin with products that contain benzoyl peroxide. This active ingredient in popular acne medications is one of the most effective treatments to cut down on excess oil and prevent clogged pores, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Try over-the-counter products that contain salicylic acid to prevent clogged pores that lead to whiteheads and blackheads. The chemical slows down old skin shedding that tends to clog pores.


Dress in loose-fitting clothing and avoid wearing tight hats when you expect to be sweating. Clothes and hats can trap sweat that carries bacteria and clogs up your pores. Shower after exercising or playing sports to remove excess sweat that has dried on your skin.


Acne medications can cause side effects that range from stinging and burning to redness and excessively dry skin. Acne medications are especially harmful to sensitive skin, so test any new product on a small area of skin the first time you use it.