These Powerful Pore-Cleansing Products Are The Key To Clearer, Smoother Skin


Clogged pores are one of those skin conditions that just about everyone has to deal with. Sometimes, they manifest in the form of acne; in other cases, blackheads. And while the bad news is that it's not really possible to shrink your pores without the help of an expensive in-office treatment, you can use certain skin care products to (temporarily) reduce their appearance. Whether in the form of a toner, a serum, a peel, or a mask, the best pore cleansers will use exfoliating acids to work their skin-resurfacing, decongesting magic. Look for products that contain salicylic acid in particular — a BHA that's known for its ability to dig deep into pores to dissolve dead skin cells and break down sebum, (aka, the things that are clogging your pores) — or glycolic and lactic acids, two AHAs that promote clearer skin thanks to their exfoliating and resurfacing properties.

Ahead, you'll find give great products that work to deep-clean your pores using the aforementioned acids. Each one varies in terms of formula and product-type, so whether you're looking for a once-weekly treatment or a daily toner, your perfect pore-cleansing match is just a click away.

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The Best Pore-Cleansing Face Wash

You can't do much better than this exfoliating cleanser from CeraVe, especially when you consider its under-$10 price tag. Despite containing salicylic acid (which, as previously mentioned, works to deep-clean pores), it's a pretty gentle, mild cleanser that should work for most skin types. That's thanks to its fragrance-free, sulfate-free formula, which is enriched with barrier-strengthening ceramides to counteract salicylic acid's potentially drying effects. Other noteworthy ingredients include niacinamide, vitamin D, and hyaluronic acid for more skin-smoothing and moisturizing benefits.

Pro tip: If you're dealing with clogged pores and breakouts on your body, CeraVe also makes a great salicylic acid body wash.


The Best Pore-Cleansing Toner

Another way to keep your pores clear is by using an exfoliating toner, like this one, post-cleansing. Though it may seem obvious, keeping your skin clean is one of the best preventive measures you can take to prevent clogged pores and breakouts, and often, even after cleansing, there's still makeup and residue left on our skin — which is where toners come in to complete the process. But La Roche-Posay's Effaclar toner thing takes things up a notch with its salicylic and glycolic acid-infused formula, which work together to smooth, exfoliate, and decongest skin. Plus, since it only contains .5% salicylic acid and no fragrance, it's suitable for most skin types.


The Best Pore-Cleansing Serum

If you prefer to do your exfoliating with a serum, this pick from Caudalie's Vinopure line is an excellent choice. The formula uses naturally derived salicylic acid to tighten and de-clog pores, while antioxidant-rich grape seed polyphenols do double-duty to protect skin from environmental aggressors and prevent the sebum in your pores from oxidizing (aka, turning into blackheads).

Other highlights: It has a lightweight, gel-like texture that's non-greasy and refreshing, it doesn't contain any synthetic fragrance (in fact, it's made of 98% naturally derived ingredients), and it even won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2018. With continued use, expect clear, radiant skin.


The Best Pore-Clearing Gel

Falling somewhere between a toner and a serum, the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant is a cult-favorite within the beauty industry for its ability to drastically reduce the appearance of blackheads and congested pores. The BHA in question is salicylic acid, while skin-soothing antioxidants, like green tea and willow herb, help promote a clearer, more even-looking complexion. Like all Paula's Choice products, this exfoliant is fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and formulated without any unnecessary "filler" ingredients.


The Best Pore-Cleansing Mask

Get two products for the price of one with this CANE + AUSTIN Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser. It uses 10% glycolic acid (derived from cane sugar) to exfoliate, brighten, and refine skin, while green algae, which gives the formula its green color, offers soothing and redness-reducing benefits. In addition to functioning as a daily face wash, you can leave it on for up to 10 minutes to use it as a mask.


The Best Pore-Clearing Pads

One last pore-clearing method to consider: peel pads. Whether you use them a few times a week or only when you travel, these Bliss That’s Incredi-peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads offer a convenient, fuss-free way to give your skin a quick exfoliating session. In addition to 10% glycolic acid, they contain several other key ingredients for promoting smoother, clearer skin, including witch hazel, a natural astringent that has toning and pore-tightening properties; licorice root extract and vitamin E, which are rich in antioxidants; and skin-soothers like glycerin and calendula.