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I have come here looking for help and advice. I'm in my early 20s, with skin that was always a bit of an issue. My pores are now filled with hard, black kind of stuff and I have very oily skin that responds badly to the cleaning products I have tried. I'd love to attack my skin with some aggressive cleansers that will hopefully get rid of that hard stuff in my pores and make it a bit less oily, but I have a feeling that this could be the worst thing to do. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thank you!

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Wait a sec, you're talking about blackheads here basically, aren't you? Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think every single person on Earth has those, and everyone has probably tried getting red of blackheads as well. I've made peace with mine. I do squeeze them out sometimes when I'm really bored or in front of the mirror anyway, but other than that... they are just kinda there. I do remember as a teen buying some kind of white strips for the nose that you used to put on there and then let it sit for a bit, and rip em off. OK, just Googled that and I think they are called pore strips. Maybe look into that???

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Yes, I'm lame, replying to myself and all that. So you also mentioned oily skin. You'll just want any cleanser designed for oily skin for that one. Harsh soaps can definitely make oily skin even oilier as your body thinks it needs to make up for the oil stripped off your skin, you know? You could also try using a toner. You may see that this actually makes your blackheads a bit better. Nothing to lose, yeah? Just give it a go!
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My advice to you is to start looking for products made for acne prone skin, even if you do not have acne.

Those are products that have salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and beta-hydroxy acid. Just read the ingredient list especially on face care products that already say they are meant to be fighting acne.

Giving yourself a nice clay mask will also help draw the oil out of your skin. It;s all natural and won't harm your skin.

Then, there's also those blotting papers and medicated pads that can help you look better in the short term and achieve a more flawless skin in the longer term.
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As for picking blackheads and whiteheads, that is not really a good idea. You just irritate the skin and may make the problem worse in the long run.

What can you do instead? Many people use products with salicylic acid to look after their skin. You will want to look for both a wash and exfololiator with the five percent salicylic acid in it. That will clear your clogged pores up, give you a clearer and brighter skin and prevent the formation of new blackheads and whiteheads as well.

Your skin will start looking better quickly, but keep on using it as a prevention even if you think you don't need it any more, because the problems would just come back.
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Perhaps you could try one of these? Pycnogenol toner, Ambi complexion cleansing bar, and Aveeno active naturals positively radiant cleanser and their moisturizing bar? A hydrating toner with vitamin E could add moisture to your skin as well, after you cleanse it. Those are the two aspects of skin care, both deep cleansing in a way that doesn't damage your skin, so with the right products, and then moisturizing properly. You don't want to strip all those natural oils, and you don't want to irritate your skin even more, but you do want to eliminate the problems you are dealing with right now. 

You could also check out some of the other threads going on here. Lots of good products are being discussed. 

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That "hard stuff" is called sebaceous filaments. You can try to unclog with with oil, then use a chemical exfoliator such as mandelic acid, and then massage them out gently again using some oil. You can also try steaming first to get your pores to open up, making the process of massaging easier. And make sure the oil isn't cold when you put it on your skin.
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Does this help you at all?

Wash your face. First, remove all your makeup. Then, use a cleanser to deep clean your face. Fill a random clean pot with hot steamy water, get a towel, cover your head with the towel, and steam. This is to open your pores. At first, steam for a maximum of five minutes and you can add green tea to the water. Then, pat your face dry and use a dry skin brush for exfoliation. Move in circles, using a gentle motion, and avoid the eye area. When you are finished, wash your face again with just water and then apply moisturizer.

This works for me. I used to suffer from terrible blackheads and steaming regularly keeps them at bay.
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Pores filled with hard stuff, very oily skin? Sounds like you have whiteheads on your hands. You should be maintaining a regular skincare routine every morning and night, with a product for oily skin. You should also be using a non comedonegenic moisturizer, and take extra care to remove your makeup at night so your pores don't get clogged up more. If you are already doing all of that, it might be time for some over the counter products. Salicylic acid will take care of plugged pores and benzoyl peroxide is there to kill the bacteria that cause those whiteheads.

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I would recommend:

* Wash your face with Cetaphil twice a day, and no more than that. When you have problematic skin, it can be tempting to think that washing your face more often will unclog your pores faster, but that is not true. You will actually see your skin go into overproduction of oil if you attack it too often.
* Use tea tree oil on your face. You can use the pure oil diluted with water or buy a product that contains tea tree oil. Because it fights bacteria naturally, you will help get rid of whiteheads without further irritating your skin or causing other problems.
*Use a primer before putting on your foundation if you wear makeup. This will make those whiteheads virtually invisible.
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I am 19 and have a lot of whiteheads around my nose, on my cheeks, on the forehead, chin and lip area as well. The weird thing is that I don't get full blown pimples, but no matter what I do these are always there. I wash my face with clean and clear but my skin is still very oily as well. I have a job interview soon and I am dying to have better skin. What can I do? Is it my diet? Am I doing something wrong? Do I need an RX if I want better skin or can I make this better myself? HELP.
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Research seems to suggest that acne is mainly hereditary, and not due to something you are doing wrong. If your mom and dad had acne, you are likely to have it too. yes, diet (focus on lots of fruits and vegetables, the things that are healthy anyway) will help. Some people say that exercising regularly makes you sweat some of those poisons out, making your skin look better. Stress can also play a role, but it is not the cause of acne. I would say you should take a look at the suggestions given on this thread, and there are quite a few, and see if a change in skincare routine will help you improve your skin. Best of luck!
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I used to love Cetaphil, but I have since moved on to Peter Thomas Roth Gentle Foaming Cleanser. It is extra gentle on the skin, is foamy, not leaves your skin feeling soft like a lotion. Unlike Cetaphil, it keeps my skin oily without drying it out remotely. My only "complaint" is that it doesn't work too well as a makeup remover even though they say it removes makeup. On the while I am a really pleased customers though. It does wonders for my pores and my breakout rate has reduced. As for the price, I do not think it is overpriced for what you get.
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I just turned 30 this year and had had whiteheads for, like, forever. Now, I will say that I am a natural gal and I don't use any makeup whatsoever. An online friend from a food forum (I'm paleo) recommended jojoba oil to me, and I decided to give it a try. I stopped washing my face much, which I found just dried it out, so I mostly just use water and nothing else now. I put jojoba oil (cold pressed) on my face twice a day. My skin felt more supple right away, and within a month my whiteheads were completely gone. My regimen consists of nothing more than a combination of not washing the face with soap very often and using castille soap when I do, and the jojoba oil twice a day. That's it. It wouldn't work for you if you wear makeup, but for me it worked like a dream.
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Hello,

I was just wondering if you have looked into a skincare technique called the Oil Cleansing Method yet? If you have not done that so far, I would suggest you take to the web and look for instructions. It relies on massaging your face with a mixture of oils, until hard stuff comes out, then you gently wipe it off and wash your face with water. Though it may seem counterintuitive to clean your face with oil when you already have oily skin, the idea behind the Oil Cleansing Method is that oil is actually the best way to dissolve oil. This works for many people and is worth looking into.
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