Beauty Q&A: How Do I Keep My Pores Clean?

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Photo: Corbis

Q: What can I do about congested pores — besides having to get extractions during a facial?

A: Everyone's first instinct is to stare at blackheads and squeeze. While it feels satisfying and often cathartic, do not do this! Leave the squeezing to the professionals. However, do make sure you're actually washing your face every single night and keeping skin hydrated. (When skin is too dry, your body may overcompensate by overproducing oil, thus clogging pores.)

After cleansing, try a few quick spritzes of rosewater. It's an all-natural anti-bacterial that will instantly hydrate and moisturize. Chantecaille makes a very nice (but expensive) organic version made from what the company says is a private family rose farm. Heritage makes a much more reasonably priced version that's a favorite of makeup artists and Amber Valletta.

If clogs are still seriously clogged after a regimen of cleansing and rosewater sprinkling, there's a multi-tasking mask made by New York–based plastic surgeon Adam Kolker M.D. At $54 a tub, AKMD Clarifying Mask is pricey, but should last you a long time (I use it only once or twice a month). Loaded with glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids and green tea, it not only detoxes pores, but also promotes a more even skin tone and a smoother, more hydrated complexion. And while it smells a little medicinal (from the eucalyptus), it will leave your pores noticeably tighter and dirt-free.