Blocked Pores; What Am I Doing Wrong? Overexfoliation? Wrong Scrub?

I have oily skin and am very acne prone, but the activity has decreased significantly in the last year. I exfoliate every other day with Clinique face scrub,and once a week use the neutrogena microdermabrasion cleanser tool as well. Despite all my efforts, I continue to have blocked pores or just bumps (non-red,and almost look like they are just built up dead skin). What am I doing wrong overexfoliation? wrong scrub? Also, I don't use a toner,even if it's non-alcohol because they really dry out my skin.

Doctor Answers 1

What to do about blocked pores and blackheads?

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Over-exfoliation can irritate the skin and cause more acne lesions to appear, including blackheads, whiteheads and pustules.  Blocked pores usually refers to blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones).

Exfoliation is not necessary when treating acne.  We use multiple acne products that exfoliate without scrubbing, such as retinoids, sulfur/sulfacetamide combinations and benzoyl peroxide.

I would recommend starting with a retinoid, such as tretinoin (Retin-A), twice a week at nighttime, and slowly build up to every night over a period of several weeks.  Tretinoin is effective against blocked pores, but does take some time to work.  Make sure to use an oil-free, non-comedogenic broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning, as retinoids do make your skin more sun sensitive.  

Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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