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Welcome back, class! You all look bright-eyed and eager for the school-year challenges that lie ahead. Now that you’re settled in your seats, we’d like to share some important advice on maintaining this level of enthusiasm throughout the year, especially when it comes to your skin. To ensure you’ll get an A+ on your skincare efforts, we’ve put together a pore study guide.

Here are tips on maintaining spick-and-span pores. If you’ve long-neglected your pores, we’ve got some special tricks up our sleeves to help you zap them into ready-mode.

Lesson 1: The Big Squeeze

If you have visible plugs in your pores, you might be tempted to squeeze. You probably think it’s a great way to get the gunk out fast and you’ll only have to deal with a red blemish for a short period. But the reality is you’ll have to deal with the negative consequences of squeezing for far longer. Squeezing damages your skin. Pock marks, dark purple or brown spots, and inflammation are common results. And what’s worse is that the inflammation causes collagen damage. Since collagen is responsible for your skin’s tautness, resilience and elasticity, squeezing could be turning your smooth, even-toned, plump skin into skin that’s spotted, scarred and a little wrinkly.

Lesson 2: Rules of Division

Divide and conquer gunky pores by breaking down oils with chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs. AHAs are effective are targeting surface buildup, while BHAs including salicylic acid are the best at getting down into your pores. These acids break down sebum, which acts like glue that tightly holds dirt and dead skin cells deep inside your pores.

Lesson 3: Laws of Motion

An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless something acts upon it. Likewise, the gunk in your pores will stay in your pores as long as they stay backed up. A billion skin cells are naturally shed every day. Sometimes shedding slows or stops, resulting in dull skin, flakes, and clogged pores. Physical exfoliation can keep the surface of your skin clear to help unblock your pores, so they can expel oil naturally. Clarisonic is our favorite exfoliation tool. While it offers an effective deep scrub, it’s gentle. To find out more about Clarisonic, come by our Raleigh and Cary spas.

Lesson 4: Opposites Attract

When prevention isn’t enough to achieve pore-perfection, some combative measures are needed. Draw out the oil from your pores and pull out the hardened blackheads. A great to way to do so is with a clay mask. As it dries it draws out and soaks up all the excess oil from your pores. For blackheads, pore strips are an effective way to extract without damaging your skin. The strip’s sticky substance dries around each little plug so that when the strip is ripped away the plugs go with it.

Lesson 5: What Goes In, Must Come Out

Another way to draw the hardened plugs out is with a cleansing oil. Though smearing oil all over your face may seem counterintuitive, cleansing oils actually work. You could try an oil cleanser from a makeup line or you could try simple oils like mineral oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil. The oil will go into the pore, loosening the blackheads and gunk inside your pores. After rinsing away the oil with water, follow up with a regular face wash to clear away the residue.

Bonus: Purifying Deep Clean

Our favorite and most effective method of clearing all the gunk out of your pores is with a spa facial. Often times your pores are too sticky and blocked to release the gunk with any of the methods described above. And other times you might just like to keep your pores perfectly clear before too much gunk forms. For those occasions our Custom Spa Facial will get you A+ skin just in time for school.

After a deep steam and exfoliation, our facialist will extract the gunk, leaving no pore unturned. To calm your face and keep any future blemishes away, the treatment is finished off with an antiseptic mask. Contact us and grab this facial to get a pore-perfect glow before you start school!