What Is Sebum, Why Does It Build Up, And Should You Remove It?

What Is Sebum, Why Does It Build Up, And Should You Remove It?

06 December 2023


Are you constantly combating whiteheads, blackheads, or troubling acne? Are your pores larger and more noticeable than usual? Does your complexion feel dull or lack the life it once had? These are all signs that you may be dealing with excessive sebum production. 


If you experience oily or acne-prone skin, you're likely acquainted with the term sebum -- the primary cause of an oily appearance and harmful to your appearance if you do not use appropriate skincare products.


Sebum is a functional nuisance. It protects your skin's surface and helps lock in hydration, both of which are essential to combating signs of aging and keeping your skin soft and supple. However, the common issue of sebum overproduction can become a problem. 


We're here to walk you through how to get rid of the sebum nose, say goodbye to sebum acne, eliminate clogged pores, and maintain the integrity of your skin.

Let's take a closer look:



What is Sebum?

Sebum is an oil produced naturally by your skin, which maintains optimal skin barrier health and prevents surface dryness.

Microscopic sebaceous glands (sometimes paired with hair follicles) produce sebum, a white, yellow, or clear fluid composed of fatty acids, wax, and squalene. For the most part, sebum benefits your skin, lubricating and hydrating to provide a protective shield against UV rays and other environmental factors. 

But too much of anything is too much. Excess sebum on the skin's surface can lead to inflammation, irritation, acne, and clogged pores. Sebum overproduction without the right skincare products can negatively impact your confidence levels and dim your youthful glow. 



What Causes Clogged Pores?



Pores are microscopic openings on the skin's surface that release sweat, sebum, and oil from your glands and expose them on the skin's surface. 


Clogged pores hard sebum occurs when pores are congested or clogged with dead skin cells, debris, excess oil, and even residual makeup. This issue is more common than you think and leads to a greasy-looking complexion, acne, inflammation, irritation, and enlarged pores.


The good news is that clogged pores hard sebum is preventable, and we'll get into that later.



What is a Sebum Plug?


A sebum plug is due to excess sebum or an accumulation of dead skin cells. They commonly appear on the chin or forehead and stick out of your skin. They may seem harmless at first glance, but sebum plugs on the skin's surface can lead to bacteria buildup, redness, inflammation, acne, and breakouts.


Here's a breakdown of the different types of plugs:


Keratin Plugs


Keratin is a protein naturally produced by the body to protect the skin from infection. However, keratin buildup in your pores can look like a sebum plug, and Keratin plugs often present as tiny, patchy white holes in your skin. 




Whiteheads appear on the skin's surface when a hair follicle is completely clogged. The sebum plug sits underneath the skin, and a small white bump appears on the skin. 




A partial hair follicle blockage causes blackheads, which look worse than they are. Oxidation is the cause of black discoloration— not dirt or debris. 



How do Pores Get Clogged with Sebum? 

Clogged pores usually result from glands producing too much oil, and excess sebum leads to skin irritation. Some people experience enlarged pores, acne, blackheads, or inflammation, but everyone is different. 

A lack of exfoliation is another reason sebum may clog your pores. Dead skin cells can clog your pores and make it harder for the sebum to push through the skin's surface. Regular exfoliation will make room for new cell growth and allow the sebum to get where it needs to be -- it's the best way to avoid a buildup of dead skin cells.

If you exfoliate regularly and still have sebum nose or sebum acne,  you may be undergoing lifestyle or hormonal changes.



What are Some of The Best Ways to Unclog Pores?



Whether it's your skin type, hormonal imbalances, or lifestyle choices, there are many reasons why your skin may be reacting the way it is. Here are the best ways to unclog pores:


Exfoliate Regularly


A gentle exfoliate will remove dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt, and grime hiding in your pores. Exfoliating twice a week can help clear the pores and allow the sebum to work as needed. 


The Essence is an exfoliant, toner, and hydrating elixir to dissolve and remove impurities while revitalizing your complexion. This innovative formula features exfoliating hydroxy acids and renewing, protective high-potency botanicals that eliminate excess oil on your face. During our 12-week user trials, 92% agreed that clogged, and congested pores felt clarified after consistently using The Essence.


Use a Gentle Cleanser


A gentle cleanser is essential to keeping your skin clean and revitalized. Starting your day with a clean, fresh face can reduce bacteria buildup, dead skin cells, and more. 


The Foaming Cleanser is our purifying daily cleanser that gently removes excess oil while replenishing moisture. It's mild enough to use twice a day and contains nourishing ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide. 

During our 12-week user trials, 97% of participants agreed that The Foaming Cleanser helped with oil control. In addition, 99% agreed that the product cleanses without stripping or drying the skin.




Steam is a gentle and effective way to unclog your pores, loosen the sebum trapped in your pores, and eliminate unwanted bacteria. You can steam your face at home by running a hot shower or using a face steamer. 


Try Topical Retinoids


Retinoids help increase cell turnover and remove buildup in your pores. Applying a serum or a retinol-rich moisturizer can remedy the inflammation and eliminate the acne caused by clogged pores. Plus, retinol has next-level anti-aging benefits.


The Retinol Serum is a lightweight, hydrating serum that helps to reduce blemishes and optimize the skin microbiome to prevent bacteria buildup. Our formula contains a microbiome blend that helps achieve a well-balanced skin ecosystem and a zinc complex that helps regulate sebum. 


Avoid Pore Strips


You may feel inclined to grab a pore strip when struggling with blackheads. These can temporarily remove dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin, but they won't prevent blackheads from forming. Instead, consider adjusting your skincare routine and switching to clean, effective formulas to improve your skin barrier. 



How to Avoid Clogged Pores with Sebum 

There is no one size fits all solution for eliminating clogged pores for good. However, prevention can help eliminate some systems and improve overall skin health. Prevention will keep irritation and inflammation at bay and help you avoid acne, blemishes, whiteheads, and blackheads. 

Here are a few ways you can adjust your routine and avoid clogged pores:


Stay Consistent With Your Skincare Regimen


Always stay consistent with your skincare routine. Cleaning your face regularly with a cleanser or a moisturizer will stop bacteria from gathering on the skin's surface and clogging your pores. 


Choose Clean Ingredients


Ingredients make all the difference. A skincare routine filled with alcohol, irritants, or fragrances will disrupt your skin barrier, which can lead to sebum overproduction.


Consider your Skin Type


Your skin type plays a big part in what skincare products you should or shouldn't use. Avoid using products like coconut or jojoba oils if you have acne-prone or oily skin.

You have the opposite problem with dry skin, i.e., your skin doesn't produce enough sebum. In this case, stick to hydrating skincare products with similar oils. 


Stick to Non-comedogenic Ingredients


Non-comedogenics are skincare ingredients that won't clog your pores or cause irritation. These ingredients are 'oil-free" and won't contribute to sebum overproduction. 


The Light Cream is our expertly formulated product with non-comedogenic ingredients and nutrients for individuals with oily skin. Our lightweight formula helps balance sebum levels and provides additional shine control. When applying your daily moisturizer, you won't have to worry about excess sebum or an oily complexion.


Stop Excessively Touching Your Face


As hard as it may be, try to avoid touching your face throughout the day. Dirty hands can leave bacteria in your pores, causing more harm than good. In addition, try your best to avoid picking or popping pimples, as this can lead to unwanted inflammation, scars, and irritation.  



Augustinus Bader Products for Sebum Control



When you struggle with clogged pores hard sebum, or sebum acne, it's time to revisit your skincare routine. Creating a skincare routine formulated with your unique skin type is the best way to avoid the negative consequences of sebum. 

Our skincare products are backed by over 30 years of research and clinical trials, so you can feel confident in the products you choose to make part of your daily routine. 

Start exploring today.


Part gentle exfoliant, part toner, part hydrating essence
From $32.00
Ultra-lightweight moisturizer for oilier skin
Reduces lines and blemishes for clear, smooth, even skin
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