How to remove sebaceous filaments: my 3 tips for clearer pores

Written by Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu

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  1. Kristin says:

    I have such trouble with SF. I saw you also use Tretinoin (as do I, but nightly) but alternate it with the days you use the COSRX. Is it ok to use both on the same nights? I’m currently using the .025% tret and have been nightly for some months now.

    • Jenny says:

      You can try adding in the COSRX maybe every other night while keeping your usual tretinoin routine, and see how your skin adjusts. If your skin is ok then you can use the two together, or you can also try adding the cosrx in the mornings!

  2. Anette says:

    I have only recently noticed these small white f*ckers peeping out of my skin on my cheeks and in my more greasy areas on both temples (where I have also begun noticing deeper acne scars from my younger years)
    …oh the joy of turning 40+ and seeing all of your youthful mistakes.

    But then I started up slowly with AHA exfoliation (The Ordinary AHA 7% solution toner), and began noticing these little white things sticking out of my pores when I used the toner and didn’t know what they were.

    Some Google research lead me to sebaceous filaments, and now it all make a lot more sense.

    These days I use a mild skin routine and it really makes a clear difference on my S.F.. I have combination skin with a dry tendency, so my routine is this:


    If I do cleanse, I use a mild, creamy washer, like Korres’ Yoghurt wash cream for face or ISNTREE Yam Root milky cleanser.

    Toner: Man:yo Bifida Ampoule Toner

    Serum: Muldream Aloe & Spirulina calming serum followed by COSRX Snail Mucin 96 essence

    Moisture comes from a light day cream with ocean minerals or Kiehl’s ultra facial cream

    SPF: Purito sunscreen with oat and combined filters (chemical + mineral). This one has been a huge game changer for my skin!

    Makeup cleaner (Bioderma – the pink micellar water)

    ISNTREE Yam Root Milky Cream Cleanser (on dry skin). I use water to wash it off.

    Toner: Purito AHA & BHA solution (with 7% AHA and 2% BHA + willow bark extract)

    Serum/essence: Muldream and COSRX like in the AM routine

    Cream: Kiehl’s ultra facial cream or a more rich cream with lots of ceramides to build up skin.

    Once a week I use ISNTREE Mugwort Clay mask on my pores and do the shower trick. Much more efficient than no water.

    I generally avoid products containing niacinamide, as it reddens and irritate my skin.

    All the above products has had a really positive impact after I learned that the sebaceous filaments could handle BHAs which I have previously avoided after dealing with a difficult skin barrier, periorale dermatitis.
    I also take fish oil (omega 3 supplements) as these guys decrease inflammation in the body and aloe Vera Juice shots to improve gut health. It works wonders for my skin too.

  3. Kat W says:

    What face cleansers do you use? @JennyWu

  4. Priscilla says:

    Just to clarify, so for one week, you will use clay mask and the cosrx BHA liquid once a week, then next week clay mask and the mandelic acid? Can we use clay mask and acids on the same day?

    • Jenny says:

      So I’ll typically use the gentler Cosrx BHA liquid every other day, and once a week I’ll replace it with a stronger acid like the mandelic acid serum. The clay mask I’ll use once a week, and I try to time it on days when I’m not use the mandelic acid, but that’s just my personal preference. If you don’t have sensitive skin you should be able to use a clay mask and an acid on the same day!

  5. Denise says:

    What cleanser do you use, please? Or do you recommend just soap and water? Do you recommend a washcloth or hands only?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Denise, I’ve shared the cleanser I’m currently using here, but in general I’d recommend something suitable for your skin type, low pH, and sulfate-free. I don’t use a washcloth to remove the cleanser, just my hands and warm water.

  6. Thank you for this helpful post ! I found that adding a drop of salicylic acid to my cleanser on a regular basis helps ! I have to try clay masks !

  7. Lubna says:

    Ooh ! The CosRx Powder sounds pretty strong and effective ! Such a helpful post. Thanks !


  8. Julia says:

    Didn’t know a lot of this and I think I want to start using a clay mask as well!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  9. I never thought of pressing my cleanser in around the nose, but it makes much sense explained like that. And I press in my serums anyway, so it shouldn’t be much of a change.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

  10. Veronica says:

    I actually really want to try mandelic acid and see if iy works. Great tips! I love using clay masks too but it didn’t occur to me to use it in the shower.

    Joy to the World

  11. Naya says:

    I must admit – I love your sense of humor when it comes to blackheads! Scrape those bastards off haha, I agree I somehow enjoy the process too although it is very gross yet satisfying at the same time. I will try your clay mask + shower technique for sure! Thanks for all the tips here! xx

    The Party Parrot Blog

  12. Marina Rosie says:

    Lovely post as usual Jenny because, girl, being 16 and trying to maintain good skin is HARD. I get blackheads and clogged pores very often so, yes, I do try to do clay masks from time to time but I never knew doing them in the shower was a little Jenny trick, so I’m going to have to start that from today! I’m also looking at including more retinol within my routine as, you’re right, it’s an amazing ingredient! x
    Marina Rosie x

  13. This is an interesting post, although I usually don’t have many problems with blackheads, I have loved the Irish Moor Mud Mask since it came out. I remember reviewing it, I absolutely love it in rotation with the pore cleanser. I don’t use it all the time but once or twice a month works well. I am with you on the second cleansing, I do the same, and it does make a difference.

  14. Alyssa says:

    Lately, I’m more concern about my pores. Right now I’m loving the CosRx Two in One Poreless Power Liquid and using the Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, but I’ve been wanting to try that Blackhead Power Liquid too. I always hear good reviews about it, but I don’t know why I always skip it in the store, I always forget I want it XD

    xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

  15. Ugh… Blackheads are my worst skincare nightmare! I’ve been using clay masks regularly now and they’ve helped a lot, but I need to start doing those two last steps too!

  16. Geniussr says:

    such an informative post…will definitely try all these..thanks for explaining in detail…❤️

  17. Somehow my skin has changed in recent years and I don’t really have an issue with sebaceous filaments anymore but they are a real issue for my husband who I swear still has the raging skin of a teenager. He uses the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid twice a day and I have him mask weekly and doing this has kept them at bay. He also uses the COSRX Blackhead Silk FingerBalls which are really effective at reducing surface level blackheads without redness or irritation. Personally Drunk Elephant Baybyfacial has done wonders for my pores in general.

  18. I need to try using mud mask in the shower, what you said about letting the steam open up the pores for deeper cleansing makes sense. Makes it easier to rinse without the bloody mess too.

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