Large pores can be a real inconvenience, and they can even be embarrassing to those who have them. If you feel you have unsightly pores, then you’ve probably stood in the drug store for hours looking for the perfect lotion or potion to just get rid of them once and for all. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. Let’s take a deeper look at our pores and get to the bottom of the pore problem once and for all.
Pore size has always been an issue in the world of “perceived” beauty. Large pores are deemed unattractive, so let’s tackle the problem by first getting a better understanding of what a pore is. Then I’ll share my six skincare tips for shrinking pores—or at least achieving clear skin and reducing blemishes!
In the simplest of terms, the word pore is used to describe the small openings found in our skin from which oil and sweat are excreted to the surface from their respective glands below. When we talk about larger pores or blocked pores, we are commonly referring to “hair follicles.” These follicles allow the oil from our sebaceous glands to reach the surface, where they lubricate the skin. This oil is commonly referred to as sebum, and it helps to keep our skin healthy.
So, why do some people have large pores and others don’t? The size of our pores is very much contributed to our genetics. If your mom or dad has large pores, chances are you may have them, too. But there is more to visible pores than just genetics.
There are a few things in addition to genetics that can contribute to the size of your pores.
Excess sun exposure – Too much sun exposure can cause our collagen to break down under the dermis, resulting in a pulling of the skin which can tug on the pores and make them larger. Over time as our skin is over-exposed to the damaging rays of the sun, the underlying dermis is affected. When this happens, it tends to lose water and ultimately starts to shrink. This pulls on our facial skin, causing pores to become more noticeable. Hopefully by now we all understand the importance of avoiding unprotected sun exposure, and we all use sunscreen on a daily basis. Here I was concerned about wrinkles and burning, but now we have pore size to be concerned about as well! It just never ends.
Clogged pores – When a pore contains excess oil, it can attract dirt, makeup and other impurities. Once these particles get lodged into our pores they can actually stretch it out. Yuck! Daily facial cleansing every morning and every evening is a must, as is a gentle weekly exfoliation. Getting rid of the yuck will definitely help with the perceived size of our pores.
Age – Aging really seems to be a factor in just about everything pertaining to our appearance. But like I say, aging definitely beats the alternative. As we get older, our skin naturally begins to lose some of its elasticity. When this happens, our skin begins to sag a bit and it can start to stretch. This can elongate our pores, which ultimately leads to an increase in their size.
So, can we really shrink our large pores?
Many people will tell you that it’s impossible to visibly shrink your pores, but I think differently. It may take some time and dedication, but if you apply some simple skincare rules I think you can definitely make large pores appear less noticeable. The trick is consistency and patience: once you start taking steps to improve the visible appearance of large or gunk-filled pores, you have to keep following those same steps. If you go back to any of your bad habits, those pores will surely bounce back and appear larger than ever.
Skin care and diet regimens are very similar. Once you get positive results, you have to stay on the same path. You can’t go backwards.
Washing your face every morning when you wake up and every evening before bed is crucial. This helps keep your oil levels under control and will help remove any dirt, makeup and other debris from your skin. I always look for cleansers that offer sebum control.
For those of us who wear makeup, the sooner we remove it at the end of the day the better for our pores. If you’re someone who has skin that’s oily, you may need to wash your face more frequently than twice a day. Pay attention to when your skin starts to get oily again after your first cleansing. A mid-day or late afternoon cleansing may be necessary to keep that excess oil under control.
After cleansing it’s very important to use a toner. It should be part of your daily skin care regimen. It helps to remove any debris left behind after the cleansing process, gently conditioning and soothing skin. It’s important to always practice good hygiene. The debris that gets lodged in your pores can both clog and stretch them. Once trapped, that debris can result in black heads and other unsightly skin concerns.
We see the term a lot, but what does non-comedogenic mean? In simple terms it means that the ingredients found within a specific product have been tested to show that they do not block pores. When it comes to shopping for makeup, you should look for those products labeled as non-comedogenic to help control your pore size. Usually the words “non-comedogenic” will be proudly displayed on the packaging.
You’ll be surprised at how many options are available, and this goes to demonstrate how concerned we all are about visible and enlarged pores. Please keep in mind that non-comedogenic products don’t work for everyone, and some people discount the term altogether. However, I do believe that all rules of skin care are not one size fits all. Give them a try and let us know if they work for you. Take advantage of these products and look for an improvement in your pore size.
We all know sunscreen use is crucial when it comes to keeping our skin looking young and fabulous. We must protect our collagen because when its integrity is compromised, look out increased pore size. Find a nice daily moisturizer with SPF. If you’re going to be in the sun for any length of time, apply, apply and reapply for maximum protection. Find every opportunity to stay in the shade and keep covered up. If your pores start to appear less noticeable, you may find a new best friend in a wide-brimmed hat.
Exfoliating on a regular basis will definitely help prevent dirt, excess oil and makeup from getting lodged into your pores. It’s also great for removing any dead skin cells from your face. These skin cells have a way of getting trapped by the oil on our skin and embedded into pores. Once they get in there they will only cause the pores to appear larger, potentially inflamed, and unfortunately that may lead to breakouts. Make exfoliating part of your skin care routine. Depending on your skin type, one to three times a week should be good. Those with dryer skin may choose to exfoliate less, and those with oily skin may wish to exfoliate more. Be sure to apply moisturizer after exfoliating to prevent skin from feeling tight and dry.
Temperature can play a big factor in the size of our pores. When our skin is on the warmer side, our pores actually begin to open up. This happens when we’re in the sun or in a hot bath or shower. As our skin begins to cool down, our pores begin to close. A nice cool splash of cool water on your face can help close up those pores, as can some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth. I make it a rule to do the cold water splash after cleansing and exfoliating. And if I have the time, I like to apply a cold compress or a little ice to my face first thing in the morning. It not only helps wake me up, it helps my pores. A chilly face is a small price to pay for tighter pores.
They key to smaller-looking pores is being diligent in how you care for your skin. Practicing proper hygiene and following my ‘pore care’ steps every single day will lead you down a path to pore improvement. The worst thing you can do during your battle with your pores is to obsess over them. When we obsess we tend to touch, poke and pick. And believe me, this is not what we want to be doing. We run the risk of transferring bacteria to our skin every time we touch it. And squeezing our skin to remove blackheads may only further stretch the area. Hand’s off is your best approach.
Follow my pore shrinking tips on a regular basis and you will not only see great results with visibly reduced pore size, but your skin should appear healthier and younger in no time. Remember, you’re probably the only one who thinks you have large pores or even notices your pores at all. Patience is the key as this won’t happen over night, so stay diligent—not obsessive—and you’ll get there.