It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we’ve all been cursed with pores – they’re the bain of our lives, here to ruin our makeup! We spend waaay too much time thinking about cunning skincare regimes to get rid of them once and for all, and carefully trying to disguise them with pore-minimizing primers and HD powders. You’ve probably bought products that claim they will shrink your pores and erase all trace of them, well we’re here to get your facts straight with the ultimate tea on pores from skincare expert Dr. Doris Day. Here’s how you can minimize your pores in the only way possible, but curb your expectations too – sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
What exactly are pores?
Each pore is actually the opening of a hair follicle. On the face, the follicles are tiny or sometimes even invisible, but there are oil glands that live at the base of the follicle and these can over-grow making your pores bigger and more noticeable. This often starts at puberty, and feels like it never stops!
Why are some people’s pores so much more visible than others?
The size of your pores is mostly due to genetics and hormones. You have no control over your genetics, but there is a lot you can do to help manage your pores to make them look as invisible as possible.
How can we get rid of pores?
No product can permanently shrink pores, but there are some very effective products that do a great job of making them look smaller. The best topical agent for making pores look better is the nightly use of topical retinoids or retinol, which are forms of vitamin A (a natural ingredient). Retinoids do two things: it increases skin cell turnover, which helps improve the overall thickness of the skin, and they increase the purging of oily plugs from the pores – the less packed the pores are, the smaller they look. Salicylic acid is also an excellent ingredient as it exfoliates deep into the pores, which gets rid of dead skin cells that can make the pores appear larger.
If you have large pores, do you just need to accept it and blame genetics?
Partly, but there are still many measures you can take to help them appear smaller and to prevent them from getting bigger. The most important thing you can do is use sun protection every day. Sun dehydrates your skin and makes the oil glands over-grow, making the pores look bigger. Some people get a tan because they feel it masks the pores and makes them look smaller, but this is a temporary effect, and in the not-so-long-run, it will make the pores bigger, as well as making blackheads and whiteheads worse from the excess oil that plugs the skin.
Will controlling oil with a good skincare regime improve your pores? If so, what do you recommend?
Ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, caffeine, and retinol can have an excellent impact on the size of your pores. Taking antioxidant supplements like niacinamide, zinc, copper, and folic acid by mouth can also be very helpful as they have powerful antioxidant and wound healing effects. They’re also anti-aging – who doesn’t want that benefit?!
Do natural DIYs actually have any effect?
DIY masks can have a temporary effect, but not a lasting one. Using egg white masks and yogurt masks, combined with honey can be beneficial for tightening pores. Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and it doesn’t clog pores.
Try: A gentle steam can hydrate the skin and make the pores more receptive to products you apply. Once your skin is soft and hydrated, you can apply a mask of yogurt and honey or egg white and honey for 5 minutes, rinse off, and then apply 1-2% salicylic acid lotion to help exfoliate deep into the pores. Top it off with a hyaluronic acid moisturizer as this will offer maximum hydration without clogging your pores. The result will be radiant, smooth skin.
I also get a lot of questions about the use of alcohol wipes for the treatment of acne and pores, but this does nothing to kill the bacteria that causes acne, it does nothing for the pores, and it only serves to dry out and irritate the skin.
There’s one other alternative for reducing pores:
The Clear and Brilliant laser is also an excellent and gentle option for an in-office treatment to help reduce the appearance of pores and improve skin texture. I also find it to be safer than other lasers for my patients with skin of color.
Now that you know the truth about pores – aka you might just be prone to having bigger pores – we hope you feel better about your options. Basically, there are ingredients you can use to minimize the appearance of pores, and by using a thorough cleansing routine and non-comedogenic products (that don’t block pores), you can help to make your pores look as small as possible. You also need to realize that your pores look bigger to you than anyone else. Why? Because you spend all day focusing on yours and not staring at other people’s! And yes, most of the images you see online and in magazines have all been airbrushed, but we can promise you, celebs have pores too!