Are you obsessed with the size of your pores, do you wish they’d shrink down to nothing? If so, you’re not alone. According to a survey of nearly 2,000 women by L’Oréal Paris, almost a third were more worried about their pore size than wrinkles and 45% would change the size of their pores if they could. Interesting findings, but pores do in fact serve a very important purpose. They allow the oil generated by the sebaceous glands (oil glands) to reach the surface and lubricate the skin which helps keep our skin supple, moisturised, and healthy. However, there is no denying that for some they are a stubborn skin concern and one of the most common frustrations I get asked about so let’s set the record straight on which pore facts are true and which are (unfortunately) false!
You can shrink the size of your pores – False
Let’s get this biggie out of the way. Pores cannot be made smaller. Not what you might want to hear I know, but your pore size mainly depends on your genes. Fair-skinned people tend to have less-visible pores, while those with darker and/or oily skin may have more prominent ones.
Pores open and close – False
Pores aren’t like doors; they don’t have muscles to allow them open and close at will. A common myth is that heat will open your pores and a splash of cold water will close them. Not true! Warming your skin, with say steam, will simply help loosen up underlying debris, making blackheads easier to extract (best to leave extractions to a professional) where as a splash of cold water will temporarily shock your skin, making it momentarily tighter.
Pores become larger with age – True
Sadly, this is true. This is because the skin around each pore is not as firm and collagen-rich as in younger skin, and with less collagen to keep them tight, pores start to slacken and stretch. Our skin also loses collagen through excess exposure to sunlight, ultimately reducing elasticity, which in turn again leads to increased pore size, so don’t forget SPF daily.
Love them or hate them, there’s 20,000 of them on your face right now and while you can’t banish them completely the good news is there are ways to help minimise their appearance. And remember while it’s easy to get hung up about them when we’re inches from a mirror, most people don’t notice them or aren’t getting up close and personal enough to see them.
Pore Minimising Tips:
1. Keep your face clean – Cleansing is essential if you want to refine your pore size, as the more debris there is in pores, the more they expand and appear larger, so make sure you are cleansing your face twice a day, being especially careful to remove makeup thoroughly. Also make sure to wash your makeup brushes, as dirty brushes can harbour bacteria which in turn can lead to breakouts and pore blockages.
2. Exfoliate – Try a non-abrasive leave on acid exfoliator like Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid to slough off dead skin cells and encourage new cell generation. Salicylic Acid is oil-soluble, so it can penetrate pores and dissolve the debris that’s clinging to the inner pore walls. Glycolic acid gently dissolves the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface so there’s less chance of dirt, sweat or sebum getting trapped inside the pores. I Like Paula’s Choice 2% BHA (Salicylic) Skin Perfecting Liquid or Pixi Glow Tonic both available on the Irish Website Cloud 10 Beauty.
3. Mask Up – Add a clay-based mask to your weekly routine. These can work wonders on your skin my minimising the appearance of enlarged pores, all be it temporarily. They work by soaking up excess oils, impurities and dirt that have taken up residence within the pore wall, leaving pores looking noticeably smaller, tighter and more refined. Two of my favourites are Clarins Pure and Radiant Mask with pink clay and Murad Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask. Most skincare ranges will have a clay-based mask in their range.
4. Plump up your skin – reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by plumping the skin around them. If the skin around the pore’s surface is fuller looking, the opening will appear smaller even if you can’t shrink the actual size of the pore below. Look for ingredients that plump skin such as hyaluronic acid. Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Booster has a lovely light gel texture formula that hydrates, plumps and fortifies the skin or try Eucerin Hyaluron Filler Concentrate.
5. Look out for Niacinamide – Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, a skincare ingredient that we are hearing more and more about. Research has proven it can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores along with fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and the effects of acne. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum combines the pore and blemish reducing power of niacinamide with zinc. Zinc is a mineral that helps soothe inflamed skin and balance oil production. You can also find it in the Olay Regenerist Range and Alpha H Vitamin B with Copper Tripeptide Serum.