When it comes to skin concerns, enlarged, visible pores are among the most common complaints women have.
The hard news: There’s no getting rid of your pores … they are an essential part of our biology and play a very important role in allowing oil and sweat to reach the body’s surface in order to moisturise the skin and maintain optimum body temperature. While pore size is also largely genetic, the good news is certain treatments and tricks can help minimise their appearance and stop them from expanding. Here are the golden rules for keeping pores under control.
The key to making pores appear smaller is to keep them clear. Hormonal changes, environment (pollution, sunshine), stress and lifestyle imbalances can all cause pores to enlarge and chances are you are exposed to one of these factors daily, so it’s important to become committed to a skincare regime. Always wash your face before bed to prevent the day’s dirt and makeup from building up and clogging pores. It’s even useful to leave a packet of facial wipes next to your (or your kids) bed for those hectic days where you crash and burn. And before and after exercise, it’s important to cleanse since sweat can carry cosmetics and dirt straight into pore openings … and once they’ve become comfortable there the skin will stretch.
Exfoliating is crucial, as it removes pore-clogging dead cells from the skin’s surface and also encourages fresh cell turnover. Exfoliating can be done physically or chemically. Physical exfoliation is the traditional method of sloughing away dead skin with a granular scrub. Whereas chemical exfoliators, such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Beta Hydroxy Acids and enzymes, work at breaking the “glue” that holds dead cells and debris to the skin’s surface so they can be rinsed away. Whichever method you prefer, you should exfoliate one to two times per week. Polishing your skin regularly also enables moisturisers and serums to sink in deeper which ensures optimal results from your skincare products.
Removing dead cells can make your skin more sensitive to UV light so it’s essential you use an SPF product daily. Sun exposure damages the collagen in your skin causing the walls of your pores to lose elasticity and appear larger as a result. Being smart about sun protection will help prevent further damage.
Up the ante on your skincare regime by making a mask date once or twice per week. Opt for a clay or charcoal based mask, as they work like a vacuum to suck up impurities which clog pores and make them appear larger.
In your pursuit of crystal clear skin, you need to become selective about the products you are going to let sit on your face for an extended period of time. During the day, avoid products that contain heavy ingredients, like petroleum, lanolin and mineral oil, which are notorious for irritating and congesting pores. You may also be shocked to learn that coconut oil is a pore clogging culprit and is best smeared only from the shoulders down. If you are a fan of that oily feeling, then opt for grapeseed, rosehip, evening primrose, hemp, or even pumpkin seed oil.
And a footnote on inner health; collagen acts as a building block which supports the walls of the pores and keeps them rigid. Read more in this article about how to promote collagen production naturally.