How To Minimise Your Pores
We have something im-PORE-tant to tell you. Your pores will almost always be visible, particularly on your face, and that's normal. Close-ups in films where actors have layers or makeup on and edited photos on Instagram make it seem as though invisible pores are possible. But this simply isn't true.
Nevertheless, some of us are self-conscious about the size of our pores, and want to find ways to minimise them. Here, we delve into the nature of pores and how you can reduce their visibility.
What Are Pores?
Before we look at how to minimise pores, we need to clarify what specifically we are talking about. Pores are the small openings on your skin that release oils and sweat. They need to do this in order to keep our skin healthy, moist and cool.
They Are Pores Not Doors
The appearance of your pores can be affected by a range of factors, from genetics to temperature. What is important to remember is that pores are not doors and can't be opened and closed. In fact, we wouldn't want to close our pores anyway, since doing so would block sebum from being released onto your skin, which is key to maintaining healthy, hydrated skin.
Any product or treatment that claims to be able to do this is misleading you. Your pores don't have any muscles, so there is no way for them to contract and retract.
Cold/Hot Water Will Only Affect Your Blood Vessels
Applying hot and cold water to your face to open and close your pores is another common claim. Using hot water or steaming your pores can make it easier to remove sebum and debris from your pores, making them appear more open. Really they've just been cleared out – and we don't necessarily want to remove all that skin-supporting sebum. Applying cold water to your face will make your blood vessels constrict, so your pores may appear smaller. It won't last long, since it won't take long for your skin to warm up to its regular temperature.
How Many Pores Do We Have?
We have an estimated 5 million pores over our bodies, with around 20,000 on our faces alone. Most of our pores are tiny dots on your skin that are barely visible. Where they are enlarged or more visible, such as around your nose or cheeks, they tend to be more noticeable.
What Causes Large Pores?
Many people with larger, more visible pores will wonder why some of their pores are so big. A 2016 study of facial pores found three primary reasons for larger pores:
- Excess sebum – People with oily skin are producing more sebum than is needed to maintain your skin's natural barrier and remain healthy. Greater sebum production causes larger pores.
- Decreased skin elasticity – Skin that is losing its elasticity, as happens naturally with aging and because of sun damage, can cause pores to look larger.
- Increased hair follicle volume – Pores are sometimes connected to hair follicles. With thick hair or clogged follicles, pores will appear larger.
Having large pores is not a health issue, it's a purely aesthetic one. Having large pores is not even a negative, since oil secretion is good for the skin. It's nature's moisturiser!
Can You Reduce Pore Size?
The big question. Medically speaking, there is no way to permanently reduce your pore size. However, it is possible to minimise the appearance of pores, using various skincare products and techniques. You can also conceal their appearance with make-up.
How To Reduce Pore Size
Use A Cleanser Twice A Day
Cleansers are a crucial first step if you want to minimise your pores' appearance. Make-up, as with dirt and impurities, can get stuck in your pores, increasing their visible size. Using a cleanser will help to wick out whatever has got caught in your pores over the course of the day, and dead skin cells that build up overnight.
Avoid The Sun
Yes, we need sunlight to get vitamin D – though vitamin D supplements are another option. But the sun causes dehydration of our skin, which causes your sebaceous oil glands to pump up production of sebum to get moisture to your skin again. As we mentioned above, more sebum production means larger pores.
Apply A Clay Mask Once A Week
Clay masks are an important part of a good skincare routine if you have oily skin, and if you want to reduce pore size. Clay is excellent at drawing out skin oils. Use a clay face mask and it'll absorb your excess sebum and leave your pores looking smaller.
Using a clay mask is a better idea than exfoliating as exfoliators can cause skin irritation and actually enlarge pores and cause spots, particularly if you already have large pores and/or oily or combination skin.
Use Lightweight Skincare Products
Creamier and thicker skincare products, be it a serum or a moisturiser, can increase the size of your pores. If you want to minimise the appearance of your pores then you should choose lightweight options. If you have naturally oily skin, use products that have been created for your skin type.
Treatments For Large Pores
Cosmetic medical treatments are an option for some people who want to try and reduce their pore size. Not all of them will be effective and they are not considered to be the best way to minimise pore size.
Can Laser Treatment Reduce Pore Size?
Laser is a minimally invasive skin treatment used to try and reduce pore size. Often used to heal acne scars, the pulses of intent light can encourage collagen production which plumps the skin and can minimise pore size.
Will Microdermabrasion Reduce Pore Size?
Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that uses fine crystal and a vacuum to clear the skin of dead cells. When being used to reduce pore size, the treatment aims to unclog pores and improve circulation in the skin's surface, in order to make pores appear smaller.
Your Visible Pores Are Natural
Ultimately, how you choose to deal with (or not deal with) your visible or large pores is up to you. Visible pores are natural and there are some easy ways to try and reduce their visibility. But if, at the end of the day, you actually don't mind these normal and helpful tiny holes, then consider loving them instead of trying to treat them!