Stop Hating On Pores
“Why are they so big?” “Why are they so oily?” “If I steam them will they open?” “How can I shrink my pores?” “How can I close my pores permanently?”
These are among the most-asked questions about pores on Google. On Quora, someone even asked, “If I pluck the hair out, will the pore disappear?”
Poor maligned and misunderstood pores. While they may seem like the bane of your beauty routine, you definitely do not want to rid your skin of pores. They have a very important function in skin health.
Let’s take a deeper look at pores to clear up some of the confusion keeping these important follicles from getting the love they deserve.
What Are Pores?
Skin has two types. There are pores that allow sweat to exit the body and keep us from overheating and dying. Let’s put those in the all-good category and move on.
The pores we’re concerned with are the ones getting blamed for all your skin woes. These are actually hair follicles. They form the base from which the hair grows and they are open to allow the hair to protrude from our skin. They also house sebaceous glands.
While you may think sebum is the root of your problem, know that without sebum, your skin would be a dry, flaky, irritated mess of redness and irritation and inflammation. Sebum provides moisture, protects from moisture loss, and contains antioxidant vitamin E to help protect against aging and cancer. Sebum also helps push dead skin cells along the hair shaft to the surface of skin where they can be sloughed off.
My Pores Are Too Big
Pore size is partly genetics, but it’s greatly influenced by the condition of your skin. When pores get clogged due to a build-up of sebum and dead skin cells, they stretch making them appear larger and sometimes darker. Keeping your skin free of dead skin cells, pore-clogging cosmetics, sweat and excess oil helps to minimize the appearance of pores.
Why Are My Pores So Oily?
Androgens are the hormones responsible for oil production. Men have more androgen hormones than women, and generally have oilier skin. When androgens increase during hormonal shifts—puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy—sebum production increases. While you can’t really control the amount of sebum being produced, you can control how it affects your skin. If allowed to build up, sebum gets trapped beneath dead skin cells and creates an impaction. This is how pimples and blackheads get formed. So be sure to keep to a consistent routine of cleansing, toning and exfoliating.
Can I open and clear pores by steaming them?
First, let’s get something straight. Pores do not open and close. They are not a muscle. They’re just a tiny little hole in skin that sometimes appear to be stretched when it gets too full of gunk. Steaming does not open them wider. What steaming does is loosen compactions making it easier to extract them. Professional facials include steam for this reason.
How can I get rid of my pores?
You can’t. And, you wouldn’t want to. Pores are essential to the healthy function of your skin. Remember, your skin is a living organ and, essentially, pores are the lungs of your skin. And please do not attempt to pluck all the hairs from your problem areas. Not only will this do nothing to decrease the size of the pore, it can cause trauma to the follicle, which can trigger an increase in melanin production leading to hyperpigmentation. Minimize the appearance of pores by keeping skin clean and avoiding heavy creams or comedogenic products.
Power to the Pore
To minimize the appearance of pores, cleanse morning and night and after physical activity to remove sweat, sunscreen, makeup and oil. Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash is an alpha hydroxy formula that gently exfoliates and controls acne bacteria in all skin types. For oilier skin, try BP 3% Exfoliating Cleanser with benzoyl peroxide to flush out impurities, refine pores, and accelerate cell turnover.
Get a refining and balancing boost from a toner like Normalizing Tonic with witch hazel and glycolic acid to dissolve oil, slough off dead skin cells, minimize appearance of pores, and restore skin’s natural pH level. Or try clarifying and nourishing Daily Repair Pads with salicylic acid and mandelic acid for effortless refinement.
Banish impurities and impactions with a detoxifying mask. Vivant’s Sulfur Clay Mask draws out dirt, removes excess oil, accelerates cell turnover and improves circulation. Sulfur is a natural exfoliant and anti-bacterial agent.
Boost your cell turnover with vitamin A therapy to minimize the appearance of pores and keep skin clear. Skin cells are formed and shed off naturally every thirty days. Vitamin A propionate accelerates that renewal cycle to between 10 and 14 days, removing the upper layers of dead skin and debris more quickly and revealing fresh, healthy skin. Start with Derm-A-Gel® and move up to Exfol-A when skin becomes acclimated.