We have unrealistic skin standards these days, thanks to Instagram filters, photo editing tools, and airbrushed photos all over the internet. However, the truth is, that the flawless and smooth appearance of skin in photographs is practically difficult to achieve in reality due to pores. According to Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist in New York, “pore size is genetically set, despite our best efforts to physically diminish them”.
So, is this to say that your dream of clear, flawless skin has come to a halt? No. We have some tried-and-tested methods for reducing the appearance of pores and making your skin look more luminous and smooth. But first, let's review some basic pore information.
What are Pores?
Pores are microscopic spots or openings that contribute to the real texture of the skin. You may or may not like them but they are necessary because they allow the skin to breathe by letting oil and sweat escape. They produce oil and are related to a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland. Pores are commonly mistaken for whiteheads or blackheads, however, this is not the case. Furthermore, the size of your pores is determined by your genes. People with oily skin, for example, are more likely to have larger pores than those with dry or average skin.
What affects the appearance of Pores?
Each person's pores have a distinct appearance. It relies on several factors; for example, dead skin cells get trapped in the open pores over the years which enlarge them further. Dead skin cells, dirt, and sebum combine to form blackheads inside your pores, which appear as hard, small black dots that draw attention to the pore.
UV radiation also causes pores to become stretched. This is because UV rays impair collagen bonding, causing your skin to lose its tautness. Another reason why pores appear to enlarge with age is because of this. Finally, picking pimples or any other type of skin trauma, such as squeezing, scars the skin and permanently enlarges the pores.
Can you actually minimize or enlarge the appearance of Pores?
For many of us who are bothered by huge skin pores, the search for a solution to reduce them is never-ending. From eggs to ice- we leave no stone unturned to get a smoother appearance. In reality, you won't be able to eliminate them, but the good news is that there are ways to temporarily reduce their appearance. To keep your pores in check, use a good skincare routine using high-quality products. If you don't already have one, here's a quick one:
- Gentle and thorough cleansing
Visible and enlarged pores are the result of the accumulation of sebum and dead skin cells along with the dirt in your pores. Hence, cleansing daily with a Hydrating & Mild Cleanser is a must. Thoroughly cleansing ensures your skin feels smoother and the pores appear minimized as well.
- Occasional chemical exfoliation
Exfoliating the skin helps get rid of dead skin and excess sebum effectively. As a result, the pores are unclogged and minimized in size. Use a chemical exfoliant like BHA (Salicylic acid) which is gentle on the skin and does the job of getting rid of all the impurities without aggravating any skin condition.
- Light and non-greasy moisturizer
Go for a moisturizer that is lightweight and non-greasy but at the same time provides enough hydration for all skin types. Moisturizers that are too heavy or greasy do not get absorbed by your skin well and may leave an oily layer. It can clog your pores or aggravate sebum production especially if you have oily skin. This is why choosing a Lightweight, Smoothening Moisturizer ensures your skincare routine does not backfire.
- Products with Niacinamide
Niacinamide is known to improve skin texture and ensure your skin is well-hydrated. It also ensures external free radicals do not affect your skin as much. Thus, incorporating Niacinamide into your skincare routine is a wise decision when you have trouble with pores.
Pores myths rarely discussed
There are many common beliefs about the appearance of pores that are far from the truth. Once you are over these myths, correctly taking care of your skin becomes much easier.
Myth #1 We have one type of pore
Oil and sweat pores are the two types of pores that humans have. Sweat pores can be found all over the body, but oil pores (visible ones), also known as hair follicles, can only be found on your feet and palm soles. They are well-known and produce sebum, which keeps the skin supple and healthy.
Myth #2 Blackheads are dirt inside the pores
Blackheads that appear dark are not dirt. They result from the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells called keratin in your pores. They appear when the keratin and oil block the pore opening. The name stems from the fact that the oil oxidizes and turns black.
Myth #3 Cold water or ice can close pores
This is far from the truth. Because pores lack muscles that allow them to move, they do not respond to temperature. A splash of cold water or rubbing ice can make your skin appear less pink and puffy. However, this occurs as a result of temporary blood vessel closure. The underlying pore size is unchanged. Pores cannot be opened or closed; they can only be minimized to some extent.
The skin has a unique texture and pores contribute to its good health. Although it is not a flaw, you can certainly minimize its appearance if it bothers you. The tips shared above would hopefully help you with it.