Large pores are a super common skin care complaint, ranking right up there with acne and aging skin. While they’re a completely cosmetic problem, large pores are still annoying.
What can be done to shrink large pores? The short answer is, nothing. There’s nothing you can do to shrink them because pore size can’t be changed, but there is a lot you can do to minimize their appearance. Before we spill the deets on that, there’s quite a lot of myths surrounding pores that we need to clear up because understanding them a little more helps you uncover what can make them a little less conspicuous.
What are they?
Pores are actually hair follicles, and each one contains a gland that produces oil (sebum). While all follicles contain these glands, the ones in your T-zone — your forehead, nose and chin — are bigger, which is why skin tends to be oiliest and your pores more noticeable in this area of your face. If you’re prone to excess oil, there’s a good chance all your pores will be larger than if your skin is dry, since there’s more oil stuffed in them.
Although they seem to only be there to drive you crazy, pores actually play an important role in the health of your skin. They allow sebum, which is the oil that keeps your skin lubricated, to travel from the sebaceous gland to the surface of your skin. So, you really wouldn’t want your pores to completely close. Otherwise, your skin would completely dry out.
Misconceptions about pores
Though pores allow things to enter your skin — from a skincare product to a little oxygen — they don’t function like doors in that they can’t open and close. So about the “hot water to open the pores, cold water to close them” advice? Sorry, that’s actually a myth. All the water in the world isn’t going to make small pores large, or large pores small. Heat does dilate the pore opening slightly, so it makes the pores look larger and cold causes the pore opening to constrict. This makes the pores look tighter and smaller. Both effects are just temporary, though. After a few minutes, the skin returns to normal temperature and so does your pore size.
Another misconception (which is the reason that we’re here) is that pore size can be changed. This isn’t true though, your pore size is predetermined by your genetics and there’s nothing you can do to permanently make them smaller. Unfortunately, there are some habits that can expand them both temporarily and permanently like clogging and sun damage.
What can I do?
So although the main determinant of pore size is genetics, there are other variables that contribute to it. Managing these variables will minimize the appearance of your pores.These factors include age, sun damage and clogged pores.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity and sags which in turn tugs at our pores hence stretching them. An anti-aging skincare routine and a regular visit to your dermatologist for in-house treatments will go a long way to slow this down.
2. Sun damage
Prolonged sun exposure removes collagen, elastin and water from your skin, which causes the tissue beneath your skin to shrink and pull at the edges of your pores, making them sag and look bigger. Make SPF your best friend by applying daily, avoid being in the sun for too long where possible and wear protective clothing like hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved clothes.
3. Clogged Pores
Sebum can turn dark when combined with oxygen, resulting in dark pores (blackheads) that can draw attention and even be mistaken for dirt on your face. And over time, pores can get clogged with a combination of sebum, dead skin cells and impurities from the environment, which can cause them to expand. A solid consistent skincare routine consisting of cleansing twice daily, using a clay mask and exfoliating at least once a week is the go-to solution for this. Keeping your skin moisturized is also essential as dehydrated skin leads to overproduction of sebum and more clogging.
Want to know what routine and products will work specifically to minimize your pores? Have a chat with our skin specialists here.