Be it skincare ads, the internet or any magazine - everyone is looking for solutions to shrink skin pores. There are so many products like face masks, exfoliation masks, detoxifying masks, serums, creams and so on that claim to be helpful in ‘reducing’ the pores. On top of that, the internet is abuzz with tips and tricks to reduce, shrink or unclog the pores.
The point is, there is no shortage of information around pores around us! But how much of it is relevant?
Let’s look at pores and find answers to specific key questions surrounding them!
What are pores?
Pores are small openings in the skin through which oil and sweat reach the surface from their respective glands.
We have two types of pores: oil pores and sweat pores.
Oil pores - These are present all over the entire surface of your skin, except for the skin on the palms of your hands and the soles on your feet. These pores are large enough to be visible ad are connected to an oil gland. So when you talk about having large or blocked pores, it is mainly about these pores.
Sweat pores - These pores are present all over your skin and are really tiny; you cannot spot them easily with naked eyes. These pores cause excessive sweating when they are overactive.
Do pores open and close?
If you think that pores are like doors, they open and close, then you are mistaken! For example, steaming your face, working out or using specific face masks will not really ‘open your pores’ or ‘let them breathe’.
Why are my pores so big?
It could be genetic!
You can blame (or thank) your ancestors for the state of your pores. This is because genetics play a huge role in deciding the size of your skin pores. So, if your parents have large pores and oily skin, you are very much likely to have the same.
Age plays a role.
Ageing is inevitable, but skin damage isn’t. As we age, our skin looses its elasticity. It leads to saggy and stretched skin. As the skin relaxes and we loose the skin firmness of youth, our pores become even more visible. The sagging of skin stretches pores into a ‘tear’ shape.
While genetics and ageing are one of the main reasons behind enlarged pores, your certain lifestyle and skin habits can also be a contributing factor to worsening your pores:
- Increased sun time
Sun is not good for your skin, and this is common knowledge! Years upon years of fun in the sun (without any SPF or other protection) lead to inflammation and thickening of skin cells. Scorched cells pool around a pore’s edges and make them appear even larger.
- Bad habits, bad pores
Bad skin habits like smoking or consumption of too much alcohol damage your skin in ways you cannot imagine. They shrink your blood vessels and leave your skin wanting for nourishment and oxygen. This speeds up the ageing process. Similarly, bad diet, lack of hydration and bad hygiene lead to many skin problems.
If you are bothered by the size of your pores, then here are a few things that you can do about them. But before we begin, do keep in mind that you cannot make them disappear, but you can use certain products to reduce the oiliness and acne that can reduce their appearance:
Wash your face twice daily: Keeping your skin dirt and oil-free is one of the key steps towards getting flawless skin. Use a gentle face wash or cleanser to keep your skin clean. If you wear makeup, then make sure that you remove it completely before going to sleep.
Exfoliate regularly: Exfoliating can break down the bond between dead skin cells, oil and other junk in your pores. This will reduce the clogging of pores. You can use sea algae face masks after exfoliating. This will further help in detoxifying your skin. Wear sunscreen: using sunscreen with at least SPF 30 will help prevent photoaging and loss of collagen and elastin. This will prevent your skin from sagging and eventually help in preventing your pores from becoming more noticeable.
Include retinoids in your skincare routine: Topical retinoids like retinol, retinal, tretinoin are forms of Vit A. They help in speeding up skin cell turnover and reduce the signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and so on. Treating the signs of ageing can make the pores less visible.
The bottom line is, you might find your (large) pores annoying, but they play an important role in keeping your skin from drying out. It is better that you embrace them and follow healthy skincare practices to keep them healthy and infection-free. While using any ‘hot or cold’ treatments or face masks gives you some temporary relief, they won’t produce any long-lasting effects.