WHAT ARE PORES?
Pores are small openings in the skin. They are the tiny dots you see on the surface of your skin, if you look closely. The size of pores may vary due to genetic factors, where pores may appear more obvious in some than in others.
Pores are connected to the sebaceous and sweat glands in the deeper layers of the skin. These are what releases sebum (our body’s natural oils) and sweat onto the surface of the skin, to ensure our skin is naturally moisturized. These openings also house hair follicles.
CAUSES OF ENLARGED PORES
While the size of pores is genetic and cannot be altered (more on this later), their appearance may change over time as certain factors contribute to enlarged pores, therefore causing them to become more noticeable.
Among causes of enlarged pores are:
- high levels of sebum production
- reduced skin elasticity (especially around pores)
- genetics or hereditary factors
- sun damage or overexposure to the sun
CAN YOU MINIMIZE PORES?
Possibly the most common myth or misconception surrounding pores is that certain products or methods are able to “reduce” the size of pores, or eliminate them altogether. Unfortunately, that’s all a marketing gimmick. You can’t get rid of pores and neither should you want to, as pores serve their own purpose in maintaining healthy skin.
Pores cannot open or close like doors because they do not have muscles which allow them to do so, and there is no altering the size of pores. What you can do, however, is reduce the appearance of pores by “blurring” them out. How? Read on!
- PRACTICE DOUBLE CLEANSING
Pores usually appear larger and more obvious because they are clogged, filled with dirt and sebum. This can easily be overcome by practising double-cleansing. Double cleansing is a cleansing method made popular in Asia, where you use an oil-based cleanser first and a water-based cleanser second, to wash your face. Remember that you need two different formulas of cleansers to properly and thoroughly cleanse your face, such as a cleansing oil or cleansing balm paired with a gel-type cleanser, for example.
Using an oil-based cleanser together with your regular cleanser can soften skin while decongesting pores, by gently removing debris and excess sebum, moisturizing the skin in the process. Double cleansing is able to clean the skin more thoroughly compared to only using one type of cleanser, especially if you wear makeup.
- PRACTICE THE #60SECONDRULE
The #60SecondRule is a cleansing method created and made popular by American aesthetician Nayamka Roberts-Smith, or more fondly known as Nai. Nai first talked about this method via her Twitter account, @LABeautyologist, in 2018.
According to her, cleansing your face (gently, with your fingers) for 60 seconds allows the ingredients in the cleanser to actually work. Most people only wash their face for 15 seconds tops, which does not allow the cleanser to really do its job. Practising the #60SecondRule can help soften the skin and properly dissolve sebum blockages. This will aid in unclogging pores and minimizing their appearance, also improving overall skin texture. Additionally, a thoroughly cleansed face allows following skincare products, such as toners and serums, to absorb better into the skin, therefore maximizing efficiency and allowing you to reap the full benefits of your skincare regime.
To apply the #60SecondRule, gently massage your cleanser on your skin for 60 seconds using your fingertips. This applies to both first and second cleansers, meaning you should use them for 60 seconds each.
- EXFOLIATE REGULARLY
Regular exfoliation helps to make sure your pores are clean and appear refined, by removing dead skin cells that could potentially clog pores. You can either use hydroxy acids (chemical exfoliants) if you’re familiar with them, such AHAs and BHAs, or you can use le olde traditional scrub. There are a lot of products you can choose from like the famous By Wishtrend Mandelic Water, The Ordinary Lactic Acid or Pixi Glow Tonic. Gentle physical scrubs like the Skinfood Rice Scrub & Mask and St. Ives Green Tea Scrub are among other popular choices.
Regular usage of exfoliants will help to remove dirt, oil and dead skin cells before they start clogging pores, which in turn reduces their appearance. Not only can regular exfoliation keep your pores clean, but it also helps brighten up your complexion! Just remember not to exfoliate too much, as over-exfoliating could cause damage to your natural moisture barrier.
- HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Dehydrated skin can lead to pores looking larger than they actually are because the skin surrounding those pores has lost some plumpness. Keeping your skin adequately hydrated will ensure that it stays plump and this, in turn, will make your pores appear smaller. When your skin is properly hydrated, the plumper the surrounding skin will be, and the less visible the pores will seem. Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, beta-glucan and ferment extracts such as Galactomyces and Bifida are excellent hydrating ingredients to look for in skincare products. Kayman Beauty Skintella Repairing Serum, Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion & SK-II Pitera Facial Essence are amongst a few popular products that feature the aforementioned ingredients.
- PUT ON YOUR SUNSCREEN
Our skin contains structural proteins called collagen and elastin. Unprotected sun exposure will break down these proteins over time, leading to loss of volume and elasticity. When the foundation of your skin is damaged, your pores will appear larger and your skin will start to sag because the “glue” that holds it together has deteriorated. To rebuild collagen and elastin once it’s gone is very hard (though not impossible), so spare yourself the hassle and wear sunscreen religiously.
Pores, especially on the cheeks and forehead, can appear larger as you age, or when your pores are dirty and clogged. While nothing actually causes pores to open or close, preventive treatments are available so that we can make them appear smaller and maintain their refined appearance.
Bunny & Fiqah.