How to minimise the appearance of pores
“How can I get rid of my pores?” is likely one of the most frequently asked questions in beauty forums and skincare clinics alike. When it comes to getting rid of them, the reality is that you can’t, and nor should you want to – they’re hair follicles which contain an oil-secreting gland, and they have an essential part to play in the health of our skin. Nevertheless, there are various things that you can do to minimise their appearance. Here we will explain what our pores do and the steps you can take to refine your complexion and prevent them from enlarging further – no miracles required.
Why are pores visible?
Pores may appear to be small dots on the surface of our skin, but they are actually small openings to our hair follicles. There are two different types – one releases sebum and the other releases sweat. Together, they work to enable oil, sweat and sebum to move from our glands to the surface of our skin, which is crucial for a healthy complexion.
What causes large pores?
Our genetics usually determine the appearance and size of our pores, but there are other factors which may have an impact. An overproduction of sebum can make them appear larger – if the pores are congested with dirt, grime or sebum, this can stretch them and make them appear darker and more noticeable.
Pores can also appear to grow in size as we age, which is due to the depletion of collagen and elastin in our skin.
Sun exposure is another common culprit. The sun dehydrates the skin, which leads to overgrown oil glands and in turn, pores appear larger.
As for other factors, the overall condition of our skin has a significant role to play. Inadequate cleansing, the use of occlusive makeup and an off-balance skincare routine can also contribute.
Is it possible to shrink pores?
Whilst it’s true that some days our pores may appear larger than others, the idea that we can ‘open’ and ‘close’ our pores is false. To put it simply, pores are openings in the skin; they don’t have any muscles attached to them so they can’t pull and contract.
When cold water hits the surface of the skin, our blood vessels constrict, making pores appear smaller for the short time that they’re cool, while hot water can help to loosen sebum and debris sitting inside of the pore. The actual size doesn’t change during this process.
So, how can we minimise their appearance?
Consider your cleanser: Rigorous cleansing is an essential first step in helping pores to stay at their natural size. Makeup, grime and pollution sit on the skin throughout the day and need to be thoroughly removed to prevent pores from becoming clogged and enlarged. A double cleanse is key here: first, remove makeup, then massage a second layer to get rid of the grime. Check out the SkinCeuticals Blemish & Age Cleanser which is specially formulated with AHAs and BHAs to decongest pores and smooth textural irregularities.
Add in a chemical exfoliant: Chemical exfoliation is a great way to keep pores clean, clear and refined. Incorporating a daily exfoliator into your routine can work wonders. It speeds up cellular turnover and prevents congested pores, which appear bigger.
A pre-soaked peel pad containing an alpha hydroxy acid is an excellent option for a quick, easy, exfoliation. Our go-to? Try the AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads which are packed with a triple-acid (glycolic, lactic and salicylic) formulation to exfoliate and brighten the skin.
Refine with a retinol: Retinol is the gold standard in skin-smoothing, but it’s also pretty nifty at promoting cellular regeneration, which means it will help to shed old skin cells to prevent them from causing blockages. We currently love the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5%.
Rethink your foundation: Heavy and long-wearing foundations often contain oils that block and enlarge pores, so opt for something non-comedogenic like Oxygenetix, which increases the skin’s oxygen uptake and encourages collagen regeneration.
Slather on the sunscreen: Using a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection will help prevent photoaging and the UV-exposure-related loss of collagen and elastin that leads to loss of firmness in the skin. In turn, it helps to prevent your pores from becoming more noticeable. Try the Institut Esthederm Photo Reverse which is designed to diminish the appearance of any existing sun damage, whilst protecting the skin from future damage. It also contains an antioxidant formula which unifies the skin tone and conceals irregularities.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.