Everything You Need To Know About Pores
What Is a Pore?
In the simplest terms, a pore is “an opening in the skin that allows liquids and oxygen to pass through.” A lot of these pores also house hair follicles. And within each one, you’ll find oil and sweat glands. The pores themselves are the openings that allow these substances to reach the surface of the skin.
What Causes Large Pores?
Although you probably identify pores as those little spaces of air in your skin, they’re actually the opening of a hair follicle. The hairs are often so small they’re not visible, but due to the oil glands that are at the base of the follicle, the follicle can over-grow, causing your pores to enlarge, which makes them more noticeable. But, no matter how many pore-busting products you apply, they’ll never go away completely, as the original size of your pores is determined by genetics and hormones. The best you can do is keep your pores as unclogged as possible and avoid squeezing them, which is what stretches them out. You can help to minimize their appearance, but you won’t get rid of them entirely.
How to Minimize the Appearance of Pores:
1. Wear SPF
“The sun dehydrates your skin and makes the oil glands over-grow.” so it’ll “make your pores look bigger.” And all that extra oil can also cause the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, due to the excess oil that blocks the skin. Always wear an SPF 50 with 5-star UVA rating during the summer months, however, during the winter months, you can get away with an SPF or moisturizer containing SPF 25 or 30. Make sure you apply it at the end of your skincare regime but before you apply your makeup, as the SPF acts as a barrier.
2. Double cleanse
One of the easiest ways to enhance the quality of your skin and make your pores appear smaller is to thoroughly remove any oil, dirt and other impurities that are lying on the surface. The quickest way to do this to employ double cleansing. It’s super simple, all you do is cleanse your skin using an oil cleanser, and then you cleanse once more using a foam, cream or gel cleanser, whichever formula suits your skin type. The better you get at cleansing, the less dirt and oil will clog your pores, which will help to minimize their appearance.
3. Exfoliate with acids weekly
Just like double cleansing, exfoliating will further help to reduce the build-up of debris in your pores, which can make them look bigger. Since one of the most important methods for removing impurities and dead skin is exfoliation, it’s an integral step in the pore-minimizing process. But we’re not talking about using grainy exfoliators that have the potential to literally strip your skin, instead, we’re talking about chemical exfoliators. These acid-based formulas penetrate deep into your pores and can dissolve the glue that holds all the sebum and dirt together, effectively dislodging all the dead skin cells and unclogging the pore.
4. Use a retinoid
A great topical agent for minimizing the appearance of your pores is retinol, which is essentially vitamin A. However, when you apply it to the skin it converts to retinoic acid, which boosts skin cell turnover and thickens the deeper layer of your skin. Not only does it smooth out wrinkles by increasing collagen production, it also decreases oil production and thereby tightens pores and helps to reduce acne. Remember, less oil = smaller looking pores.
How to: Because retinol is very strong, it’s best to start slow – especially if you have rosacea, sensitive or very dry skin (consider consulting with your dermatologist first). For the first two weeks, start using it only once or twice a week. By week three, use it two to three times a week, and after one month, if your skin hasn’t had a reaction (got very dry), you can then try using it every other night.
A gentle steam can do serious things for your skin, most importantly it’ll majorly hydrate your skin which means your pores will be more receptive to other topical products that you apply. Once your skin is soft and supple, you can apply other products to exfoliate your pores.
Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
Apple cider vinegar actually contains natural AHAs, which means it will gently exfoliate the skin. Simply mix organic apple cider vinegar with distilled water in equal parts to create a toner, and then apply it onto cleansed skin with a cotton pad – warning, it does smell quite potent!
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