Beauty and Lifestyle Expert
When it comes to pores, bigger is not better. So can pore size be reduced and complexions better off for it? Emma Bangay checks it out.
Where we have skin, we have pores. No bigger than a pinhole – at best – pores contain glands and hair follicles and are where the skin’s natural oils are released onto the surface. So why, you may ask, is something so minute, such a big deal when it comes to your complexion?
Because if pores aren’t working efficiently, pimples and acne occur, and as Amy Erbacher, Skin Health Expert + Therapist explains it, this can lead to all manner of strife.
“The sebaceous glands are attached to the hair follicles, especially around the T-zone of the face,” she explains, referring to the forehead, nose and chin area. “The hair follicles are more dense here and therefore this area tends to get oilier, and pores enlarged.”
Pore Size Predictors:
Pores can differ in size due to heritage and the environment, Amy explains, noting that lifestyle also plays a huge part in the behaviour of your pores. “A processed diet, sugary foods and not drinking plentiful amounts of water can trigger inflammation and unbalanced sebum production,” she cautions. “The key is to keep the skin as clean as possible and remove excess dirt and bacteria they may lead to blocked pores and acne.”
Samantha Menzies, Skin & Laser Specialist. Face Plus Medispa, adds that “if someone’s skin is extremely dehydrated, or unbalanced, or if they are using the wrong skin care products at home, this can also cause a pores to look enlarged.”
If reducing your pores is your prime focus, there are at-home remedies you can try, assures Samantha, which includes products containing a low dose of Retinyl Palmitate (a form of vitamin A) and propolis extract are beneficial.
Applied in the evening, this topical ingredient is very important. “This regulates keratinocyte turnover and assists slough off dead skin cells,” she explains. Vitamin B3- Niacinamide is also great for the overall health and skins immunity and regulating and balancing sebum production, and Salicylic Acid – BHA dissolves dead keratin cells plugging pores and help prevent acne.
However, Amy is quick to caution that “abuse of ingredients such as Retinols and BHA’S can dry out the skin, and cause sensitivity. My rule of thumb in treating the skin is always less is more.”
Do Try This At Home:
“Keep skin clean and to invest in gentle exfoliating products, like a cleansing lotion containing AHA’S and BHA’s,” suggests Amy. “The key is not to over exfoliate,” she adds. “You don’t want to strip the skin of its natural oils as well as over stimulate the skin.”
Her tip is to cleanse well once in the morning and twice in the evening to ensure make-up and other surface impurities have gently been washed away. “And invest in a lightweight moisturizing lotion or gel serum to keep your skin barrier nourished and protected.”
No matter what you do, your heritage, environment or natural oil production may conquer any type of topical treatment, experts agree. “You can’t make pores disappear,” Amy warns. “You can temporarily shrink the size and improve the overall texture and clarity of your skin.”
Probably the most long-term results are found in salon, Samantha adds.
“A Laser called NdYAG, or commonly known as Laser Genesis, can tighten and plump up the skin,” she says. “With zero downtime, a package of minimum three treatments will create new collagen, firming the skin and tightening your pores.” Vitamin A resurfacing facials can also refine the skin and normalize oil secretions, she says, and Dermastamping can also be effective. “This infuses a hydrating protein into the deeper skin layers, giving it a faster and more direct way to rejuvenate skin,” she explains.
Amy is quick to add that if you don’t want to go down the laser or needling route, “a course of gentle peels containing salicylic + lactic acid,” is also effective in salon, as is gentle microdermabrasion for thicker skin types, followed by a peel and moisturizing mask.
What To Avoid:
“You want to let the skin breathe so don’t smother with occlusive ingredients such as thick and waxy emollients,” advises Amy. “If your skin is congested and very oily, I’d stay away from heavy ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, thick and heavy carrier oils like coconut oil, mineral oils- no heavy waxy occlusive ingredients or creams.”