Enlarged pores are concern for many women of all ages and skin types, especially for those with oily and combination skin. If you don’t take care of your skin properly these pores will become larger and larger and may be easily clogged which usually leads to blackheads, pimples, discolorations, excessive sebum production. If you don’t treat them at early stage the pores can look worse than they actually are. They usually appear on the T-zone - forehead, chin and especially around the nose and a concern mainly during puberty.
The large pores are generally “little openings of the hair follicle onto the surface of the skin that provide a way for the oil glands underneath to lubricate and protect the surface of your skin”. Pores play a vital role in skin physiology and are a natural part of the skin and without them the skin won’t be able “to breathe”. Their secretion ensures essential skin moisture and oiliness and all the nutrients are supplied through them.
- Sun damage
- Hormonal changes
- Skin dehydration
- Trapped dirt, oil, dead skin cells
- Improper cleansing
- Excessive oil production
- Overuse of makeup
- Improper diet
- Puberty, menopause
Genetics may cause enlargement of the pores since people with combination or oily skin tend to have larger looking pores. If your mother or father have large pores this simply means that you are more prone to have them too.
Sun damage may also cause them. The sun’s harmful rays cause the skin to thicken and the skin cells may collect around the pores which makes pores appear larger. Also as we know the sun damages the collagen and elastin in the skin and as a result the skin loses its elasticity and the pores enlarge because there is no collagen to keep them tight and small. Once the collagen and elastin in your skin is damaged the pores will begin to enlarge.
Improper skin care - in 78 percent of the cases the pores enlarge due to improper skin care. If you don’t remove your makeup in the evening, don’t cleanse your face twice a day, don’t use moisturizers and don’t exfoliate your skin regularly you are more likely to have enlarged pores. It’s essential to exfoliate your face at least twice a week to remove the dead skin cells, otherwise the surface oil and the dead cells may collect around your pores and make them appear large.
Blackheads and pimples may cause large pores if not treated properly. For example, if you squeeze a blackhead or a pimple you may stretch the pore.
Excessive oil production is another cause because if the oil glands produce large amounts of sebum the pore will be forced to expand itself in order to release the oil. Excessive oil production usually appears on the T-zone as these areas contain more oil glands than other areas.
Puberty because as we know during puberty the skin begins to produce more oil and the pores have to enlarge in order to be able to handle the increased output.
Pores appear enlarged when they are clogged, dilated, infected and that’s why the best way to keep your pores small and less visible is to keep your skin clean all the time. Often the pores get clogged with dead skin cells, dirt, oil which makes them appear more prominent and that’s why regular skin exfoliation is essential in order to remove the dead skin cells and to allow your skin to produce new, healthier cells.
Unfortunately there is no way to make them invisible and to shrink them for ever but there are a few things and procedures you can do to minimize their appearance.
Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical procedure designed to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin by using a tool that sprays tiny microcrystal particles on the skin. Microdermabrasion is an ideal procedure for shrinking enlarged pores - it lessens the appearance of pores by roughening up the skin, loosening the dead skin cells that clog the pores. Microdermabrasion performed by a professional can stimulate collagen production which is essential for healthy-looking skin. The treatment removes the upper layer of the skin and reduces not only the size of the pores, but also wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, acne scars, blemishes. In most cases 2/ 3 treatments are enough to minimize the appearance.
Chemical peels are also effective for reducing the size, look and appearance. Chemical peel with Trichloreacetic acid (TCA) is the most appropriate peel as the acid penetrates more deeply into the skin and removes the damaged layers of the skin, allowing new cells to form.
Laser resurfacing is another procedure that is effective in treating. Laser resurfacing treatment treats not only large pores but also wrinkles, discolorations caused by sun damage, post-acne scars and the best thing is that it boost collagen production which is essential for the skin’s elasticity and healthy look. The procedure tones, lifts and tightens skin on the face and stimulates long-term collagen and elastin rebuilding.
Chemical peels, Microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing all work to reduce the appearance not only of large pores, but also improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, age spots, scars, discolorations and other imperfections.
Deep pore cleansing treatment – the facial includes exfoliating, toning, cleansing, moisturizing, extractions. It’s the best treatment caused by puberty as it balances oil (sebum) production, removes congestion and encourages healthy new cells to form. Deep pore cleansing should be performed by a beautician or by a dermatologist to achieve best results.
Topical vitamin A treatments
These include: Retin A, Renova, Avage, Tretinoin. Vitamin A is believed to help minimize pores’ size. They all unclog pores by loosening blackheads and speeding up cell turnover.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
AHAs and BHAs are effective in preventing enlargement of the pores as they exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. Both AHAs and BHAs stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and provide smoother, brighter-looking skin. Common use AHAs in products are: Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, Salicylic Acid, Malic Acid.
At home remedies
Exoliation is essential for keeping your skin clean and to prevent enlargement of facial pores. Use a mild exfoliator to remove the dead skin cells twice a week, but make sure it’s appropriate for your skin type. Another alternative for at-home exfoliation are the Microdermabrasion kits such as: L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Microdermabrasion Kit ($23), SPA Sciences Acne Microdermabrasion Kit ($50), Vita K Solution Microdermabrasion Kit ($20), Nivea Visage Micro-Dermabrasion Kit Q 10 Gentle SPA ($20). These kits usually include gentle exfoliator and post-treatment moisturizer. These products not only refinish skin’s texture but also erase sun damage, reduce discoloration, smooth signs of aging, refine pores and even out skin tone.
- Reduce the excess oiliness
As we said these pores can be caused by excess oil (sebum) production and that’s why it’s essential to control the sebum production. Fortunately there are some products, specially designed for this aim. They reduce and control the excess surface oil and prevent clogging of the pores and pore plugging which usually contributes to pore visibility. Such products are: Clearasil Daily Control Cream Cleanser with green tea and peppermint ($8), Phytomer Oligopur Shine Control Moisturizing Fluid ($35), Biore Shine Control Moisturizer ($7), Lancome Pure Focus Shine Control Moisturizing Fluid ($35), Clinique Pore Minimizer T-Zone Shine Control ($17.50). Look for products containing Nordihydraguaiaretic Acid as it reduce the sebum production.
- Use pore minimizing lotions and creams
Using a pore minimizing (refining) products should be an essential part of your skin care regimen to keep your facial pores under control. These products target the production of sebum deep in the pores, clear away debris and reduce the size of the large pores. One of the best pore minimizing products are: Lancome Pure Focus Matifying Purifying Lotion ($35), Clinique Pore Minimizer Refining Lotion ($18.50), Neutrogena Pore Refining Cream ($11.50), Yves Rocher Pore Refining Moisturizer ($15), DermaDoctor Picture Perfect Pore Minimizing Solution ($40).Look for moisturizers containing natural ingredients, vitamins, retinol to increase the collagen production.
- Do a tightening face mask
Do a pore refining mask once or twice a week to keep your pores clean and under control. These masks deeply cleanse pores and draw out the impurities while refining the skin’s texture. Such pore refining masks are: Burt’ Bee Pore Refining Mask ($9), Neutrogena Pore Refining Mask ($11.50), Estee Lauder So Clean Deep Pore Mask ($19.50), Avon Pore Minimizer Mask ($9.50), Biore Pore Perfect Self-Heating Mask ($7).
- Steam your face
Steam your face once a week to thoroughly deep clean your large pores, to loosen debris and to open the pores. The high temperature helps the pores to open and this way the skin will clear itself from the toxins. Apply a deep cleaning face mask after steaming your face.
- A mild exfoliation will help keep your pores clear and less apparent.
- Treat enlarged pores at early stage to prevent future problems.
- If untreated properly they may lead to acne, skin infections and frequent breakouts.
- Remember: the best way to prevent enlarged facial pores is to keep your skin clean and well moisturizer.
- Daily usage of oil controlling products will prevent formation.
- Do a deep-pore cleansing once or twice a month to keep your pores clear and to prevent clogging.
- Use products containing alpha hydroxy acids.
- You can improve the appearance of your pores by regular exfoliation.
- Use pore minimizing products every day.
- Always cleanse your face twice a day to keep your skin clean and fresh.
- Never skip to remove your makeup in the evening to prevent clogging of the pores.
- Make sure all your makeup products are noncomedogenic.
- Remember: any irritation can cause the pores to overreact.
- Use lukewarm to rinse your face, hot water can enlarge facial pores.
- Never use harsh soaps and astringents to cleanse your face.
- Don’t squeeze blackheads or pimples cause your may stretch the pore.
- Use strips to remove blackheads on your nose, chin and forehead.
- Always wear sunscreen with SPF at least 15 because the sun may cause large pores.
- Eat many fruits and vegetables.
- Drink lots of water every day to keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid applying any irritants to your skin because if your skin is irritated the pores will appear larger.
- Keep your makeup tools clean to avoid inflammation.
- Rub your skin with an ice cube as it closes your pores and keeps any dirt out.
How To Hide Them With Makeup
Follow these simple steps when applying makeup to hide large pores and to achieve a flawless look:
- Cleanse and tone your face
- Use an ice cube or cool water to “shrink” them
- Apply moisturizer
- Apply Oil-controlling product
- Apply pore minimizing product
- Apply makeup primer
- Apply foundation
- Apply loose powder