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Say goodbye to the gunk: A guide to minimising your skin pores

Genetics, skin type, sun exposure, and age all have a role in the size and look of your pores. And, regardless of their size, they perform a critical role. So, while pores are really vital for our skin, we can make them less visible – and minimising their appearance isn’t as difficult as you may think! Continue reading to learn everything about skin pores.

What are skin pores and what causes them?

Before we get into some tried-and-tested professional approaches, let’s first understand why pores grow larger in the first place. Clogged pores occur when dead skin cells, oil, or dirt get stuck in the pores. Pores are little openings in your skin that allow oil and sweat to escape from your glands. Experts believe blackheads as open, clogged pores. Whiteheads are closed, plugged pores. The former is frequently responsible for the appearance of large, dark pores on the face.

Can you actually minimise the size of your pores?

Image: Courtesy Pexels

Since the size of the pores is genetically determined, there isn’t much you can do to change their predetermined size. However, they might appear larger if the collagen around them weakens (due to factors such as ageing, sun exposure, or picking at your skin) or if they get clogged with dirt, oil, and bacteria. Experts believe that those with oily skin have larger pores than those with dry skin, and that large pores are mostly caused by excess sebum production.

Although you can’t get rid of your pores (remember, you can’t live without them) or change their size permanently, you can minimise their appearance to some extent using at-home remedies and in-office treatments. Continue reading for tips on how to make your pores look smaller, as well as the best pore-minimising products and treatments to try.

How to minimise pores?

Maintain a daily routine of cleansing your face

Not cleansing your skin properly might lead to additional buildup and exacerbate the appearance of pores. Wash with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water in the morning, and before bedtime, try a double cleanse with a cleaning oil or cleansing balm first, followed by the same gentle cleanser you used in the morning. Oil-based cleansers effectively remove makeup while also helping in the breakdown of clogged pores and blackheads.

Get your hands on an ice roller

The cooling sensation not only feels amazing on the face and quickly reduces puffiness and redness, but it can also help minimise the appearance of large pores. Although the effect is temporary, the cold from the roller can restrict your pores and make them appear smaller for a few hours.

Include a scrub in your weekly skin care regimen

Including a scrub in your skin care routine is also beneficial. Just be cautious not to over-exfoliate the skin; doctors recommend a weekly scrub. However, search for a gentle exfoliant. Though exfoliation is crucial for removing dead skin cells, you might wind up irritating your skin (if you use a rough exfoliator), which can cause swelling and make your pores look even larger.

Use acids

When it comes to penetrating and “cleaning up” your pores, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid are the holy grail of ingredients. AHAs and BHAs, according to experts, destroy the connections between your cells and the surface of your skin, thereby ‘unclogging’ pores.

Incorporate retinol

Retinol not only helps to smooth wrinkles and brightens dark spots, but it also acts to prevent acne and minimise pores. The power of retinol stems from its ability to boost collagen formation while concurrently lowering oil production. This results in smoother skin, less breakouts and blackheads, and tighter pores.

Because retinol might be irritating at first (you’ll probably have a couple weeks of dry, flaky skin), you should begin with a mild formula. Every other night, smooth a pea-size dab over thoroughly dry, clean skin—on the opposite day you use your BHA/AHA—wait five minutes for it to soak, then apply your moisturiser. But be warned: retinoids and retinols are quite strong, so start slowly and gradually increase your frequency as your skin develops tolerance. Consult your dermatologist about how many times a week you should use retinol based on your skin type.

Mask weekly

Great news! Your self-care masking activities can actually help to reduce the size of your pores. According to experts, clay and charcoal masks assist to pull away buildup, germs, and oil—basically anything that clogs and expands pores. Masking, like exfoliation, has only transient benefits, thus these treatments must be performed at least weekly to maintain results.

Always wear sunscreen

The sun breaks collagen, which is crucial for keeping your skin tight and elastic, leaving you with larger pores and stretchier skin with repeated exposure.

Prep with a primer

Makeup has a way of creeping into your pores and wrinkles and highlighting them. The quick fix? A silicone primer for makeup. These silky gel-like products function by filling in your large pores, allowing you to seamlessly apply your foundation on top. Of course, this isn’t a long-term solution, but if your sole worry is how your pores effect your makeup, a great primer should suffice.

Consider a laser treatment

Lasers, according to experts, are an excellent technique to treat pore issues. With minimum pain, laser stimulates the skin’s deepest layers to smooth and plump your complexion. You receive the advantages of retinol, sunscreen, and acids all at the same time. Keeping this in mind, the procedure is not cheap. Consult your dermatologist to determine the best therapy for your skin and wallet.

Consider a skin-tightening treatment

Skin tightening treatments such as radio-frequency and ultrasound not only make your skin seem smooth and firm, but they also help to reduce pore size. These non-invasive treatments employ heat radiation to cause a controlled damage to your skin, which stimulates the creation of collagen and elastin. The end result? Skin that is fresher, younger, and tighter, with pores that appear substantially smaller. Skin tightening treatments, on the other hand, take time to work, so don’t anticipate any overnight miracles. According to experts, most effects appear a few weeks after therapy and remain for around six months.

All Images: Courtesy Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Can you reduce pore size?

Answer: Since pore size is primarily determined by genetics, it is impossible to permanently shrink them. However, you may minimise their visibility by keeping them free of oil and dirt and increasing the collagen and elastin levels in your skin. These methods also keep pores from expanding.

Question: What causes large pores on my face?

Answer: Pores might seem bigger due to clogged pores or an oily complexion. Cleansing twice a day can help to unclog pores, prevent clogged pores, and reduce oiliness.

Question: Do pores get bigger with age?

Answer: As you get older, your skin loses elasticity, causing it to stretch and droop and make your pores appear larger. As you get older, your skin thickens, which causes small skin cells to accumulate around your pores, making them appear larger.

Say goodbye to the gunk: A guide to minimising your skin pores

Anushka likes to write about fashion, beauty, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she likes to make her Pinterest boards come to life.


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