Open skin pores would be one of the most common skin concerns and affect all skin types and all ages.
Unfortunately, they’re not like garage doors – they don’t automatically open and shut.
You see, there are no muscles controlling your pores and they need to remain open to allow you to sweat, get rid of dirt and grime, and keep your lipid barrier healthy. Your lipid barrier is made of sebum (a beautiful cocktail of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, and metabolites of fat-producing cells). Sebum is essential in keeping our skin waterproof and lubricated. A healthy and balanced lipid barrier remain is needed for strong glowing skin -the alternative is red, inflamed, dry and damaged skin.
However, your pore structure changes when they become clogged and the usual suspects are dead skin debris, sebum, dirt and makeup. As the clogging material grows so does your pore and sometimes is visible as a blackhead. The pore becomes “stretched” rather than open.
Pores can also look enlarged due to the loss of elasticity in the skin as we age. Sun damage can contribute to this as it causes the skin to thicken and skin cells to collect around the edges of the pores, and stretches them.
Genetics may also play a part in the size of your pores, which means you’re more likely to have larger pores if your parents do and in general, males tend to have larger pores than females.
So, do you dig out the clogged pore?
Picking clogged pores can lead to infection and possible scarring.
By introducing skin care ingredients such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) into your homecare program you can lift out the debris clogging your pores and help prevent new ones developing. Exfoliants (not scrubs) can help dissolve the clogged pores by “sloughing” off dead skin cells.
Cleansing your skin with a gentle gel or milk cleanser morning and night helps remove dirt, pollution and make up – the major contributors to blocking pores.
At night a double cleanse ensures skin is completely free of makeup and the day’s dirt and pollution. A mild skin tonic after cleansing helps restore your skin’s pH (always acidic) and assists with better distribution of your AHA and BHA serums, finish with a hydrating lotion that is suitable for your skin type. Your skin is now well hydrated (looking after your lipid barrier) and most important of all – free of unwanted clogging material.
A well-formulated serum with pore refining and exfoliating ingredients (such as Mandelic and Salicylic acids) helps reduce surface sebum and exfoliate the dead cell build up in the follicle. The result- the appearance of your large pores is reduced.
Here are some tips further minimise pore size and reduce congestion…
- Cleanse morning and night
- Double cleanse at night
- Avoid oils or occlusive skin products (they block your pores)
- Avoid soap cleansers – too alkaline and cause your skin to produce more sebum.
- Avoid thick foundations
- Cleanse skin AFTER a shower – steam expands your pores for a brief time this allows your cleanser to work more efficiently.
- Use serums with BHAs
Following these simple tips means you won’t be thinking about whether pores open or close… in fact, you won’t be thinking about pores at all.