Having visible or large pores is perfectly normal, everyone has them. But from time to time, you may experience them looking quite large on the skin, and this can be due to a range of reasons. There are things you can do to minimise the appearance of your pores.
What are pores?
Pores are small openings around hair follicles and sweat glands. They allow liquids and gases to travel through the surface of the skin and are found anywhere we have oil glands, this can include the nose, chin and forehead. They can appear small or large depending on numerous factors, but will, ultimately, always be there. You can’t get rid of them or shrink them, just minimise their appearance on the surface of your skin.
What causes large pores?
There are various factors that contribute to the size of pores on the surface of the skin. This can range from:
If you have naturally oily skin, you are more prone to having bigger pores. This is because when your skin produces oil and sweat, it expands the pore walls and pores appear larger on the surface of the skin. Excess oil production, dead skin cells and dirt collected in pores can additionally result in acne or breakouts.
As we age, the elasticity within your body diminishes and collagen production declines which leaves the skin drier, thinner and issues such as scarring take a long time to fade and signs of ageing appear like wrinkles. Pores are elastic, and a decline in collagen and elasticity mean that they may stay stretched out after being filled with elements such as oil and skincare/makeup products.
Ageing is not the only factor that contributes to a loss of elasticity and collagen, but sun damage can play a massive role in diminishing these levels too. It causes the pores to stretch, and then no longer have the ability to contract back into shape.
Typically, men have larger pores than women due to the hormone testosterone that stimulates the sebaceous glands (microscopic glands found in hair follicles) to produce natural oils on the surface of the skin. In women, hormonal changes such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and puberty all have an effect on the pores due to the fluctuation in hormones being released. This usually causes the skin to produce excess oil, leaving the pores appearing enlarged.
If large pores and oily skin run within your family, you may be more prone to getting these traits, too.
Comedogenic makeup & skincare
A comedogenic product is one that contains ingredients that result in clogged pores, which can enhance the appearance of pores. Some examples of comedogenic ingredients are lanolin, cocoa butter and coconut oil.
How to get rid of large pores
Although it’s not possible to completely remove the appearance of pores, it is possible to reduce the size of them so that they are smaller. Here are a few ways to get rid of large pores:
It’s important that when you are looking for a cleanser, you look for something that does not completely strip the skin of natural oils. If these natural oils are extracted from the skin, then the skin will produce more and more of it, resulting in oily skin and visible pores. If you have normal to dry skin, try opting for a creamy cleanser that can add some level of moisture back into the skin. If you have oily skin, look for a gel based cleanser.
Exfoliating on a regular basis is one of the most effective methods to decreasing the size and appearance of pores. You can exfoliate around 1–2 times a week, any more can cause further damage to your skin barrier such as redness and irritation. Exfoliation helps to remove any excess oil, dirt, or dead skin cells that cause clogged or large pores. It also promotes new skin cells to grow, resulting in smoother, softer and even skin. If you are suffering from a breakout or severe acne, however, you should avoid exfoliating as this can cause further irritation and scarring.
It’s a common mistake for people with oily skin to not moisturise after cleansing or exfoliating because they don’t want to add more oil. But did you know that not moisturising could be the cause of oily skin and large pores? When you moisturise, it helps the natural sebum (oil) penetrate deeper into the layers of skin. As a result, your natural moisture levels begin to regulate which, in conclusion, reduces oily skin. For oilier skin, try using a water based moisturiser that has a much lighter consistency but still aids in keeping the skin hydrated.
Clay masks are ideal for drawing out any dead skin cells and dirt that sits deep inside the pores, clogging the pores and making them appear large. It is also an effective method in absorbing excess oil, especially if you have oilier skin and brightening the complexion. You can use a clay mask once or twice a week, but you should avoid using them on days when you have exfoliated as this can cause irritated skin.
Applying SPF at the end of a skincare routine is a must for everyone, even if it isn’t sunny outside. It protects your skin against sun damage, signs of ageing and most importantly, the risk of skin cancer. Too much sun exposure breaks down the elastin and collagen within our skin, leaving pores expanding in size and appearing large. It also dries out the skin, which impact the appearance of pores.
Hydration is important for overall skin health. It works from the inside out and hydrates the skin internally, resulting in better external skin. It also flushes out any toxins that sit within the pores and reduces dehydrated skin, which can often make the pores appear large. The Eatwell Guide recommends you should drink between 6–8 glasses of water or fluids to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Cosmetic treatments can also be used to minimise pores. Skin booster treatments are ideal for providing deep hydration to the skin, which can help to make the pores appear smaller. Chemical peels and facials are also ideal for reducing the appearance of pores. Speak to a dermatologist, and they will be able to help you decide which treatment is right for you.