Visible pores might not be your primary skin concern, but they can affect people of every age, skin type and tone. Understanding what they are, therefore, is paramount. More importantly, what can you do to keep them clean and make your complexion look smoother and clearer?
Everything you need to know is right here…
1. Facial Pores 101
Your skin has two types of pores: those that produce sebum (oil) and those that produce sweat. Sweat pores exist over your entire body and are so small, you can’t see them with the naked eye. These pores help your body maintain its internal body temperature, but, in this instance, they’re not the ones to worry about because when we speak of enlarged facial pores, oil-producers are the real offenders.
Oil pores are small openings found at the top of your hair follicles and are present in various quantities all over your body except on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.
They’re very important because they allow sebum to flow up from your sebaceous glands, through the hair follicles and out through the surface of your skin to balance, lubricate, moisturise and soften your skin.
2. Everyone’s Pore Size Is Different
Why are your pores bigger than your BFF’s? Like your hair colour and skin type, this is all down to genetics. If you have naturally oily skin, chances are your pores are on the larger side because excess oil will build up, forcing the walls of your pores to stretch. Dry skin, on the other hand, produces less oil which means its pores are more likely to remain small and tight.
One important thing to remember, and we hate to be the bearers of bad news, is that you can’t truly shrink your pores. You can stretch and tighten them (more on that, later), but it’s physically impossible to change their actual size. So, next time you read an article about how to shrink your pores? Remember, it’s all porky pies.
However, and this is a pretty big however, you can 100 percent improve the appearance of enlarged pores with great skincare and all the other stuff your skin loves – ie: plenty of sleep, a healthy diet and less stress.
3. Improve Your Cleansing Game
Oil loves to latch on to dirt, make-up and other gunk which causes your pores to swell and expand even further. And if it then combines with bacteria? One word: zits. This is why a great cleansing routine is the single most important way to keep your pores clean and your skin clear of breakouts.
Cleanse twice a day, using a gentle formulation like Crystal Cleanser which is perfect for oily skin and large pores because it cleanses deeply but is free of harsh ingredients like parabens and sulphates.
Skincare that’s packed with these kinds of chemicals can strip your skin of natural oils, which sounds great in theory, but actually has the reverse long-term effect, causing your sebaceous glands to overcompensate for the dryness by producing even more oil. That’s what we call a vicious circle.
4. Don’t Forget To Tone
Some people skip toner, others think of it as an absolute must. But whichever side of the fence you sit, know this: toning is awesome for dealing with enlarged pores because it helps balance your skin.
Our Diamond Toner, in particular, contains skin-loving ingredients like aloe and glycerin which boost moisture at a surface level to help keep your skin hydrated and healthy-looking. Just remember to always follow with a light moisturiser like Organic Hydration Gel to seal in moisture and regulate sebum production.
5. Exfoliate Regularly
Exfoliating is also a must. But, again, choose a gentle scrub that doesn’t irritate your skin and make your pores appear even larger than they were before.
Natural Luminosity Scrub is a great choice for thoroughly cleansing your skin, boosting cell turnover and reducing build-up of dead skin cells in your pores. Use light pressure to massage it into moist skin daily and pay special attention to your nose and cheeks which are often where pores are the most prominent.
6. Try A Facial Steam
Let’s get one thing straight: steaming does not open up your pores. As we said before, your pore size is pretty much set. It is, however, a great way to soften your skin and coax all that oil and debris out from deep within your pores. Softening your skin also makes it more permeable which allows the rest of your skincare products to penetrate your skin more effectively.
Try steaming your face once a week for ten minutes before exfoliating for a fabulous deep clean.
7. Look For Treatment Serums Containing Retinol
Retinol has a cunning way of communicating with your skin at a deep cellular level to make it behave better. A topical form of vitamin A, it’s one of the most potent and effective ingredients in skincare because it activates genes within your skin’s dermis to accelerate collagen and elastin production, repair connective tissue, stimulate cell turnover and kick free radicals into touch. Few other ingredients can boast such rounded, effective benefits for your skin.
So, how does retinol specifically improve the appearance of large pores? Well, the answer is two-fold. Firstly, it improves the rate at which your skin turns over meaning fewer dead skin cells get to hang around at the surface of your skin and clog up your pores.
Secondly, it boosts the production of collagen which helps keep your skin plump and your pores tight as a consequence. Many experts agree that retinol also decreases oil production, so that’s another plus point to bear in mind…
The thing with retinol, however, is that it can be a tad irritating if you’re not careful. Too much, too soon can cause redness, dryness, itching and breakouts, so tread carefully by introducing a retinol product into your routine just once or twice a week. You can then increase your frequency slowly to every day once your skin gets used to it.
Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum contains a gentle retinol derivative called retinyl palmitate which reduces your chances of irritation. But still, we always recommend erring on the side of caution. This awesome treatment serum is also oil-free making it the ideal choice for looking after oily skin and clogged pores.
8. Be Mindful Of Your Make-Up
When it comes to your make-up, you should avoid two very important things: oil and shimmer.
Heavy, oil-based foundations and creamy blushers are a recipe for blocked pores as they mix with sebum, dirt and bacteria causing even more build-up. Instead, look for make-up formulations that are oil-free and non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic means a product is less likely to block your pores.
Shimmery make-up is also a major no-no because it will sit in your pores, catch the light and draw attention to them. Of course, you can use shimmer on areas of your face that aren’t subject to visible pores – your lips, browbones and the tops of your cheekbones, for example – but avoid applying it all over. You’re much better off using matte, powder foundations and cheek colours.
9. Make Sunscreen Your Best Friend
Sun damage causes free radicals in your skin which breaks down collagen and is hell on your pores. Why? Because it weakens their structure, causing them to lose elasticity, firmness, support and making them appear larger as a result. So, if you needed yet ANOTHER reason to apply sunscreen, you’ve got it, right there.
Ensure the last step of your skincare routine contains broad-spectrum protection and apply it every day of the year – rain or shine. Our Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 is ideal for oily skin and problematic pores because it not only protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation, but it’s non-comedogenic, lightweight and evens out your skin tone for year-round radiance.
10. Finally, Stop Scrutinising Your Skin
Last, but not least, please put away that crazy magnifying mirror. You do realise that no-one else sees your skin that closely, right? What might look like glaringly obvious pores to you are likely to be almost invisible to the rest of the world. Of course, great skincare will go a long way on the road to less visible pores. But don’t stress about them. They’re totally normal.