Pores: you may look at your friends and wonder if they even have any? On the flip side, they may be looking at you wondering why you got all the luck when life dished out the wrinkle-free skin. And this is the nature of the beast when it comes to beauty. No one is ever happy with their lot. So, before we even begin to talk about enlarged pores, take a minute to remember not to beat yourself up about what you perceive as your beauty flaws. You may think your pores demand all the attention, but the way you scrutinize yourself in the mirror is not even close to how others see you. And if you think everybody besides you has flawless, perfect skin and a supermodel-like figure, the reality is they don’t. Two words: ‘Instagram’ and ‘filter.’
Life lesson over.
All this being said, we fully subscribe to the notion of making the best of what nature dealt us and never more so than when it comes to reducing those aforementioned pesky pores.
But first things first: what are pores and what purpose do they serve?
According to Medical News Today, pores are tiny holes at the surface of the skin. There are two types of pores – ones that sit at the top of hair follicles and produce oil (aka sebum), and others that produce sweat. Sweat-producing pores we’re mostly OK with; it’s the oil-producing ones, specifically on the face, that we have issues with.
The sad truth is that pores are genetically determined, so like your height and skin type, you basically get what you’re given. More bad news: you’ll never be able to physically shrink them. You can help them remain as tight as possible, and you can stop them from stretching due to the damaging effects of aging and over-exposure to the sun, but they will never go away completely. And that’s fine.
So now that you know the facts, let’s check out some of the most effective ways to take care of business, shall we? Here are our five golden rules for keeping your pores in check:
Rule #1: Clean Skin Is Important for Treating Enlarged Pores
Large pores and oily skin generally go hand in hand because sebum is a devil for grabbing a hold of dirt, grime, and makeup and then trapping it in those pores. This ends up stretching pores to within an inch of their lives… and it’s why clean skin is so important. We may have mentioned this before, but if your cleansing routine is total garbage, it is guaranteed your skin will end up in the same boat.
The best way to ensure a thorough, yet gentle, clean up job is to add double cleansing to your evening routine.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that double cleansing works by cleansing the skin twice: first with an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to lift makeup, pollutants, and other surface debris and then with a lotion, cream, or gel face wash to remove dead skin cells and clean them all away. This method has long been a K-beauty favorite and is perfect to put into practice before you go to bed after your skin has been subjected to many hours of sweat, pollution, oil, and makeup.
Exfoliating is also super important for ensuring clean, tight pores as it increases cell turnover and helps discard unwanted dead skin cells. Rather than exfoliating your face with harsh scrubs that can aggravate your skin and exacerbate oiliness, however, try a chemical exfoliant that contains AHAs and/or BHAs such as our Overnight Star Resurfacing Night Treatment.
Overnight Star includes a powerhouse of skin-loving ingredients such as lactic acid to gently exfoliate, prickly pear extract to promote cell renewal, and lemongrass oil, which helps purify and calm the skin. Literally the best treatment for oily skin and enlarged pores right there!
Rule #2: Oils can be Both Good and Bad for Enlarged Pores
Any skincare product that clogs your pores should be avoided at all costs, so look for the term ‘non-comedogenic’ on your makeup and skincare labels. This means a product and its ingredients have been formulated to reduce the risk of clogging your skin. Contrary to popular opinion, however, non-comedogenic does not mean a product is guaranteed to be non-pore-clogging because the FDA currently has no regulations about the term (annoying, right?). But it’s a good place to start.
Ingredients to avoid include heavy oils or waxy ingredients, like mineral oil, coal tar, lanolin, cocoa butter, and coconut oil, but for a full run-down of pore-clogging ingredients, check out this list from Acne Clinic NYC.
Hold on, though, because we’re not done with the oil chat quite yet because while some are to be avoided at all costs, you should not dismiss them entirely. How so? Because many oils boast a whole host of skin benefits and help maintain a hydrated, balanced complexion. They may also contain nutrients, antioxidants, and fatty acids, which all work wonders for a healthy, toned complexion. And all this without clogging your pores! Look out for oils, such as grape seed and sweet almond, which are often found in oil-based cleansers – the perfect start to your double cleanse.
Rule #3: The Sun can Have Harmful Effects on Enlarged Pores
While oils can be both friends and foes, there’s no denying the sun is nothing but bad news for your pores. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, that brutal ball of fire in the sky accounts for around 90 percent of visible skin aging, and those kinds of stats do not look good. Yes, we all love that delicious feeling of the sun on our skin (and dare we say it, a little tan on our legs), but the harsh truth is that sun damage causes fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation, not to mention the risk of developing skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas.
Protect your skin daily (whatever the weather), and you will not only reduce your risk of skin cancer and premature aging, but you could also help the appearance of enlarged pores. Collagen and elastin, two proteins that strengthen, firm, and keep your skin supple, become damaged when exposed to UV radiation. It figures, therefore, that if you don’t protect your skin, it will lose firmness and elasticity, making any flaws such as large pores more prominent.
So reduce your chances of sun damage by always protecting your skin with a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen. Just remember to avoid any pore-clogging ingredients – namely mineral oils, silicones, and cocoa butter.
Rule #4: Improve the Quality of Your Skin with Sufficient Sleep
Some beauty hacks don’t have a leg to stand on (here’s looking at you, toothpaste on zits), but others are highly effective. And up there with the best is one of the easiest ones to nail: a good night’s sleep
Did you know that while you’re catching vital ZZZs and dreaming about your latest Netflix crush, your skin (and in fact your whole body) goes into full-on restoration mode? For your skin, this means repairing damage from environmental aggressors and rebuilding collagen, elastin, and other important proteins that help keep it strong and supple. This is why when you skip your eight hours, your skin will punish you with anything from dark circles around the eyes to rough texture and dull skin tone.
To help the skin repair itself as you sleep, look to a clinically-proven night cream or serum. Choosing an effective night treatment can be tricky to master, but to help reduce enlarged pores, three clinically-proven ingredients spring to mind: retinol, AHAs such as lactic acid, and BHAs like salicylic acid. These all work – granted in slightly different ways – to increase cell turnover and rid your complexion of pore-clogging dead skin cells. And we all know what unclogged pores mean? A fast-ticket to smooth skin town. Boom. Get there effectively but minus irritation with our Overnight Star Resurfacing Night Treatment.
Rule #5: Make Good Makeup Choices to Keep Smooth Skin and Tight Pores
Great skincare is the basis for smooth skin and tight pores, but there’s nothing like a little help from your makeup bag once you’ve crushed your skincare regime.
And the rules for helping conceal larger-than-average pores are simple.
- Invest in a primer to temporarily fill in your pores, and create a smooth base for your foundation to sit on. Many primers contain silicones, however, so always double cleanse at night to ensure you clean out those pores before bedtime.
- Avoid face makeup that contains shimmer-like illuminizing face powders or glitzy bronzers. These draw light to any imperfections and will do nothing but highlight your pores.
- Ditch thick heavy foundations that sit in your pores and create little pools of color all over your cheeks. Nothing can be worse. Instead, choose lighter, mattifying formulations or even a tinted moisturizer to create a more even tone. Apply yours with a foundation brush, using circular motions to help blur imperfections, like large pores and fine lines.
Finally, remember that no matter how much or little makeup you apply or what products you choose, nothing will look good unless your skin is properly cleansed and moisturized first.
Which is why we refer you back to rule #1…