Can you really shrink pores?

Enlarged pores are a very common skin issue among men and women. They can make skin appear rough or uneven. Many wonder if you can reduce the size of your pores or eliminate them completely. While it’s not possible to shrink pores, you can minimize their size and make them look less noticeable. There are different at-home remedies, skincare products, and in-clinic treatments to help minimize the appearance of pores. Keep on reading to learn more about pores and how you can minimize their appearance. 

What are Pores?

Pores are tiny openings located in the skin, which are connected to your hair follicles. They act as channels that release sweat and oil from the glands to the surface of the skin. There are two types of pores that perform two different functions;

  • Oil Pores - These are the pores connected to your oil/sebaceous glands. These oil pores cover your entire body from head to toe, except the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. When overactive or blocked, these pores can lead to skin problems.
  • Sweat Pores - Sweat pores are smaller than the oil pores and are present all over your body. When sweat pores are overactive, they can cause extreme sweating. 

What Causes Enlarged Pores?

Some of the commonly known reasons behind enlarged pores are:

  • Excessive Oil - When your sebaceous glands get overstimulated and produce more oil than usual, your pores are filled with more oil, leading to their enlarged appearance. 
  • Clogged Pores - When oil accumulated in pores combines with dirt, dead skin, and other impurities, it stretches. The stretching makes the pore look bigger, and if the blockage isn’t removed properly, it may lead to blackheads and acne breakouts.
  • Loss of Elasticity - When your skin loses its firmness due to the natural process of aging or some external or internal factors, it causes your skin to stretch and your pores to appear larger.
  • Genetics - Your genetics play a vital role in determining how active your oil/sebaceous glands are, ultimately deciding your pore size. So, if you have enlarged pores, it may be because your parents had them too.
  • Sun Damage - Exposing your skin to the sun for an extended period of time can also lead to enlarged pores. It can break down collagen and elastin, paving the way to more visible pores.¹  It also deprives your skin of its natural moisture, which shrinks the tissue under the skin, making your pores look bigger.

How to Minimize Enlarged Pores?

Now that we have learned a bit more about enlarged pores and the factors that can make them appear larger, let’s move on to the different ways to minimize their appearance.

  • Avoid Oil-based Products - Many moisturizing skincare products contain oils in their formulation, which may not be very suitable for those struggling with enlarged pores and oily skin. Instead, opt for a gel or water-based product. Gel and water-based products can be helpful in keeping the skin sufficiently hydrated and moisturized without leading to excessive oil, which can collect in the pores and increase their size.
  • Cleanse Your Skin Thoroughly - One of the most important steps in any skincare routine is to wash your face properly. Cleansing your face twice a day will not only reduce oiliness and unclog pores, but it can also prevent clogged pores. Wash your face when you wake up, before going to bed, after excessive sweating, and after doing sports. Find a cleanser that works best for your individual skin. A salicylic acid cleanser is ideal for minimizing pore size and oil production, while an AHA cleanser works better for cleansing dry skin and reducing pore size.²  Also, a gel or water-based cleanser is good for oily skin that’s more prone to large pores.
  • Exfoliate regularly - Regular exfoliation is especially critical for those with oily skin as they are more prone to clogged and enlarged pores. Exfoliating the skin once or twice a week will slough away sebum, excess oil, grime, dead skin, and dirt, which can all lead to enlarged pore size. Look for a chemical-based exfoliating product with BHA’s such as salicylic acid or PHA’s.³  If you have sensitive skin, mandelic acid would be a better option for you. Note that while exfoliating the skin once or twice a week can keep the pores clean and appearing smaller, over-exfoliating it can also lead to dry and aggravated skin, which can make your pores look bigger.
  • Use Facial Masks - Thanks to the oil-absorbing ability of natural clays, using clay masks once or twice every week can help minimize already present large pores and prevent their appearance in the future. Clay masks dry on the skin and absorb excess oil and impurities from the pores, helping to reduce the pore size. Removing excessive sebum and other debris from the pores prevents them from getting clogged so that pores can appear smaller. It’s not recommended to use a clay mask and exfoliator on the same day as it can dry out the skin and lead to skin irritation. 
  • Stay Protected from the Sun - As we mentioned earlier, sun damage is one of the reasons behind enlarged pore size. Hence, it’s crucial to make sure your skin isn’t exposed to the sun's harmful rays. We know that none of us can avoid going out, but we can protect our skin against UV rays by applying and reapplying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and wearing protective clothing. A sunscreen with at least 30 SPF is effective in neutralizing the harmful effects of the sun. You can also look for a moisturizer with sunscreen to avoid the hassle of applying too many products every morning. 
  • Keep Your Skin Firm and Plump - Since sagging skin can also make your pores look larger, it’s important to effectively treat the signs of aging. The best course of action is to incorporate collagen-producing products into your daily skincare regimen. Some of the ingredients to look for while buying your skincare products are retinol, vitamin c, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and CoQ10 enzyme. All these active compounds work on a deeper level to improve the level of collagen in the skin and prevent cell breakdown, helping to restore the skin’s firmness and radiance. Here at Sundree, we formulated RYSE+SHYNE facial serum with power-house ingredients; hyaluronic acid, vitamin c, niacinamide, and CBD. Our hydrating facial serum helps brighten and firm skin while minimizing the appearance of pores and improving the skin’s texture. This lightweight serum can be used day or night. Just a few drops daily will lead to more happy skin.
  • Keep your Skin Moisturized - You might be neglecting this step in your skincare routine, thinking that oily skin does not need a moisturizer. The fact is that moisturizing oily skin is as important as moisturizing dry skin. If you leave your skin dry, it can lead to pore enlargement and even acne breakouts. An oil-free, lightweight, and gentle formula can provide your oily skin with the required hydration and moisture without making it oilier.
  • Switch to Non-comedogenic Products - Mainstream skincare and makeup products are filled with natural and synthetic ingredients that can build up in your pores and clog them, making them appear larger. To prevent this problem from occurring, start using non-comedogenic products. Non-comedogenic products are formulated not to clog pores.
  • Clinical Procedures - If you are looking for a quick and effective way of making your pores look smaller, you can consult with your dermatologist and choose the right clinical treatment for you. Here are some non-invasive treatment options used for minimizing large pore size:
    • Laser Treatments
    • IPL Photofacial
    • Microneedling
    • Laser Resurfacing
    • Chemical Peels
    • Facials 

Final Thoughts

Pore size is pre-determined by genetics, so you can’t really shrink your pores. There are numerous reasons why your pores get enlarged, such as excessive oil, sun damage, and loss of the skin’s elasticity. The good news is that there are many ways to minimize the appearance of pores, from making sure your skin is moisturized to exfoliating regularly to keeping your skin protected against sun damage. You can also choose from a range of at-home remedies and in-clinic procedures to help minimize the appearance of your pores.

 

  

Citations:

  1. Shaffer, Catherine, Ph.D. (2019). ‘What is Elastin’, MedicalNews, Accessed September 21, 2021. Available at: https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-is-Elastin.aspx
  2. (2021). ‘Salicylic Acid Gel’, WebMD.com. Accessed September 21, 2021. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-18-193/salicylic-acid-topical/salicylic-acid-for-acne-topical/details
  3. Berohn, Katie. (2021). ‘A Guide to Polyhydroxy Acid, Skincare’s Buzziest (and Gentlest) Acid’, GoodHousekeeping, Accessed September 23, 2021. Available at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/a35182033/polyhydroxy-acid-in-skin-care/