How to Shrink Pores
Looking for real advice on how to shrink pores? The unfortunate truth is that pores cannot be resized – their sizes are primarily genetic. But the good news is that there are easy ways to make them look smaller and consequently make the skin appear smoother, flawless, and more radiant.
As with any skin care procedure, it’s best to know the essential stuff before delving on how to shrink pores. What exactly are pores and why do they have to appear on the face? What are the various causes of enlarged pores? And finally, how can we make them look smaller?
Read on for the answers.
What are pores and why are they on my face?
Simply put, pores are openings for the hair follicles on the skin. Yes, they appear on the face because the face has very fine hair, which can only be noticed if you look very closely. They serve a vital purpose: each follicle in a pore has a sebaceous gland, the gland that produces the oils that moisturize the face. They also help regulate the body’s temperature by allowing sweat to exit.
Thus, pores aren’t skin problems – they are absolutely normal and essential parts of the skin. The problem is when they appear large enough to be noticeable, or worse, to look like dark spots on the face, and that’s when you should be concerned about how to shrink pores.
What are the various factors that make pores look larger?
Pore sizes are largely determined by genes, so basically, we each have a default pore size that we can’t change. Also, gender is an apparent factor, as men generally have bigger pores than those of women. Even more, the amount of natural body oils (called sebum) on the face affects the size of pores. Oily skin types tend to have larger pore openings, while skin that’s naturally dry can seem almost poreless.
But pores do appear larger or smaller depending on several factors. For one, if dirt, dead skin cells, and excess sebum remain on the skin, they accumulate inside or clog the pores and stretch them. This, by the way, is the prime state that causes acne.
Another factor is the loss of collagen, the substance that keeps the tightness and elasticity of the skin. Collagen is diminished as a person ages and when the skin is exposed to the UV rays from the sun.
One pore-enlarging factor that you can totally avoid is the trauma that your skin experiences whenever you rub, scratch, or pick on it. So as a preventive measure, avoid squeezing out that pesky pimple, no matter how tempting or safe it seems. Otherwise, you could end up with permanently-enlarged pores in that area.
How to shrink pores? Check out the tips below…
While you can’t reduce the actual size of your pores, you can definitely minimize their appearance on your face. Pore-minimizing techniques vary from do-it-yourself home treatments to needed visits to the derma’s office, depending on how severe the problem is.
You can try these seven ways to ‘shrink’ pores:
• Cleanse regularly
Cleansing the face should be a part of everyone’s routine, whether they have pore problems or not. But if your pores are particularly large, regular washing is crucial. It takes away the dirt and excess oil that will otherwise pile up in your skin.
It’s important to pick a cleanser that suits your skin and use it with the right frequency to avoid further irritation. A cleansing product with salicylic acid can strip away all the unwanted dirt, but use it only twice a day at most. If you have sensitive skin, look for one that’s extra mild. And don’t scrub too hard on your face – just massage gently in circular motions and pat-dry with a clean towel.
Remember that cleansing has to be regular, so do it religiously and after a while, it will become a seamless part of your day.
Beyond cleansing, exfoliating is reaches down to deeper layers of dirt and even unclog your pores, helping them go back to a smaller size.
There are various ways to exfoliate. You can choose an exfoliating product, which has tiny particles that slough off the dirt. These products may come as creams, gels, or even cleansers so you can exfoliate your skin as you wash it.
You can also try a DIY home exfoliation. One of the most recommended is the sugar-honey scrub: just combine some sugar and honey, gently massage on your face, then rinse off. You’ll instantly get smoother skin after this one.
A less-known exfoliating technique is using a dry facial brush. It looks like a bigger toothbrush with softer bristles. Use it to gently but briskly stroke your dry skin, brushing away flakes that may otherwise stick when your skin is wet.
A very important thing to remember about exfoliation is that it should be done regularly but not frequently. Start by doing it once a week, and always follow it up with a moisturizer to restore the moisture that may have been stripped off in the process.
• Mask it off
Facial masks are products you apply on your face and leave on for a few minutes. They ‘grab’ on to the dirt trapped in your pores and pull them out, while minimizing the inflammation in the area.
You’ve probably heard of using natural household items as facial masks. A very common one is egg white: just smooth it on your skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, then peel and rinse off.
This home remedy, however, makes no guarantees, so you can try a gentle clay mask instead. You can buy this from a drugstore and use similarly as described above.
• Switch your makeup
One very common culprit that enlarges pores is makeup. Think about it: you apply it directly to your face and wear it like that for several hours. It definitely does things to your skin. A solution is to wear less or no makeup at all, but that may not be an option all the time, especially if you have to look good in front of people.
So if you want to know how to shrink pores even if you have to wear makeup, make sure to use the friendliest kind on your skin. Read the labels: as a rule of thumb, you’ll want to stick with non-comedogenic products and veer away from heavy oil-based ingredients. Non-comedogenic means it is specially formulated so that it won’t clog your pores. Meanwhile, oil-based ingredients such as petrolatum and mineral oil tend to form a film on top of your skin, congesting your pores and making them hard to cleanse.
Go ahead and replace the facial junk. In time, you’ll see the difference it makes on the health of your skin.
• Prime your skin
What’s even better than using good makeup? Completely protecting your skin from it. This is the role of the skin primer – it serves as a barrier on top of your skin and prevents products from getting trapped in your pores. Even better, it evens out the tone and texture of your skin, camouflaging large pores and other blemishes.
You can buy a primer from cosmetic stores. Use it as the very first layer of product on your skin, even before you apply basic makeup like foundation. You’ll get instantly smoother results, and in the long run, your pores will thank you for it.
• Try a topical treatment
Topical treatments are those creams or gels you apply directly to your skin as a form of remedy. To make enlarged pores look smaller, there are special creams you can add to your routine, and they contain active ingredients like retinol.
Some of these products may need prescriptions, but you can easily buy retinols over the counter. Retinols are substances derived from Vitamin A, which is a nutrient that exfoliates the skin and reduces oiliness. Other names or forms of retinols are Retin-A and retinoids.
Remember that for any product you use on your skin, especially over-the-counter topical treatments, you should ensure that it won’t create harmful side-effects. It is highly recommended that you test the product on a small patch of skin first then observe it for a few hours to see how your skin reacts to it.
• Consult your doctor
If your enlarged pores have become such a problem that they won’t ‘shrink’ by any means and are already causing self-esteem issues, you may want to consult a dermatologist. He or she can pinpoint the exact root of your case and perform advanced methods on how to shrink pores.
Some of these methods are chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which are a whole new level of removing dirt from your skin and cleaning out your pores. There are also prescription treatments using medical products that improve the condition of your skin. Needless to say, these may cost more than the other remedies described above.
Pores are essential for healthy skin and body, so we shouldn’t be too harsh on them. These tips on how to shrink pores may be helpful, but the most basic ways to keep your skin radiant are the ones you already know: proper diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, and good hygiene. Start with those, and you’ll see improvements not just on your skin but on your general wellness and appearance as well.