Do you notice your pores getting visibly bigger in size as you age? Enlarged pores are a huge concern for a lot of people, but don’t worry, because we’re here to help. We explain what pores are and which skincare ingredients can help minimize pores — or at least how big they appear to be.
What are pores?
Pores are small openings on the surface of your skin that release oil and sweat. They are normal physiologic structures present on the entire surface of our skin, except for the skin around our palms and soles. Oil pores that are most noticeable as they also carry hair follicles. These oil pores are the ones that are most visible and the pesky culprits behind large pores. The truth is — it is impossible to get rid of them entirely. However, it is possible to minimize their appearance!
What are their functions?
It allows the oil that produced by oil glands to flow, lubricate and moisturize our skin. This is a natural way for the skin to keep itself supple, moisturized and healthy. It is also an opening that allows the hair shaft to comes to the surface of our skin.
What factors affect the size of our pores?
These three factors greatly determine the size of our pores:
If your parents have very visible pores, it is likely that you will have larger pore sizes to begin with. Genetics play a really big part in determining the baseline size of our pores.
- Sebum (oil) production
Imagine our pores as tiny balloons and the air inside it as the sebum that our skin produces. The more oil our skin produces, the more dilated the opening of our pores will be, leading to “bigger” or more visible pores.
- Skin elasticity
As we age, we lose elasticity in our skin, leading pore openings to appear larger than what they originally are.
Myth about pores
The most common myth about pores is the belief that they “open” when you steam it with hot air, and “close” when you wash your face with cold water. Pores do not have any muscle structure, and therefore would not be able to open or close! What actually happens is that hot steam helps to dissolve the sebum and oil inside our pores. The hot air facilitates the flow of the sebum and makes our pores appear smaller. Likewise, when in a cold condition, our skin is programmed to produce less oil, indirectly helping to make our pores appear smaller.
Now that we understand what pores really are, let’s talk about what ingredients you should look for to care for your pores. Pro tip: these ingredients and suggested products can all be easily found by using the search filters in your Picky app!
What ingredients can help to minimize pores?
- Removing excess sebum: Clay
A quick way to minimize the size of your pores is to remove excess sebum. Clay helps to absorb any excess sebum built up in and on your pores, and to make it appear smaller. The results are pretty instant, but take note that is only a quick fix. The effects of using clay may not last long, as it only works by removing excess sebum produced by overactive oil glands.
- Controlling sebum production: Niacinamide
This one’s one of the most versatile ingredients in skincare — niacinamide! Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is an ingredient that has been shown to help control sebum production. Fun fact: niacinamide has also been proven to help with anti-aging and skin brightening. Definitely a keeper in your skincare routine.
- Increasing skin elasticity: Retinoids, Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid)
Retinoids and Vitamin C are the two ingredients that can signal our skin to produce more collagen to maintain skin elasticity and suppleness. These ingredients have been backed up by science as the top anti-aging ingredients.
- Exfoliation and controlling sebum production: Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid can help to exfoliate piles of dead skin cells while also clearing the lining of our pores. Their benefits don’t end just here! They also help to control sebum production with use after time.
- Preventing further pore enlargement: Sunscreen (UV filters)
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Protecting our skin from UV damage can save you the trouble of a lot of future skin concerns. These include premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and of course, enlarged pore sizes! You might not see an immediate result from using sunscreen, but trust us — twenty years from now, you will be thanking the old you.
Looking for skincare products with pore-loving ingredients, but too lazy to do your own research on effective products? We got you. Minimizing pores is now possible with Picky’s new “Pore Care” filter. Remember to update and check the filter in your Picky app the next time you look for new products! Only available on Picky v 1.0.6 onwards.