If you've ever stepped into a cosmetic store or consumed any type of media, really, there's a good chance you've been bombarded by products promising to shrink your pores to non-existent size. But is there any potential for validity to such claims? Let's find out.
Do Pores Shrink?
Pores can be described as openings at the skin’s surface. They essentially allow oil or sebum to pass through to the top of the skin, moisturizing it. Here's the answer to the cosmic riddle: Pores actually do not have muscle contraction. This means they cannot go from being tight to relaxed in the way you can flex your arm muscles, for example.
The fact of the matter is, you can't open your pores; your pores are always open. You can't cleanse your pores open. You can't massage your pores open. You can’t steam your pores open. However, steaming your skin can loosen dirt and oil, in turn, helping you clear them out easier.
Oil, dirt, and bacteria can stick to dead skin cells inside the pore and clog it, making the pore appear bigger. But before you go digging into your face, know that you risk permanently stretching out your pores by trying to force out oil and picking at the skin.
Why Pores Often Seem Bigger
According to a dermatological study on pores, there are three main causes of having larger pores.
- excess oil production
- loss of elasticity around pores
Unclogging your pores can help make them look less noticeable, but it's physically impossible to shrink your pores. Commonly peddled methods involving cold water or baking soda cannot close or shrink your pores either.
Cool water can help soothe irritated skin but pure baking soda is typically too harsh for most people's skin. It can dry out the skin's surface, causing flaking that can clog your pores even further.
What You Can Do For Pores
There are different things you can try to help clean out your pores and make them less noticeable to the naked eye. If you have oiler skin, using clay masks can help soak up excess oil.
If you are struggling with whiteheads, blackheads, and acne, rather than try to squeeze them out and risk making your pores bigger, try loosening them with a hot towel or stand in a steamy bathroom for about 10 minutes. Can't help yourself? More information to consider on pimple-popping available here.
Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells. But sometimes they can stick and clog pores. That doesn't mean we can't get a jump on that process, though. Any skin type can benefit from weekly exfoliation with acids, scrubs, or enzymes.
It’s also not a good idea to skip moisturizer or sunscreen because you’re afraid it will clog your pores. The lack of moisture will cause your skin to produce even more oil, making the pores look even bigger. Sunscreen helps protect your skin against aging to reduce the loss of elasticity that also makes the pores look larger as we get older.
While nothing will full-on open or shrink pores, that doesn't render us useless in reducing their appearance. We can certainly make sure they aren't backed up and inflamed by being gentle to our faces and supplying our skin with functional ingredients and a personalized regimen.