Did you know there are two types of pores on our skin? One releases natural oils or sebum that keeps the skin moisturised and prevents dryness, the other one releases sweat along with toxins. Both these pores are essential to keep our skin looking healthy and young. However, sometimes the oil-releasing facial pores become enlarged, this makes your skin look dull and mature. While you cannot get rid of large facial pores completely, there are ways to reduce their appearance and prevent them from enlarging further. We know you have a lot of questions about facial pores, right from why you have them to ways to reduce their appearance. Don’t worry we’ve got your covered.
Dr. Niketa Sonavane, Cosmetic Dermatologist of Ambrosia Aesthetics, Mumbai, comes across a lot of patients dealing with the same problem as yours — large facial pores. In this article, she shares valuable insights on the topic as she reveals the reasons behind enlarged pores, ways to reduce its appearance and treatment options for open pores.
- Causes of open pores
- Effective ways to reduce the appearance of facial pores
- Skin treatments for open pores
Causes of open pores
While it is usually believed that those with oily skin type have overactive oil glands that release excess sebum causing the pores to enlarge, that’s not always true. The cause of facial pores are many, some of them are listed below.
Your genes are the most important factor that affects your pore size. If you have large pores, check the skin of your parents, siblings and first cousins. It is most likely that they have a similar skin problem.
2. Oily skin
When you have oily skin, your pores are naturally wide open to pour out large amounts of oil. Such pores will shrink in size when the oiliness of the skin is reduced.
As you grow older, your skin loses collagen and elastin. These natural proteins surround your pores and play an important role in keeping them tight. Once they start getting depleted, the facial pores start to enlarge.
4. Sun damage
Excessive sun exposure can make facial pores appear bigger. Sun damage thickens the skin, which leads to bigger pores. Years of sun exposure can also reduce collagen, elastin and water from your skin. Dehydrated skin pulls the edges of your pores, making them look larger.
Blackheads are the result of pores blocked with dead cells and sebum. Persistent blackheads can lead to large facial pores. Not only do blackheads make your pores look larger by attracting attention to them, but also increase pore size by permanent scarring.
6. Clogged pores
Excessive amounts of oil and dead skin cells trapped in your pores can cause them to appear enlarged. In this case, exfoliation and regular washing will keep your pores from appearing larger than they are. By preventing blocked pores, you will also prevent blackheads.
7. Comedogenic products
Products that contain natural and mineral oils can clog pores and cause blackheads. They may also add to the existing oiliness of your skin and increase pore size.
Effective ways to reduce the appearance of facial pores
While getting rid of facial pores completely is not possible, there are ways to reduce their appearance. If you are struggling with enlarged pores, these simple yet effective tips from our expert Dr. Sonavane can prove to be helpful.
1. Use water-based products
Skin care products contain various ingredients, including oils. These can induce blackheads and whiteheads in acne-prone skin. Also, excess oil accumulates on the skin can make pores appear larger. If you have oily skin, you will benefit from products that contain humectants rather than oils. Try to look for honey and urea in the ingredients.
2. Wash your face twice daily
Washing the face every morning and evening is basic skin care. This helps wash away oil and dirt from the facial pores, which in turn makes them less visible. In addition to this, consider washing your face after sweating and outdoor activities.
3. Pick a soap-free foaming cleanser
A gel-based, foaming cleanser is ideal if you have oily skin with visible facial pores. Stay away from alcohol-based cleansers though, as these can irritate the skin. Also, avoid moisturizing cleansers as they leave residue on the skin and make pores appear larger.
4. Exfoliate once a week
Exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dirt, dead cells and oxidised sebum that clog the pores. Look for ingredients such as lactic acid or salicylic acid which are alpha hydroxy acids. If you have sensitive skin, then polyhydroxy acids such as lactobionic acid or gluconolactone will be more suitable. Remember not to over-exfoliate your skin as it can cause dryness and rashes.
5. Moisturise everyday
Use a moisturiser everyday, even if you have oily skin. Pick an oil-free moisturiser that immediately sinks into the skin. Well-hydrated skin appears plump, produces less oil, and has tighter facial pores. Look for ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
6. Try a clay mask
Use a clay mask once or twice a week to remove excess oil from the pores. Clay absorbs sebum and temporarily reduces pore size. Make sure you give sufficient time between your exfoliation and masking, as over-treating the skin can cause irritation. Take your pick between multani mitti, rhassoul clay or bentonite clay.
7. Double cleanse your makeup
Always remember to remove your makeup before going to sleep. Sleeping with makeup on your face can cause pores to become blocked with makeup, oil and bacteria, leading to blackheads, whiteheads and open pores. Micellar water and cotton pads are useful for removing makeup in a hurry. Keep them on your bedside table to ensure you never go to bed without makeup on your face.
8. Wear sunscreen all year round
UV exposure breaks down the collagen in your skin over time. Less collagen surrounding the pores means larger and more visible facial pores. Pick a broad spectrum sunscreen with blue light filter and wear it daily come rain or shine. Also, reapply your sunscreen every 3-4 hours for maximum effectiveness.
Skin treatments for open pores
Apart from following good skincare habits and using the right products, you can also opt for skin treatments for open pores. There are many options available that can help get rid of large facial pores. Here are some of the most effective ones.
Regular medi-facials can reduce a bucket-load of environmental damage from your skin. Such facials not only cleanse your skin, but also stimulate collagen to give you glowing skin with tighter pores.
2. Chemical Peels
This treatment involves applying a chemical solution that visibly exfoliates the skin and repairs skin damage. Chemical peels range from light to deep in strength and are very effective in improving the appearance of large facial pores. Ask your dermatologist for glycolic peeling which is a 'jack-of-all' when it comes to skin repair.
This non-invasive procedure uses microneedles to improve large pores, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, acne scars and uneven skin tone. It is sometimes called 'collagen induction treatment' as it helps to stimulate collagen production in the skin.
4. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
An IPL Photofacial treats the skin with high-intensity light rays. It mainly targets the deeper layer of your skin called the dermis. This treatment tightens facial pores and gives you a fresh and glowing complexion.
5. Laser Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is more commonly used for acne scar removal and wrinkles. But, it is also one of the most effective treatments for permanent pore tightening and getting smooth skin.
If you are looking for an overnight fix for your open pores, then ask your dermatologist for meso-botox. This treatment uses a dilute dose of Botox to relax the muscles surrounding the pores to shrink them. This is one of the quickest skin treatments that reduce the appearance of pores.