We think we speak for everyone when we say that open pores that are clogged up are the bane of our existence. We've spent countless hours in front of our mirrors trying to get rid of open pores and the blackheads that follow suit, but more often than not, we're unsuccessful. Small, pit-like openings in the face that can give rise to blackheads, pimples, and even oily skin; open pores, while vital for our skin's health, can be a source of trouble. But what are open pores, and why do we need to look at open pores treatment at home in the first place?
- What Are Open Pores?
- Causes Of Open And Enlarged Pores
- Excessive Sweating
- Open Pores Treatment At Home
- Steaming your face
- Precautionary Measures
- Don't Forget SPF
What Are Open Pores?
To get a little more clarity on what open pores are, and why they cause us trouble, we decided to get some insight from expert dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr. Sravya C Tipirneni. She explained, "Open pores are normally existing human anatomical openings of the oil glands which also have a hair follicle. They are present all over our body. There are more pores on the oily areas of the body, namely the face and the upper chest and upper back."
"That's where they are more visible, but they're present all over the body," she continued, saying that, "They aren't caused by anything, but basically, they are dilated pores which may be caused due to different reasons. They are a natural process for the extrusion of our body cells and oils in the skin. These debris sometimes clog up the pores and cause them to look dilated."
The bottomline here is — while open pores aren't a cause for concern, you need to take heed when the pores become enlarged, and start accumulating dirt and grime in them. Before we get into how open pores treatment at home can be carried out, let's look at all the reasons they are caused in the first place.
Causes Of Open And Enlarged Pores
A lot of factors can contribute to making the pores look enlarged. Dr. Tipirneni explains, "There are multiple reasons why pores look big, dilated or clogged. This could be because of excessive oil production, keratin accumulation, or improper cleansing, along with inadequate exfoliation and improper use of products. These could lead to the skin getting clogged. Other reasons could include hormonal issues, genetic issues, and when proper anti-ageing tools aren't being used. Because of collagen degradation, your pores could lose their elasticity, which is why open pores could also be a sign of ageing, and not just of oily skin." Ahead, we're listing the reasons for open pore in detail.
If you're looking for something to blame your enlarged pores on, blame your genetics! Pore size is largely determined by your family tree, so if enlarged pores run in the family, we hate to break it to you — but that’s probably the reason why you have large pores too.
Ageing is another reason for large-looking pores. As Dr. Tipirneni mentioned, as the amount of collagen reduces in the skin due to ageing, pores could lose their elasticity and thus become more dilated with age.
Just like with ageing, increased sun exposure, especially without SPF, can reduce the elasticity around the pores and limit collagen production too, thus causing pores to look enlarged.
If you don't wash your face properly, and forget to exfoliate, there may be an accumulation of sebum, keratin, and even grime on your face. This won't just make your pores look enlarged either; it will clog them up too.
Sweating excessively and improper cleansing afterward can attract dirt and grime on the pores, and cause blackheads, whiteheads, and acne if you're not careful. When you exercise, always make sure to clean up properly!
If you eat junk food that's oily or sugar-loaded, it's going to show up on your face! Consuming a poor diet can lead to more sebum being produced, especially if you overindulge in fried foods, and which will subsequently make your pores enlarged.
Open Pores Treatment At Home
While there is no foolproof treatment for open pores, and also since your skin needs them to breathe, there are a few measures that you can take for open pores treatment at home. These measures will ensure that your pores get unclogged, and even reduce in size. Here they are:
Proper CTM Routine
If you aren't properly cleansing your skin and carrying out a basic skincare routine, it's going to show up on your pores! Turning to proper cleansing, toning and moisturising routine is a great way to indulge in open pores treatment at home.
"Use a good cleanser with AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid or BHAs like salicylic acid. These unclog the pores and also exfoliate the superficial layers of the skin, thereby making it more clear," recommends Dr. Tipirneni, continuing, "Next, if you have very oily or acne-prone skin, use an astringent or a toner which will melt out and clear out the debris. The moisturisers you use are also important because you don't want to use an oily moisturiser. Don't use too many ceramides or too much hyaluronic acid if you have oily skin; use a panthenol-containing or gel-based moisturiser so your skin doesn't get clogged."
Steaming your face
Many people believe that steaming your face shrinks the pore size — but that's not true! "Steaming doesn't change the size of your pores, but it melts out the dirt and debris in your pores, thus clearing out your pores and giving your skin a glowing complexion," explains Dr. Tipirneni. So, take steam, but don't expect a miracle is what we'd say!
If you've been equal parts grossed out, equal parts fascinated by blackhead extraction videos, you're not alone! And luckily, if you want to unclog your pores, you can turn to extractions, since there are a bunch of at-home extraction tools available — or you can do it at a salon too. "If you have stubborn whiteheads or blackheads, you can go for an extraction to remove the sebum filaments, which is what pops up during removals," elaborates Dr. Tipirneni.
Exfoliation is another great method for open pores treatment at home. Apart from using masks to exfoliate, you can also indulge your skin in scrubs to unclog the pores and make their appearance less visible. "The other things you can do include exfoliating well, like using a sugar and honey scrub or using an oatmeal mask or scrub. Don't overdo it, though!" exclaims Dr. Tipirneni.
Using DIY remedies such as aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, or even egg white masks can help with open pores treatment at home. Dr. Tipirneni explains, "Use clay masks or pore-minimising masks that drain out the oil and have a component of salicylic acid in them in order to reduce the size of the pores." Otherwise, the above-mentioned home remedies should work just fine too!
Dr. Tipirneni shares, "Taking care of your overall health also shows up on your skin and this includes your pores — ageing, not using sun protection, eating oily, junk food, having erratic sleep timings resulting in high cortisol production which indirectly leads to excessive oil production, and leading an unhealthy lifestyle lack of exercise, and not using retinols once you're over 30 will also cause the appearance of pores to maximise." If you sound like you're guilty of one of these, fix it already!
What To Avoid When Doing Open Pores Treatment At Home
Dr. Tipirneni opines that you should treat open pores with realistic expectations, and not expect them to completely disappear. She says, "The pores are the breathing mechanism for the skin, so accept the fact that they are here to stay and how big or small they appear is completely up to your genetics and your skin care regimen." Apart from managing your expectations, here's what you should avoid when treating open pores at home.
Avoid Over-Drying Your Skin
Over-drying your skin in the hopes of shrinking your pores can often have the opposite effect; because your skin will be stripped of its natural oils, it may overcompensate by producing more sebum, and therefore, make the pores appear larger due to more oiliness.
Over-exfoliating the skin can cause micro-tears due to abrasions, and may actually cause the pores to become even more enlarged. Stick to limiting exfoliation to a couple of times a week, or as recommended by your dermatologist, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Don't Forget SPF
One of the biggest culprits for pore-dilation and enlargement? Sunlight! While it's a skincare myth that the sun shrinks pores, the opposite is true — due to UV damage, the collagen in the skin breaks down, and pore sizes, unfortunately, increase. Always wear SPF, especially if you're on a quest to shrink pore size — you're also likely to prevent a bunch of environmental-induced damage in the process too!