Pore Problems. Something we've had endless questions about over the past year and countless advertised remedies and products for a 'quick fix' you can find online. We figured its time to talk about them here.
Let's start by discussing what pores actually are and what they do. They're basically openings in your skin containing either hair follicles or sweat glands, and are essential for your skin so that your skin is able to just do its thing. When your pores are healthy, there is a balanced amount of keratin and sebum that lines them. Now the skin beneath and in between the pores is held together by collagen and elastin. Collagen being the inflexible one and elastin, just like its name, the elastic one.
Now that we understand their function and how they're structured, let's move on to why they appear so enlarged sometimes.
Clogging - when our pores are clogged, its usually because the lining we discussed earlier (the keratin and sebum, which line our pores) isn't shedding regularly. This can happen because of slow cellular turnover and in the case of oily skin, the dead skin cells in your pores along with excess sebum can formulate a comedone, which is kind of like a plug. A closed comedone will appear as a whitehead, and an open one will appear as a blackhead. The simplest way to avoid clogging is honestly good and thorough cleansing. When we say thorough, we actually mean our favorite double cleansing routine (read more about double cleansing here). Double cleansing will remove dirt and rid away excess sebum keeping your pores clean. (Check out our recommendations for double cleansing duos suited to your skin type here). If you already have blackheads and whiteheads, there is the option of extraction performed by a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist. Once the extraction is done, you probably want to prevent future clogging and thats where exfoliation comes in. You might want to go with a physical exfoliator, such as a scrub or a peeling gel or you might want to look into chemical exfoliators, which contain AHAs, BHAs and PHAs. These babies speed up cellular turnover as well so the pore lining that we talked about sheds quicker avoiding blockage. For those of you who are brave, you might want to look into purchasing retinoids, which would help with cellular turnover and would regulate sebum production. (BHAs are a good alternative for those who don't want to something that strong as part of their daily routine).
Dehydration - whether you have dry skin or oily skin, dehydration can be a common cause for pores that appear enlarged. This is mainly because in the case of dehydration, your skin isn't plump and bouncy any more. The lack of plumpness can make your skin look droopier, hence, the appearance of enlarged pores. When your skin is well hydrated, it looks fuller, therefore, tighter pores. Another reason why you want to keep your skin hydrated is so that you won't cause excess oil and sebum production. When your skin senses lack of water and moisture, it will go into an emergency overdrive and will end up producing excess oil to compensate. This takes us back to the buildup of excess sebum resulting in clogged pores. We did a recent write-up about hydration and moisture, which you can read here.
Sun Damage - Sun damage breaks down the collagen and elastin that holds the pores and skin together. Once that network of protein has broken down, your pores will look larger. You can avoid this situation entirely by using awesome sunscreen. Boost your sunscreen with Vitamin C, and help with rebuilding the protein with some amazing First Treatment Essences. Here are our recommendations:
Conclusion? The lining of those pores need to be clean and healthy and the network of protein (collagen and elastin) need to uphold those pores. Stay hydrated, clean and use that sunscreen!