Everything you need to know about enlarged pores
Dealing with enlarged pores ain’t easy, and it can be pretty disheartening to hear there isn’t a genius lotion out there that can just airbrush them away for good. BUT, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you arm yourself with some seriously good skin care products, some great habits and a little patience, you can be on your way to smoother-looking skin.
We chat to Skin Expert for NeoStrata, Karen Varker, who explains everything you need to know about enlarged pores and just how to deal with them (no magic wand required)...
Why can pores become enlarged?
“Pore size is genetically determined and often related to skin type,” explains Karen. “Oily and olive skin types tend to have a larger pore size, while fair or dry skin types tend to have [a] smaller pore size. However, environmental, lifestyle and skin care factors can also contribute to enlarged or congested pores.”
But it’s not only your skin type that can lead to larger pores, the condition of your skin and how you care for it are also contributing factors. “Dead skin cells and increased or clogged sebum in the pores can lead to an enlarged appearance as this stretches out the pores. This can also lead to pimples or blemishes,” says Karen. “Also, ageing and UV exposure can weaken collagen, causing the skin to sag and stretch out pores, too.”
Can you actually reduce the size of your pores?
While you can’t permanently get rid of your enlarged pores or make them smaller - skin care Gods, please hear our prayers! - some products can actually help to minimise their appearance over time. “You cannot really reduce the size of your pores, but you can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores caused by congestion, blackheads or whiteheads,” she explains. “By using pore-clearing products over time, you can help to reduce the congestion in the pores which, in turn, can help to reduce their appearance.”
Karen’s top tips for minimising the appearance of enlarged pores
Cleanse and exfoliate daily to lift away dead skin cells
If you’re in the habit of only cleansing your skin in the morning then slacking off at night, it’s time to clean up your routine. “The key is to keep your skin and pores clean and clear with twice-daily cleansing,” says Karen. “Change your cleanser to [one that] includes an exfoliating action. Cleansers with poly or alpha hydroxy acids naturally exfoliate the dead skin cells by stimulating normal skin cell renewal and ungluing the dead cells from the skin's surface. Use PHAs for sensitive or younger skin and AHAs for normal or oily skin types.” Karen likes NeoStrata Facial Cleanser as it works by gently cleansing and exfoliating daily.
Choose serums and moisturisers that hydrate and exfoliate
When it comes to targeting your pore size, any old serum or moisturiser won’t cut it. “Look for active ingredients in your serums and moisturisers such as glycolic acid, AHAs/PHAs, bionic PHAs or mandelic acids that normalise the skin. These types of products can help to smooth, hydrate and soften the skin creating its own natural primer, making them the ultimate multitasking products. Drinking plenty of water can help to maintain plump, smooth skin [and in turn] reduce the appearance of pores, too!”
Choose non-comedogenic moisturisers and cosmetics
“Non-comedogenic products are non pore-clogging, which can help to reduce [the] appearance of pore size. Also, avoid very heavy creams, oils and serums, particularly if you have oily skin.”
Remove make-up at night and thoroughly cleanse your skin
We’ve all been guilty of skipping this vital step, but by upping your cleansing game, super smooth skin could be yours. “This will help keep the pores clear and decongested, but also allows your skin to naturally exfoliate, shed and renew overnight as it would normally,” explains Karen. “Opt for cleansers and moisturisers with hydroxy acids which can help to normalise the skin exfoliation process, helping to cleanse, smooth and brighten the skin.”
Wear sunscreen daily
To protect your refreshed and revived skin from the sun's harsh rays, Karen emphasises the importance of wearing SPF sunscreen every day. “By introducing daily exfoliation to your regimen you are normalising the skin renewal process, allowing new skin cells to come to the surface, so make sure you use an SPF15 moisturiser or make-up every day and boost this to SPF30+ if you are out in the sun.” Also SPF protection can help protect against collagen breakdown caused by the sun, which can make the skin sag and stretch out pores.
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