Without pores, our skin would have a hard time cooling off (i.e., releasing sweat) or getting rid of toxins. Like any opening, however, pores don’t just allow things to escape -- they also let things in. If enough dirt, dead skin, or excess oil (sebum) builds up in your pores, these important apertures can grow in size and create oilier skin. Exposing your skin to excessive sunlight can also contribute to enlarged pores. Moreover, some people are genetically predisposed to dealing with larger pores throughout their lives. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with having large pores, many people prefer the appearance of smaller pores. So what, if anything, can you do to diminish enlarged pores? Let’s discuss.
Maintaining clean skin is important for a number of reasons, and it’s certainly a factor in minimizing the prominence of your pores. Cleansing your skin two times a day with the right products and technique can aid in unclogging pores, preventing clogged pores, and making your skin less oily overall. Always use warm water when cleaning your skin, as water that’s too hot can cause irritation. Be gentle when washing, too, doing your best not to scrub too hard. As for the cleanser you use, look for products labelled “non-comedogenic,” as these are specifically designed to not clog pores by avoiding the introduction of other unnecessary oils onto the skin.
Exfoliation is another important process for proper skincare and one that also helps to shrink pores. This process involves applying a mildly abrasive material or substance to the skin in order to shed away dead skin cells. Failing to exfoliate your skin on a semi-frequent basis can cause stubborn dead cells to cling to your skin past their expiration date, contributing to clogged pores, acne, irritation, and more. Exfoliating your skin gets rid of any dead skin cells that haven’t fallen away on their own, improving your skin’s overall texture and tone. You don’t want to exfoliate too frequently, however, as doing so can irritate your skin. As a general rule, it’s usually best to exfoliate about 2-3 times a week, though the optimal frequency will depend on your skin type and other factors as determined by your dermatologist.
Read our blog, “Is Exfoliating Really Good for Your Skin and How Often Should You Do It?” for more on this topic.
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to avoid comedogenic products. These aren’t the only skincare products to watch for, however. If you’re aiming to shrink your enlarged pores, you’ll also want to stay away from most oil-based products, instead opting for water-based solutions. Those with oily skin don’t need to introduce more oil to their pores, after all. When seeking makeup and moisturizing products, look for terms like “humectant,” “water-based,” and “oil-free.”
A little bit of sunshine can feel great on your skin, but too much sun can contribute to all sorts of skin problems, the least of which include enlarged, visible pores. Simply put, sun damaged skin loses some of its elasticity and moisture, which in turn emphasizes and enlarges pores. Therefore, staying out of the sun (especially during peak hours) will help you better manage your pores. And should you decide to spend time outdoors, make sure you apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Acne and enlarged pores are often correlated. Pimples form when sebum or dirt builds up and clogs pores. This inflammation expands the affected and nearby pores. Even after a whitehead or blackhead has been eradicated, you’ll be left with irritated, enlarged pores for a certain period of time. The more severe your acne, the bigger and more lasting an impact it can have on your pores. So, treating your acne properly and making sure not to irritate it further are important steps for preventing enlarged pores. There are a variety of methods and products for treating acne, such as salicylic acid cleansers, benzoyl-peroxide, cosmetic dermatology treatments, and more. Your dermatologist can work with you to find the right acne treatment for your skin.
Pores are important, but that doesn’t mean we want them to take up so much real estate on our faces. The experts at Premier Dermatology Partners are here to help you manage your skin’s health and appearance in every way possible. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.