Enlarged pores are one of the hardest-to-treat skin dilemmas for women of all ages and can be a special bugbear of those with mature skin. While you can’t actually shrink the pores you were born with, there are ways to make them seem smaller. First, wise up to the contributing factors, then work on getting your skin in tiptop condition. With the right products, good skincare habits and a little patience, you’ll be well on your way to firmer, smoother, more youthful-looking skin, whatever your age.
Compare what you have and haven’t been doing to your skin. These essential pore management guidelines can help you make the necessary changes.
What to do
- Cleanse daily – keeping skin deeply cleansed is critical, in the morning and especially at night.
- Exfoliate at least twice a week to remove dirt and dead skin cells.
- Use products with salicylic acid (BHA) or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to gently remove excess skin cells and exfoliate inside the pores.
- Apply hydrating serums and moisturisers, because softer skin will be plumper and look smoother.
- Always wear SPF, as UV exposure weakens collagen, causing skin to sag and pores to stretch.
What to avoid
- Stay away from products that cause dryness or irritation, as this stimulates greater oil flow.
- If your skin is sensitive, slowly introduce new products to avoid irritation or an adverse reaction.
- If you have oily skin, stop using thick or greasy products as they can contribute to congestion. Water-based products are best.
- Look for non-comedogenic products – they don’t contain ingredients that block pores.
Cleanse and clear
Efficient skin cleansing and exfoliating is key. Your skin shouldn’t feel tight or uncomfortable afterwards. If it does, try a gentler product. Always use lukewarm water – never hot, as it’s drying and can encourage excess oil.
Four to the pore
1. Regardless of what you do or the products you use, you can’t actually change the physical size of large pores. It’s just genetics and is often related to skin type. You can, however, stop them from becoming enlarged and make them look smaller.
2. As you age, especially after 40, your skin’s natural exfoliation slows down, which can make pores seem larger. Look for products with AHAs, BHAs and retinoids (made from vitamin A derivatives) to give your complexion a boost.
3. The condition of your skin and lifestyle play a part. For example, pores will be more noticeable if skin is dehydrated from using harsh cleansers, lack of hydration or sun damage. Protect, protect, protect!
4. Sebum (skin oil) flows through pores. Problems start when oil glands produce an excess and it mixes with debris in the pores, like dead skin cells. This can clog pores, making it difficult for oil to flow freely, causing the pore to get bigger. Keep pores clear by cleansing thoroughly.