Walk past any beauty aisle and you'll see a plethora of products that claim to “shrink” pores or make them completely disappear.
But what do we actually know about those teeny-tiny holes that cover our face? It turns out, not a whole lot. For instance, can they actually change in size, or is it only possible to alter their appearance?
And despite our limited knowledge about just what they are, those teeny-tiny holes all over our skin can be a major source of insecurity.
No longer. It's time for a crash course on the ins and outs of skin pores.
Ok, first off, what are they?
Simply put, pores are tiny openings to hair follicles and each one produces natural oil which helps us maintain healthy skin. These oils protect us against infection, dryness and skin chapping.
Why are some people's larger than others?
Pore size is determined by a number of factors which are out of our control; These genetics, sebum levels in the body, gender and age. Men tend to suffer with enlarged pores are more commonly, due their tendency to produce more sebum and their higher levels of the testosterone hormone.
What is a 'clogged pore' and how might one ‘unclog’ a pore?
A pore becomes ‘clogged’ when oil, dry skin cells and everyday dirt and debris enter the opening. Clogged pores left untreated can lead to blackheads and acne. Regular exfoliation can refine the appearance of pores, along with ingredients that slow sebum secretion and draw out impurities, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, charcoal.
Can makeup help with the pore situation?
Primers that contain silicone can 'fill in' your pores and create a smooth canvas for your foundation, but make sure that you apply them correctly by using a tapping motion as opposed to a rubbing action. Silicone can break up with too much rubbing or tugging, which will cause the product to roll and peel off the skin, whereas tapping stabilizes the area.
What about more professional treatments?
Light-based treatment such as IPL or micro-needling can work to improve the surface of the skin and diminish the appearance of pores, but you should always book a consultation with a dermatologist to see what’s best for you before considering such treatments.
Lastly, those peel-off masks we saw all over Instagram, good or bad?
Bad for the most part. Peel of masks and pore strips do clean the surface of the skin to an extent, but by nature, it's very surface level and they are not capable of deep cleansing. Removing the superficial portion of a blackhead is one thing, but such products have been known to cause further irritation to those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Main image by @cariatydes on Instagram