The size of the pore is determined by the amount of sebum (oil) being produced and flowing down the follicular canal.  The more sebum produced, the more the follicle and pore stretch to accommodate the quantity of sebum being secreted.  Follicles that are clogged with keratinized cells (dead skin) and fatty materials will have larger pores due to the stretching of the follicle walls from the amount of debris in the canal.

Here are some tips to help improve large pores:

1.  Avoid using skin-care products that clog pores or cause your skin to produce more oil.  Any product that is too emollient (meaning thick, greasy creams) or that have a creamy texture, as many moisturizers do.  If you have oily skin, creamy, emollient skin-care products will lead to clogged pores, enhancing their appearance.

2.  Avoid products with drying, irritating ingredients.  Irritating products stimulate more oil production directly in the pore.  Irritation triggers nerve endings in the pore that activate hormones which increase oil-production leading to large pores.

3.  Use only gentle, water-soluble cleansers and avoid bar soaps.  Drying cleansers hurt the skin’s healing process, making red marks from blemishes last longer.  If a cleanser causes irritation, it can stimulate more oil production.

4.  Use a salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant, in gel or liquid form, with absolutely no extraneous irritating ingredients.  Gently exfoliating skin with a BHA can both remove excess skin cells from the surface of the face (so they don’t build up in the pore) and exfoliate inside the pore (to improve its shape), allowing for a more even flow of oil.  Anti-Aging Bonus – this step also reduces wrinkles and builds collagen.  BHA is preferred to AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid) because BHA exfoliates not only on the skin’s surface but also inside the pore, where the flogs form.

5.  Absorb excess oil.  Clay masks can be great at absorbing oil and are an option, as long as they do not contain other ingredients that are irritating.  Some cosmetic companies also offer oil-absorbing products to be worn under makeup; these are definitely worth trying to absorb oil all day long.

6.  Improve cell production to help the pore function more normally.  Effective products for all skin types are prescription retinoids, such as tretinoin, Retin-A, Renova, and Differen.  These can be used by themselves or with a BHA product.  Research has shown that these retinoids have positive effects on the way pores function, and you should consider these products for very stubborn cases or when blackheads are accompanied by breakouts.  Retinoids have anti-aging benefits, too, so they’re great for those struggling with blackheads, large pores, and wrinkles.

7.  Consider having a facial.  Aestheticians can extract blackheads without damaging your skin.

8.  Consider cosmetic corrective procedures.  For all skin types, AHA or BHA peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing can improve the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.  However, these procedures don’t necessarily improve pore functioning; rather, they temporarily get rid of the surface problem, which does make your skin look better.  For best results, an in-office cosmetic procedure must be accompanied by an effective at-home skin-care routine.

9.  Be careful about the make up you use and be sure to get it all off at night.  If you’re using thick, heavy makeup to cover red marks, even out an uneven skin tone, or hide large pores, be aware that the texture of such cosmetics can make matter worse.  Never go to bed without removing all of your makeup!

Feel free to comment on tips, tricks and techniques on how you deal with large pores (if you have them)!  If you don’t, lucky you!

TAGS aesthetics , skin care