What causes enlarged pores and how to build a skincare routine to best treat them
At Renude, our clients often ask us how they can reduce the visibility of their pores. Whilst pore size cannot be materially altered, there are certain ingredients which can make them appear less visible. Here, Renude expert Melody dives into why some of us get enlarged pores, and how we can build a skincare routine to minimise them.
Pore size is genetic and unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to physically shrink the size of our pores. However, sometimes pores can appear enlarged as a result of a build-up of sebum produced by overactive sebaceous glands (the oil-producing glands within the skin). This sebum mixes with dead skin (aka keratin) and blocks the pore. As the sebum builds up inside the pore, it stretches, making it appear visibly enlarged. Occasionally, the enlarged pore will turn into a blackhead when oxygen reacts with the sebum and oxidises causing a blackhead inside an enlarged pore.
• BHA (aka salicylic acid), when used as a liquid exfoliant works to dissolve oils and sebum in the skin as well as dead skin (keratin) buildup. When a pore is clear and clean it appears less visible.
• Retinol (and other retinoids) are cell rejuvenating skin care ingredients that encourage your old skin cells to turn over or slough off faster, revealing a smoother skin texture with pore size minimized. Studies also show that once retinol has reached the middle layer of the skin can actually help regulate sebum production.This regulation of sebum will in turn make skin less oily and therefore pores will not stretch.
• Niacinamide or vitamin B3 helps control sebum production and as a bonus works well with BHA and retinol even when used together! Niacinamide is great for sensitive skin types and can actually help your skin accept active ingredients without the drying side effects that often accompany them.
• Wear sunscreen daily even on cloudy, rainy snowy days! Sunscreen protects your skin from accelerated ageing caused by damage from the sun. This damage breaks down the collagen and elastin which in turn causes the skin to become lax. When the skin is lax, the pores will become loose and enlarged as these proteins are giving our skin structure and strength.
• Make-up can sometimes contain waxes and oils to give a certain finish to the skin once applied but can build up on the skin and contribute to enlarged pores. Thoroughly cleansing your skin 2x daily AM and PM will help keep your pores clear and refined.
• Alcohol in products (and in beverages) can cause dehydration of the skin which can also lead to enlarged pores. If the skin is dehydrated, it starts to produce more sebum to counteract. This sebum can collect in the pore, which then begins to stretch. Be sure to avoid alcohol in products, limit the beverages that contain alcohol and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated!
• Heavy moisturisers that are not suitable for oily skin can contribute to sebum production. Always choose a moisturiser that is suitable for your skin type. If your skin is prone to blemishes and blackheads, look for products which are non-comedogenic. This means that they will not block pores.
A consistent skincare routine designed around your unique needs is a fabulous place to start if tackling enlarged pores. We often get frustrated and give up at the 4-week mark or sooner, when in reality it can take 8-12 to see changes in the skin. So, have patience and keep up your beautifully curated routine - your refined healthy skin will thank you!
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