We often observe that some people’s faces have visibly larger pores than others, and may wonder why. The skin is our largest organ that is covered with thousands of tiny holes all over, which are known as ‘pores’. Their function is vital in keeping the skin healthy as they allow both sweat and oil to escape through the skin while cooling it in the process. This maintains optimum skin health and allows the dirt, grime, bacteria and other toxins to be flushed out. What’s interesting to note - is that a pore is an opening for a hair follicle as well as the sebaceous glands that produce a sticky liquid called sebum. This sebum lubricates the skin and keeps the face hydrated, moisturised and smooth.
To break it down, large or distinctly open pores can occur due to a plethora of reasons, such as:
- Production of excess sebum: For those who have oily skin, they may notice that their sebaceous glands produce oil in large quantities which in turn, makes their pores look bigger. Hormones too can play a role in the stimulation of these glands.
Aging: When the body ages, so does the skin. Low levels of collagen production along with decreased elasticity around the pore area can make the skin less supple, and make the pores appear enlarged.
Thicker hair follicles: Due to reduced elasticity around the pores, the hair follicle volume may increase too, which results in the pores getting clogged.
Acne: Irrespective of skin type be it normal, oily or even combination - having large pores can clog your skin with dirt, grime, bacteria or even dead skin cells. These clogged pores may lead to a host of skin breakouts like blackheads, whiteheads or acne.
Damage by the sun: Overexposure to the sun can result in thickened skin, which in turn increases the size of the pores. The prolonged exposure to the sun can also remove collagen and elastin as well as draw out water from the skin, which causes the skin tissue beneath to shrink and pull on the edges of the pores, making them sag and appear bigger.
Genetics: An unfortunate truth - sometimes our bodies are genetically wired in such a way, because we inherit certain characteristics from our ancestors. Having open or large pores may be hereditary, and beyond our control at times.
- Using non-comedogenic makeup: This may come as a shock to many, but using makeup which is non-comedogenic, especially products such as foundation, powder and blush can lead to blocked pores. Particularly for those with oily or sensitive skin, when the ingredients are too heavy, oily or may irritate the skin - an obstruction in the pores can occur.
However, regular care can help minimise the size of your pores by diligently following certain methods and guidelines, such as:
1. Detoxification with a Clay/Charcoal mask: A simple indulgence like a face mask once or twice a week can yield great benefits for the skin. Both charcoal and clay are wonderful pore cleansers due to their magnetic abilities. They have a tendency to cling onto dirt, grime, oil or any other impurities and suck them out of the pores while rinsing or peeling it off.
A great Clay mask to purify the skin is the Neemli Naturals Four Clay Gentle Mask, which is enriched with four mineral-rich clay - French Pink Clay, Green Clay, Red Clay and Rhassoul Clay. They help in cleansing, rejuvenating and clarifying the complexion and pores. For those who prefer a Charcoal mask, an excellent choice is the Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque with Bamboo Charcoal that assists in the absorption of toxins, impurities and tightens the pores.
2. Cleansing regularly or ‘Double Cleansing’: Something as basic as washing your face well can help eliminate oil and dirt from the pores and reduce their Ideally, choose a gel-based cleanser if you have oily skin, as this helps control the amount of sebum without stripping the skin off its natural moisture.
Moreover, ‘Double Cleansing’ - the renowned Korean method to achieve clearer skin, consists of two simple steps; washing your face using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. This helps remove stubborn impurities that may cause acne or clog the pores. The oil-based cleanser breaks down makeup, removes dirt and excess oil whereas the second cleanser aids in hydrating, balancing the skin and ensuring a thorough cleanse from deep within!
3. Using Vitamin C ampoules: MartiDerm, a Spanish brand revolutionised the skincare industry when it introduced Vitamin C ampoules to the world. These ampoules are made of amber glass with a pure and concentrated form of Vitamin C in them. This ensures that the ingredients are in their most active form, as the glass prevents oxidation from occurring, preserving the purity and power of the Vitamin C for maximum efficiency and absorption. What differentiates these Vitamin C ampoules from the others in the market, is that they are formulated to an optimum pH, to achieve maximum penetration and prevent skin degradation of any sort.
MartiDerm has a unique, oil-free formula called “Proteos Liposome”, which is especially for those with oily or sensitive skin, who are facing the issue of open pores. This ampoule has a fresh, light texture that balances sebum production and soothes sensitive skin. It is an antioxidant powerhouse that repairs damage from photo-aging and brightens the skin tone while deeply hydrating it.
Understanding the key ingredients that make up this Liposome is crucial to understand how it can help control and manage pores.
a. Vitamin C: This miracle ingredient has antioxidant, regenerating and brightening properties that help in repairing damaged skin cells. Proteos Liposome has 5% Liposomal Vitamin C, which is a liposome-encased form that ensures it acts as a vehicle for direct penetration into the skin, preventing any irritation or reactions. It consists of Ascorbyl Palmitate - a lipid soluble form that helps in liposome stability. Its physiological pH is 5.5, so it is recommended to be used by those having reactive or sensitive skin since the pH is higher than usual.
b. Vegan Proteoglycans: These macromolecules help in restoring the epidermal cells, and functions of the skin. Proteum 89+ is MartiDerm's exclusive molecule, which has the most active fraction of a plant proteoglycan (in the case of Proteos Liposome it is soybean). This makes their products vegan in comparison to the other brands that use animal-based proteoglycans. It is a key molecule in maintaining a good state of the cellular matrix and keeping the skin healthy too.
Moreover, they have an anti-inflammatory effect, accelerate the healing process and enhance both turnover of fatty acids and cellular regeneration. They have wonderful hydrating properties due to their ability to retain water: they absorb a volume of water that is 1,000 times greater than its own,making the skin plump.This makes them a better choice over Hyaluronic acid, which is a commonly used humectant. The 3% of Proteoglycans are essential compounds in the synthesis of youth-preserving collagen and fighting sun-damage which can lead to open pores too.
c. Glycolic Witch Hazel extract: Scientifically called Hamamelis Virginiana, it is naturally a mild astringent which causes the tissues to contract and helps in shrinking the pores, while soothing them and relieving them from inflammation. Its antibacterial properties help to balance sebum production, reduce skin redness and provide relief from irritations. It also helps prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting the skin, which is why it is commonly found in toners and mists.
However, despite its numerous benefits, it is usually extracted through a distillation process that involves the usage of alcohol. Alcohol as an ingredient is very harmful, not only because it generates free-radical damage, but also since it impairs the surface of the skin. This may lead to the skin drying up or irritate it. This is why MartiDerm uses Witch Hazel Glycolic extract, which does not involve alcohol, to ensure the skin does not get harmed in the process, and to preserve the properties of the botanical extract.
d. Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps to heal and nourish the skin and is apt for those with excessively oily, acne-prone or blemished skin due to its regenerative properties. It is a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in eliminating scar tissue, protecting from sun damage and stabilising the Vitamin C.
Overall, following a regular skin care regime, complementing it with regular exercise, adequate water intake and a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and essential nutrients. In addition, wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, ideally a mineral sunscreen can prevent dehydration and excess sebum production too. Even though we have heard this before - removing makeup the right way before going to bed is key, so your skin can breathe and regenerate at night. Try these simple remedies, and watch your skin transform into radiant, healthy and glowing skin in no time!
- By Krisha Jhaveri