Just hate pores on days when they’re visible. But pores are the reason why we have a healthy functioning skin barrier. There are many theories around pores saying that they can be diminished, eliminated, or they can’t go back to their original size once they’re enlarged. But we dug deep into this and we’re serving cold facts to help you understand pores better. Welcome to 101 of pores!
What are pores?
Pores are the opening of hair follicles but that is not all. There are two types of pores - the ones that release sweat and the ones that release oil. The pores that release oil are generally easily noticeable. You must have seen visible pores on the nose and forehead if you have an oily T-zone. How much ever, you may hate pores for releasing oil, they are helping your skin by releasing oil. This prevents disruption of the skin barrier, dryness, and redness. Now that you know what pores are, let’s understand how they get enlarged!
What leads to enlarged pores?
Let’s first understand skin cells with the help of a balloon. When there is no air or less air in the balloon, it shrinks and sags. As soon as they are pumped with air, you will see the smooth and firm surface of the balloon. It’s similar to skin cells. A cell is like a balloon that needs to have enough moisture and cellular matter to be plumped. The plumper they are, the more space they will take and the lesser the size of the pores. Pores can also enlarge as a response to inflammation. So what can inflame them? A lot of factors. Let’s have a look at them:
1. Environmental factors
Dust, pollution, heat, extreme cold, humidity, free radicals, etc contribute to inflaming the pore by clogging it.
2. Dead skin
If your skin is dirty or simply not exfoliated well for a long time, it leaves pores with no space to breathe and that will lead to enlarged pores.
It is common for the skin to become oily and see visible pores while you’re menstruating. It’s the rise in the hormones that irk the skin and leads to enlarged pores.
5. Sun damage
Sun damage just takes a lot from your skin. The UV rays induce matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), which is a group of enzymes that damages Collagen and other proteins present in the extracellular matrix. This will degrade the cell structure and lead to enlarged pores.
Can you get rid of pores?
We will keep this short. No. You just can’t. The only way a product can help you get rid of the pores is by burning off your skin. A product can, however, help you minimise the appearance of pores though. Anything that can help you reduce inflammation and clogging of the pores, will help you minimise the appearance of pores.
What are the ways to prevent enlarged pores?
Enlarged pores are preventable and that is just by keeping up with the basic requirements of a cell to maintain its structure. What are the basic requirements, you ask? Here’s what you must focus on:
To prevent irritation due to external factors, one must always reach out for healing and soothing ingredients in their PM routine. It should also be something that is gentle but helps relieve the pores of all stress caused during the day. Add Snail Mucin, Centella Asiatica, Aloe Vera, Honey, Turmeric, or Rosewater in your PM routine.
Sublime recommends Rovectin Skin Essentials Cica Care Balm that is rich in Madecassoside, Cica extracts to soothe and heal your skin.
Pores can function well only if the skin cells are hydrated and nourished. We suggest using a moisturiser that has a mix of Humectants and emollients or humectants and Occlusives. Humectants are meant to draw water to your skin whereas emollients and occlusives will seal the moisture in your skin to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
Find out which moisturiser works for you here.
Sublime recommends Hemis Honey,Vanilla & Hemp Oil Day Cream that has Honey and Hemp oil to nourish, hydrate, and restore your skin barrier.
Exfoliate your skin well, once a week or twice if your skin needs it. Exfoliation helps get rid of excess oil, take off the dead skin, remove dirt and other gunk inflaming your pores. If you have an active life and your skin feels dirty almost every day, you can pick an exfoliating toner to gently take off the gunk every day. Note that if you over-exfoliate then your pores will enlarge since over-exfoliation leads to drying and inflammation.
Here’s your cheat sheet for exfoliating acids!
Sublime recommends Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner that Apple fruit water and Willow bark extract. Both are the natural source of AHA and BHA respectively.
4. Peptides and Ceramides
Moisturisers or serums that contain Ceramides and Peptides can help boost the strength of the skin barrier. This will help us prevent inflammation and evasion of pores by dirt, dead skin, or pathogens. Peptides can also improve skin cells’ health which will give you firm and bouncy skin.
Sublime recommends the True Frog Sleeping Mask With Ceramides And Hyaluronic Acid. It’s a regenerating sleep mask that is meant to hydrate and strengthen your skin barrier via Ceramides. It's perfect for those who have dry and dull skin.
How to minimise the appearance of enlarged pores?
So you already have enlarged pores now. The next step is to step back and analyse what led to this situation. It’s probably a broken skin barrier and loss of cell structure. Here is a list of correct steps that you can take to claim back healthy skin:
1. Double Cleanse
Double cleansing is the technique that first says that you cleanse with an oil-based cleanser or a balm to take off your makeup and sunscreen. Then go for a second cleanser that can take off the remains and maintain the pH of the skin. pH largely affects the pores since an imbalance in pH can irritate the pores.
Learn more about Double cleansing here.
Sublime recommends Raw Concoctions Emerald-Balm To Milk Cleanser. It’s a balm cleanser that can effectively take off your makeup and sunscreen. Follow it with a foaming cleanser like Lacuna Light Sea Splash Gentle Cleanser. It has Sea minerals, Coconut Water, Calendula, and glycerin to get rid of toxins and gently cleanse.
Hydration will keep your skin cells plump and hence, minimise the appearance of pores. Humectants are of great aid to draw moisture to the skin from the surrounding area. But that is not enough since water can evaporate from your skin easily. You must pair a hydrator with a moisturiser to improve the skin’s water retention capacity and prevent loss of water.
Learn more about how to pick the right moisturiser here.
3. Skin Barrier Relief
A broken skin barrier will lead to multiple skin concerns like acne, clogged pores, redness, inflammation, excessive oil, etc. It’s all because a broken skin barrier will inflame your pores. If you see enlarged pores then maybe it's time to pick up those balms and serums that can help you relieve the skin barrier. Ingredients like Niacinamide, Ceramides, Peptides, Snail Mucin, Cica, Collagen can help strengthen the barrier.
Microneedling is a type of therapy called collagen induction. This procedure involves puncturing your skin with the help of sterile tiny needles. The wounds will prompt the production of collagen that will help you minimise the appearance of pores since the skin cells will be tightly packed due to collagen.
What are the ingredients that can help you minimise pores?
Anything that can moisturise, repair, increase cell turnover, decongest and exfoliate can help you minimise the appearance of pores. When we see enlarged pores, we always resort to a routine that contains some of the following-
1. Vitamin C
Learn more about Vitamin C here.
Sublime recommends Martiderm Proteos Liposome 30 Ampoules Serum. It has a lesser concentrated derivative of Vitamin C and is paired with Vitamin E, Proteos Liposome. This is a great pick for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
2. Witch Hazel
It’s a potent astringent that fights pathogenic growth on your skin and soothes your skin. If you’ve oily and acne-prone skin, your pores will love Witch Hazel. Use it sparsely since over-use of this ingredient can lead to drying out your skin.
Sublime recommends Coccoon Restoring Day Cream With Vitamin C Kakadu Plum And Witch Hazel. It has SPF 15 and is loaded with the goodness of Vitamin C, Witch Hazel. Great to restore radiance and take care of your pores.
3. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is the most common beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). BHA is oil-soluble and can penetrate to the deepest skin layer to unclog your pores and eliminate dead skin. Start with the lowest concentration to ensure that it won’t irritate your skin since it is an exfoliating acid.
Learn more about Salicylic acid here.
Sublime recommends Fiducia Botanicals Pore Minimising Toner that has 1% Salicylic acid, Panthenol, and Aloe Vera extracts to hydrate and gently exfoliate your skin.
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that helps brighten your skin and decongest your pores. It’s great for all skin types and can be layered with any active ingredient to boost the results. Since Niacinamide decongests your pores, it will help in reducing the appearance of pores.
Learn more about Niacinamide here.
Sublime recommends Dr. Sheth's Hibiscus & Niacinamide Lotion. This is suitable for all skin types and can be used in both AM and PM routines since it isn’t too heavy on the skin.
5. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a great humectant and makes your cells plump, promotes cell growth, and hence leads to visibly minimised pores. Hyaluronic acid is usually not applied as a standalone ingredient since it can even draw moisture from the deepest skin layers if there is a lack of moisture in the surrounding. So use this ingredient with occlusive moisturiser and Ceramides.
Learn more about Hyaluronic Acid here.
Sublime recommends Suganda Hyaluronic Acid Serum. It is paired with Panthenol and Cica to nourish and heal your skin.
6. Centella Asiatica
Centella Asiatica is popularly used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for its healing and soothing benefits. This ingredient is great for those who have acne scars or healing cuts. It repairs skin cells to promote healthy skin and hence, minimises the appearance of pores.
Learn more about Centella Asiatica here.
Sublime recommends Beplain Cicaful Calming Gel. Just an excellent gel for every day to repair and rejuvenate your skin
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that is known to heal wounds by increasing cell turnover. Pores appear larger when the cells shrink due to a lack of cellular matter. Healthy skin cells, smaller pores. It's that simple!
Learn more about Retinol here.
Sublime recommends Deconstruct Retinol & Peptide Serum- 0.2% Retinol + 1% Peptide. It’s great for beginners since it is paired with Peptides and also packs hydration for your skin.
SPF with broad-spectrum can inhibit UV A and B rays that cause structural damage to the cells by degrading cell protein. If you’re not into using SPF every day, just wear it religiously for a month and you will be a part of SPF fan followers. Use all the active and expensive serums but none of them will give you lasting results without SPF.
Learn more on how to shop for sunscreen and understand their labels here.
Sublime recommends FAI Sun Shield SPF 50+ PA+++. It suits all skin types and has broad-spectrum protection. Wear it already!
Enlarged pores are caused due to inflammation. It could be internal factors like ageing, genetics, hormones, or external factors like free radicals, dust, pollution, extreme weather, excess humidity. Enlarged pores can be managed by sticking to a simple cleansing and nourishing skincare routine. But while you’re treating your pores, note that it is just natural for the pores to be seen!