If you have enlarged pores on your face despite maintaining a good skincare routine and taking extra care of your face, it can be frustrating at best. Facial pores vary depending on your skin type and while you can’t eradicate them completely, the good news is you can reduce their appearance.
We speak to skincare expert and facialist at Skin Matters Joanne Evans about how to do battle with your enlarged pores and win:
Pores are necessary for the secretion of sweat and sebum, which helps to provide the skin’s natural barrier against the environment and to keep the skin supple. Excess oil production causes the pores to enlarge to allow the sebum to flow. Pores then become clogged up with oil as well as dirt and skin cells.
Once the end of the clogged pore is exposed to the air, it oxidizes, forming a blackhead. So it’s no surprise that pores tend to be most noticeable in those with oily and/or congestion prone skin. They are genetic, too, so if your parents had enlarged pores there’s a high chance you will too.
It’s worth remembering that very dry skin can also cause pores to flatten out and appear bigger. Enlarged pores are also a natural part of the ageing process – as collagen levels deplete and skin becomes less firm and plump the pores start to open. This can start as early as your twenties.
How to minimise facial pores
While you can’t shrink a pore that has already been stretched, there are steps you can take to bring your skin back under control.
‘It is very difficult to completely get rid of enlarged pores unless you’re prepared to carry out a course of ablative treatments such as laser and/or dermabrasion or peels,’ explains Evans. ‘These treatments will burn and remove several layers of skin to flatten the opening of the skin. Refining is a better expectation to have.’
According to Evans, with a mixture of home care and professional treatments, skin can be improved and regulated and you can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by doing the following:
- Professional extraction
- Regular exfoliation
- Gentle dermabrasions and peels
- Blue LED Light
Double cleanse regularly to minimise pores
The golden rule for healthy skin and keeping those pores clear is never to sleep in your make-up. It will only get pushed in to your pores as you toss and turn in bed, clogging them up and causing them to expand further.
‘I’d recommend gentle cleansing twice a day, especially if your skin is oily and/or acne prone,’ says Evans. ‘Cleaning skin, at night in particular, and not leaving make-up on overnight is so important. If you don’t, then it prevents skin from breathing which opens pores.’
Skincare’s buzzword du jour is double cleansing. Beauty guru Caroline Hirons has designed a product specifically for this purpose, the Pixi Double Cleanse.
The first wash is carried out with the solid oil-based cleanser, which really breaks down heavy make up and sunscreen to remove all the day’s grime. This is followed by a cream cleanser, which can be massaged in for a deep cleanse that targets the pores.
Whatever cleanser you go for, opt for a gentle, water-soluble, soap free cleanser to avoid clogging the pores further. It might be tempting to slap on drying, harsh ingredients but this can irritate the skin and trigger more sebum production.
Exfoliate to minimise pores
Exfoliating will remove built up dead skin cells which can clog the pores and some exfoliators have anti-microbial properties which can target bacteria, which can also build up in the pores and cause them to expand. ‘Exfoliating regularly is also key,’ says Evans.
While moisturising may seem counterintuitive if you’re skin is greasy, it’s worth remembering that you can still have dehydrated skin at the same time as enlarged pores and excess oil – dehydrated refers to the skin’s water content, not its oil content.
‘Aim to avoid skin becoming dehydrated and producing excess oil by using lighter moisturisers, rather than heavy emollients such as shea butter that can clog pores,’ says Evans.
Try nose strips to minimise pores
These may seem like a gimmick from your youth but the good news is that nose strips do actually work, in moderation. ‘It does depend on your skin and using them properly,’ says Evans. ‘Someone with quite delicate skin and not a lot of pores can peel off a lot more and cause the skin to be sore.’
‘A lot of people are pressing the strips too firmly on and keeping them on longer than they should, causing skin to be taken off!’ adds Evans.’ But they are a better option then picking and squeezing at home. Overall though I tend to prefer peel-off masks instead.’
Evans recommends clay, charcoal and mud masks that are great for absorbing oil and making skin appear temporarily fresher.
Try a facial to minimise pores
Sometimes a professional treatment using more potent products is needed to really kick-start the shrinkage of those pores, for instance an in salon salicylic acid peel.
Evans offers The Super Facial, which aims to reduce pore size. After a thorough cleanse, steam, extraction (spot and blackhead removal), exfoliation and eyebrow shape, ultrasound is used to stimulate cell renewal and deliver skincare ingredients to the deeper layers.
Products containing vitamins A, C and E, and a galvanic current mask plumps the skin and seals in ingredients.