Skin is the largest organ in the human body. Yes! Your skin is an organ and it contains millions of pores. Most of these pores aren’t visible to the naked eye. These pores are all open and allow the skin to breathe. These pores contain hair follicles and sebaceous glands that produce an oily waxy substance called sebum. These pores are important to the human body as they allow the sweat and oil from the body to escape through your skin and keeps the body cool and the skin healthy, by the removal of toxins in the form of sweat and oil. These pores are not just present on your face, but all over your body, but it is most noticeable on the nose and forehead.
Causes of pore enlargement:
- Excessive sebum and dead skin clogging the pores: When a person’s sebaceous glands over produce sebum, it leads to oily skin and decreased elasticity around the pore, making the skin less supple.
- Age and genetics: As a person grows older, the elasticity of the skin reduces and the skin begins to stretch out and sag, making the pores appear bigger and larger. In case your family members have bigger or larger pores, genetically it can be passed onto the next generation as well.
- Prolonged or over exposure to sunlight: sun damage can begin to make the pores become larger as the sun damage thickens the skin causing the tissues beneath your skin to shrink and pull at the edges of your pores, making them sag and look bigger.
Closing up of these pores completely is not possible, but you can make their appearance less prominent and also decrease the size of these pores.
Here are some products that can help you reduce the size of the enlarged pores:
1. Salicylic Acid:
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) and the most common one, which have many beneficial properties like it being comedolytic (which can help unplug the dead skin cells and reduce oil build up causing acne and blemishes), desmolytic (having the ability to exfoliate the skin) and it is also anti-inflammatory in nature. Salicylic acid can unclog and exfoliate pores as they help loosen the bonds between the dead skin on the surface and penetrate deep into the pores. This property can be helpful to the skin as it is in the pores where it gets clogged with oil and debris which get trapped under the surface of the skin and it is this buildup that eventually leads to acne breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads. So this oil-soluble salicylic acid can get through the oil on the skin and thin it down and it can flow freely to the skin’s surface, so when you wash your face it can get washed off as well and can help the enlarged pores to regain its normal size.
Niacinamide is water-soluble by nature and cannot be dissolved in oil. It can often be found in topical water-based serums, moisturizers and masks. It is not acidic and non-irritating and can work well on all skin types. It can easily be absorbed by the outer layer of the skin. It works with the natural substances in your skin in turn it can help visibly minimize the enlarged pores, therefore reducing the buildup in the pores causing reduced blackheads.
3. Clay Mask:
Clay masks have been around since ages as an active skin care ingredient, as it is helpful to detoxify the skin and cleanse the pores and temporarily reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. The mineral content in clay masks is activated when water is added to it and can have a cooling effect on the skin, exfoliate the impurities (like dead skin, dirt and grime) from the skin and reduce the excess oil from the skin, therefore being used more often by people with oily skin as it can remove the excess moisture from the skin, along with natural oils. Clay such as kaolin (mild absorption properties) or bentonite (stronger absorption properties), is usually used for clay masks. It can help reduce that excess shine from your face, as a result of oily skin.
4. Activated Charcoal:
Activated Charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is purer than regular charcoal (please note that it is not the same) and is in general a useful product to keep at home. Activated charcoal is a form of carbon which has been processed to have small and low volume pores. This property helps incase the surface area available for adsorption (holding molecules or particles as a thin film, so the harmful chemicals can get trapped). It is commonly used for the treatment of acne and for the removal of blackheads as it helps to pull out the toxins from under the skin and bring it to the surface. It can be helpful in temporarily reducing the appearance of enlarged pores on the skin surface.
5. Retinol :
Retinol is proven to fade fine lines & wrinkles, even skin tone and smoothen skin. It helps boost the skin’s natural collagen building ability to minimize pores, leaving the skin looking youthful and healthy. It also increases the cell turnover rate, which results in older cells getting replaced by newer cells.
Start with a pea-sized amount and do not apply everyday retinol can make your skin sensitive and cause redness and peeling.
6. Hyaluronic acid:
hyaluronic acid provides hydration at depth and surface. Surface hydration results in instant glow and long lasting hydration delivers anti aging effect. It penetrates deep and provides hydration from inside resulting in reduced signs of aging such as fine lines, enlarged pores and age spots.
Here are some tips to follow in order to reduce the appearance of large pores on the skin’s surface:
- Use moisturizers, to avoid your skin from drying up or becoming too oily.
- Utilize clay masks once a week or once in two weeks at least, so that the excess oil can be absorbed and give your face a natural glow.
- Use products that can help the production of collagen (a protein), which can help your skin look firm. This can minimize the appearance of large pores.
- Wash your face at least twice a day, so it can remove the excess oil and dirt which clogs the pores.
- Use sunscreen or sun block, as prolonged or over exposure to the sun can cause the pores to enlarge or appear bigger.
- Exfoliate your skin using a physical cleansing scrub or chemical exfoliant (AHAs or BHAs), so that the dead skin cells will not clog the pores. Remember not to over exfoliate, as it will ruin the skin barrier (the outer most layer of the skin, also called as the stratum corneum) and be harmful to the skin.
Home remedies to open up and tighten pores on the face:
- Use warm water or steam to help your pores to open up before washing or cleansing your face, so that it makes it easier for the dirt and grime to come out of the pores. You can dip a cloth or towel in warm water (do not make it hot or else it will scald or burn your skin) and dab it over your face for 30 seconds or even opt to use steam instead of the warm water towel dab method.
- After cleansing your face, use cold water, so that the skin on the face tightens, so that future clogging can be reduced. You can dip your face in a bowl of cold water for 15 seconds or wash your face with cold water. You can even dip a cloth or towel in cold water and dab it over your face for 15 seconds.