Have you ever wondered why babies have smooth, silky, flawless skin and how skin changes over the years, naturally?
Other than fine lines, wrinkles, and age spot formation, there are other signs of aging too, one of which is enlarged pores or pores becoming more apparent.
While you may wish to reduce the size of your pores, perhaps around the nose or cheek area, did you know that pore size is actually predetermined by your genes? Even so, you may take measures to unclog blocked pores and reduce their appearance by taking better care of the skin around the pores.
Factors affecting the appearance of pores
As the years pass, damage from UV rays and other environmental factors causes skin to lose its elasticity. Pores on aged skin appears larger and more dilated because the skin around the pores are no longer as firm, nor collagen-rich as in younger skin.
Tip: Use broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 all year round to help lessen the effects of UV damage, and keep your skin firmer even as it ages. When engaged in outdoor activities, opt for SPF50 or above, re-apply every 2 hours. As for water-sports, opt for broad spectrum, SPF 50 or above and water-proof sunscreen, reapply every two hours or more frequently if you’re perspiring a lot, or if you feel that the sunscreen may have come off.
Size of the sebaceous glands
Pores are the openings to the hair follicles of the skin. Attached to those follicles are oil-producing sebaceous glands. These glands produce a natural skin oil called sebum which keeps skin moisturized, protecting it from drying of air exposure.
Nose pores are naturally larger than cheek pores because the sebaceous glands underneath them are larger in comparison.
Our genes also dictate the composition of our skin, hence the size of pores varies from one person to another.
Nourishing LED light technology can keep the sebaceous glands in balance and contracting the oil glands. If you don't want to apply harsh chemicals on skin, LED light therapy is a great option. Pick a device that offers red color LED lights.
Sebum is secreted to provide a lining for the surface of the pores. When there is an over-production of sebum, it clings itself to dead skin cells and dirt, clogging the pores. If it is not removed in time, the built-up, whiteheads (comedo), and blackheads will stretch out pores, making it look larger, therefore more visible or even worse, form acne.
Sebum secretion is affected by hormones. Keeping our hormonal balance is important. Hot, humid and polluted air will certainly play a contributing role. We naturally sweat more in hot humid climates. Sweat will then trap dirt, if the skin is not properly cleansed regularly, the build-up of debris will expand the pores, trapped debris and moisture is a playground for bacteria, resulting in acne and skin inflammation.
Tip: If you wear make-up, always double-cleanse before bed. Pick oil-free, noncomedogenic make-up as they are more skin-friendly.
Wash your face twice daily with creamy or gel-based face wash, as well as after dirty activities or sweaty exercises. If you have oily skin, go for an astringent face wash, it’s tougher than regular face wash and can help your facial tissues to shrink. These products sometimes give you a tingly sensation.
Regular (minimum weekly) exfoliation is key when it comes to battling enlarged pores. Choose an exfoliating pore scrub with an active ingredient like salicylic acid or glycolic acid or azelaic acid to slough away pore clogging debris. Willow bark extract helps to treat inflamed skin. If you don’t have sensitive skin and feel the normal exfoliation just doesn’t cut it, you may opt for a chemical peel such as a glycolic acid peel.
For the lucky few with great skin, green tea pore scrub is packed with antioxidants which can strengthen the skin’s health to fight free radicals that leads to premature skin aging.
To mechanically remove stored debris at the epidermis layer, ultrasonic skin scrubber devices flush out debris and dead skin cells by vaporizing water in the cleaning process. Comedo suction device will act as a vacuum machine to suck out targeted comedo effectively and efficiently.
To keep hormonal balance, you’ll need to maintain proper sleep, a healthy diet, pay attention to and manage your stress level.
At the Dermatologist
Dermatologists and aestheticians offer pore cleaning services to make them look smaller, an effect that can be especially noticeable for more mature skin. In case you haven’t heard, there are vacuum-powered pore extraction devices that deep-clean the pores by sucking out dirt, sebum and debris. LED light therapy helps to shrink emptied pores by contracting the oil glands or chemical peels with topical agents can help do the trick too. These services or treatment may come at multiple times the cost of over-the-counter solutions but are intended as special treatments rather than day-to-day skin-care regimes. Even if money is not an issue, nothing beats a thorough daily beauty regimen.