When we reach 50, we may notice quite a few changes on our face, and one of them may be the size of our pores. About six years ago, I remember looking at my nose and surrounding area and thinking that my pores looked okay.
Three years later, looking in my magnifying mirror, my pores more closely resembled the size of small craters.
Although it’s not possible to reduce the size of our pores, the good news is that there are ways to make them look less noticeable.
Pores are the small holes where the hair follicles, oil and sweat glands exit the skin. The size of our pores is largely determined by genetics, but there are two other factors which cause them to look enlarged.
The first relates to the amount of sebum (oil) we produce. Our pores may look enlarged when our sebaceous glands produce a lot of oil and we have oily skin.
The second factor is decreased elasticity around the pore, which happens naturally as we age, making the pores look larger.
So, what can we do to make our pores look less visible?
The first thing we can do is to choose water-based products rather than ones containing oil. This helps us avoid getting extra oil in our pores.
It’s important to wash our face both in the morning and in the evening.
Those of us with oily skin should choose a gel-based cleanser rather than a moisturizing one. Moisturizing cleansers can leave residue in the pores which increases oiliness. A gel-based cleanser helps clear out oil from our pores.
We need to exfoliate one to two times a week. This helps remove dirt, dead skin cells, and excess oil which can block our pores. Look for products that contain salicylic acid which is a natural acid that helps release debris from the pores.
Tip: If your skin gets too dry, your pores can look bigger. If you have dry skin, you may want to exfoliate once a week rather than twice.
When dead skin cells get clogged deep inside a pore, this creates a dark shadow, and that’s why a blackhead looks black – it’s actually the shadow of the sides of the pore. If the clog is more toward the surface, it’s a whitehead.
While moisturizing cleansers may clog the pores, a moisturizing lotion is beneficial as it hydrates and softens the skin. This allows the sebum to penetrate more deeply rather than sit in the pores on the surface of the skin and clog them.
A clay mask helps remove the oil from our pores which helps keep them from becoming enlarged. But don’t do this on the same day that you exfoliate your skin.
Obviously, makeup, bacteria, and oil can build up in our pores and block them. This stretches the pore making it look bigger. And if the pore remains clogged, a pimple can develop.
Not only can sun damage be very drying to our skin, but even more importantly, it leads to degradation of collagen which makes our pores look larger.
If you’re concerned that your pore issue is more of a medical problem, you should consult with your dermatologist.
A medical professional can prescribe several solutions, including Retin-A which can exfoliate your skin and help prevent clogging. Retinol can also assist in building up your collagen which keeps the skin firm.
Other possibilities include chemical peels, laser resurfacing therapies, radiofrequency treatments, and ultrasound therapies.
You’ve probably heard of pore minimizing primers that are applied after moisturizer and before foundation.
In this category you will find pore filling primers and pore blurringprimers, but the former will give you the best results. The two products that I can recommend are Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector and NYX’s Pore Filler (this is a drugstore product).
Other higher end products are:
Among the pore-blurringproducts that I often see recommended are Maybelline’s Master Primer and YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer.
Whichever product you choose, keep in mind that it’s very important how you apply them. First, apply them only where you have large pores.
Second, push the product into your skin with your fingers and then use a small, rounded, stiff-bristled brush to further push the product into your skin. Use circular motions to the left and right using firm pressure and then press down with your fingers again.
You can also choose to put the primer on first and then use the technique above with your foundation. Alternately, you can skip the primer and see if just applying foundation with this technique will work for you.
Powder, when used lightly, can also have a pore minimizing effect. Take a powder puff and fold it in half. Dab off any excess powder, press the powder into the puff well, and then press the powder onto the area where you’ve applied primer and/or foundation.
Finally, certain concealers can also minimize the visible appearance of pores. The application technique would be the same: thoroughly press the concealer into the skin working it in from several different angles.
Have you noticed any changes with your pores in the past few years? Are there any skin care techniques which have helped your pores look less visible? Have you used any makeup products that have helped? We’d love to hear your recommendations!