Many of us want our skin to look smooth from a distance, but sometimes the pores on our face are too visible for our own comfort. This is totally normal, and even though it’s not ideal, sometimes our pores get congested and remain visible, even after cleansing.
Our skin has two kinds of pores: one that releases sweat and one that releases sebum (oil). Sweat glands aren’t visible and don’t get clogged, so when dermatologists talk about visible pores, they’re referring to oil-producing pores. These contain a sebaceous gland and a hair strand. When pores get clogged, they can cause a number of problems.
Oil, dead skin cells, and dirt can mix and gather in the pore, creating a blockage. Whiteheads, blackheads, and acne in general are a result of this. There are a number of things that can cause excess sebum production. Dietary choices like too much sugar, dairy, carbohydrates, or alcohol can increase the blood’s glucose level, which contributes to excess sebum. Hormonal changes, like during puberty and pregnancy, might also cause excess oil on the skin. Athletic individuals may deal with oilier skin if their sebaceous glands are overcompensating in oil production from dryness after washing too frequently following excessive sweating.
When pores get filled with dirt and oil, the contaminants remain there unless they’re washed out. When a pore does get cleansed, it might be more visible afterwards, having been stretched by the buildup. Pores are larger than the cells that make up the skin, so an enlarged pore can be set in place as skin grows if it’s not exfoliated and managed properly. As we age, pores might also be opened as we lose collagen and firmness gives way to lax skin that pulls on and exposes these small openings.
The best way to deal with larger pores is to keep the skin clean and your pores clear of buildup. By removing buildup and keeping it out, your skin will have a chance to settle back to an obstruction-free condition. Using a pore cleanser (avoiding alcohols and sulfate ingredients, which dry out skin) in your skincare routine can give the specific attention that the problem may need.
If your pores have been enlarged and are showing even when clean, they might need support from a retinol, or vitamin A, product. This will help volumize the skin by stimulating collagen production. Pore-shrinking cosmetics like toners may contain salicylic acid to exfoliate and diminish the buildup around the pores. Exfoliation is an important step in a daily routine that can also help prevent wrinkles and hair loss, both of which can develop from buildup in the pores. A cleansing and exfoliation should always be followed by a moisturizer that’s appropriate for your skin.
Getting a facial or chemical peel can help keep your pores clear and minimized. Your dermatologist can adjust a solution to your specific skin type and needs to cleanse, deliver nutrients, exfoliate, and moisturize your skin. A laser treatment or microdermabrasion can also effectively minimize pores.
If you have skin that’s prone to congestion, schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists today.