The Truth about Pores: Fact vs. Fiction

It seems everyone has concerns about pore appearance as both clogged and enlarged pores are frequent complaints. Many factors involving pore appearance are of genetic origin. However, the following are the most frequently asked questions concerning pores.

Why do we see pores?

As the sebaceous glands produce sebum, the follicle dilates to accommodate the amount of sebum passing through the follicle to the skin's surface, almost like a collapsible hose enlarges as water passes through it. If the skin is dry, it produces less sebum and the pores appear smaller because there is less oil passing through the follicle. Therefore, oily skin or oily areas of the skin have larger pores, and dry skin has smaller pores. Remember, the amount of sebum (oil) the skin produces is genetic and size and number of sebaceous glands, the number of lobes on the glands, and sebum production levels are also genetically influenced.

Can pores really shrink?

Although the idea of shrinking pores is popular with advertisers promoting products, pore size cannot really be permanently reduced. However, pore appearance can be minimized over a period of several months with regular deep cleaning facials and by continual home use of alpha hydroxy acids. By removing cell buildup on the follicle walls, pore elasticity improves and the follicle walls retract Pore minimizing toners and makeups are available and generally work by having astringent effect on the skin's surface, causing it to temporarily tighten, making the pores appear smaller and more refined.

What are the best treatments for controlling clogged pores?

Controlling dead-cell accumulation inside the follicle is key to clearing clogged pores on a long-term basis. Even though extractions performed by your esthetician will help remove visible clogged pores, they cannot stop the continual genetic-cell buildup in the follicle. This is why clogged pores are a continual problem. Extraction also has no effect on the microcomedones deep in the follicle. At the spa, mild salicylic peels help to loosen dead cells on the skin's surface, easing extraction. Desincrustation solutions are complexes of surfactants that help liquefy solidified sebum accumulations by breaking up the masses, helping make the extraction process more efficient. Spa treatments are important for removing existing impactions, but the real key to controlling and preventing cloggd pores of all types is also daily home care.

What about pores that always look big, even after treatment?

Sun damaged areas may have apparent pores that never seem to change, even with superficial peels. When the skin is sun damaged, it can lose collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in enlarged pores. These sun-damaged follicles are most likely found on the nose and inner cheeks.