Everyone has probably experienced it: You look in the bathroom mirror and you can see your pores — or what looks like hundreds of teeny, tiny openings all across your nose, forehead and cheeks. If you’re like most people, your pores can be filled with impurities that pop up at just the wrong time, even when you’re religiously cleaning and moisturizing your face. If you’re wondering how to get smaller pores, however, it’s not exactly as easy as some products claim.
The Basics About Your Pores
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it contains several different layers and parts. One of them is your pores. Your pores are hair follicles on your skin that contain sebaceous glands. These glands produce oil that moisturizes your skin and hair. But if you produce too many dead skin cells and too much of this oil, called sebum, your pores can become clogged. This makes it a more welcoming environment for bacteria that can lead to whiteheads, blackheads and other acne.
One of the best things you can do to unclog your pores is to regularly clean your face. This doesn’t mean using harsh soaps or cleansers or scrubbing your face five times a day, though. Simple practices like washing your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water one to two times a day, removing makeup products after a long day of wear, not squeezing pimples, using products with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet can keep your skin healthy. Though there are some cases where prescription treatment may be necessary to clear your skin, in general, these habits can help you treat and minimize acne.
So Can You Really Get Smaller Pores?
It seems the best way to reduce your chances of acne would be to reduce the size of your pores, but it’s actually impossible to make your pores smaller. The size of your pores is largely genetic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to reduce the appearance of them.
If you want to make your pores less noticeable, the first and best step is to cleanse your skin twice a day, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Clogged pores are more visible than clean pores, so gently washing your face can remove a lot of the excess oil filling your pores. Using the right products is important, too. When you buy skin care items, look for products that say noncomedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. Anything oil-free also is a good bet.
The AAD also says using skin care products that contain retinol can help unclog pores, especially if you have naturally oily skin.
Another way to reduce the appearance of your pores is to protect your skin from sun damage. Sun damage affects your skin’s elasticity and makes it less firm, causing your pores to be more visible. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30 can give you the coverage you need to prevent sun damage.
Exfoliating your skin with a gentle scrub or mask also can make your pores less visible. You could do an exfoliation treatment like this at home with the right product or visit a dermatologist, like the experts at Dermatology Associates of Winchester in Winchester, Mass.
Taking Care of Your Skin
The truth is everyone would like to know how to get smaller pores, but no one’s skin is perfect. Changing your skin care routine to focus on gentle cleansing twice a day, using a good moisturizer and not picking at your face can help you avoid clogged pores and clear away oils that can lead to blemishes.
Despite what any product says, there’s nothing you can do to change the size of your pores. Still, sticking to a healthy skin care regimen can at least make your pores appear a lot smaller when you look into that bathroom mirror and give you a refreshed, clean feeling.