UPDATE: Back by popular demand, Neutrogena brings back their once discontinued Neutrogena Pore Refining Daily And Exfoliating Cleanser and Toner – Review
Think you know everything about pores? Well, do you know that you need some of that sebum to help balance your skin’s hydration? Cosmetic chemist Upasana Sahu gives us the rundown on how to properly care for our pores, along with some beneficial product recommendations from dermatologists.
Pores are basically small openings on the skin where hair follicles grow that keep our skin hydrated by producing sebum. We all have pores and we need them. But we don’t want them to be so large that it’s the only thing we see when we look in the mirror!
Pores may be more prominent on the nose, cheeks and chin where you have most of your oil glands. Usually, pores are barely visible. But when you don’t wash your face for long periods of time dead skin cells, sebum and dirt can build-up on the skin.
According to Dermatologist Audrey Kunin M.D., “these substances can build-up around the edges of the pores giving them a larger appearance than they really are.”
Large facial pores are usually due to genetics or highly active oil glands, and tend to be more of an issue for women than men. People with dry, thin skin are less prone to having enlarged pores than those with more oily, thicker skin. Blackheads: facial pores that have become clogged with dirt, oil and dead skin that gather into a ball, are usually the result of having large pores. If the blackhead is very large in size, it will expand the pore’s diameter.
Pores are more severe in adults than in teens. The sun and natural aging are the two biggest culprits of large pores in adults. According to Dr. Eric F. Bernstein, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, “exposing the skin to sun’s harmful UV radiation can over time damage elastin and collagen fibers [two key compounds that give your skin elasticity]. This can lead to premature aging. This causes the same effects on pores as natural aging does, but at an accelerated rate.” When the elasticity in your skin begins to decrease, it can make the pores dilate and increase in size.
Exfoliating your face about three times a week could eliminate extra oil that causes pore ducts to enlarge. So, use a gentle facial scrub. Although it is essential, too much exfoliation can lead to rather large pores. When too much oil is removed, the oil glands may produce more oil to compensate. Diane Berson, M.D. recommends using a scrub that contains 2 % salicylic acid such as Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub.
Salicylic acid seeps deep into the sebum-packed pore, exfoliating the dead skin cells built upside down. Always wash your face with warm water as steam will open up pores and unclog them. Many acne cleansers also include a mild exfoliant like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or sulfur. Professional facials are great for deep pore cleansing and extracting nasty blackheads.
At home microdermabrasion kits like the DermaNew Microdermabrasion Facial Rejuvenation System and Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Face Cream are also great options. Dr. Ellen Marmur, Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City recommends to “optimize your daily routine by picking a product that reduces inflammation and helps to build new collagen to tighten the pores. Try StriVectin Overnight Facial Resurfacing Serum or The Olay Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol Kit. [And remember to] always wear sunscreen – my favorite is NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen or Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care SPF 50 lotion.”
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– Upasana Sahu
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