Your pore size is basically determined by genetics, sun exposure, your age and anything that can impact your sebaceous-oil gland. As you age, you lose your skin infrastructure, collagen and elastin, which support your skin pores. This can cause what is called 'open pores'.
Excess build up of skin cells and oil can also expand the follicle and cause enlarged pores. It starts when your oil glands make too much oil. This oil then combines with dead skin, dirt, make up and together they clog the pore. This blockage does not allow the free flow of the oil which makes the pores expand, causing enlarged pores. Enlarged pores are very common around the nose area, which typically has more oil glands. These blockages, once exposed to the air, oxidise, forming black heads. Read our black head and white head blog for more details.
So how do we reduce this problem? It is really all about having an effective skin care routine.
1- Exfoliating your face is an absolute must. Using an effective exfoliant like BOA to slough away the dead skin cells is a great preventative way to remove the dead cells on a regular basis. If you don’t have sensitive skin, combine BOA exfoliant with a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). This way you will not only take care of removing dead cells, but BHAs can also penetrate inside the pore. Once excess dead cells and oils are removed, the pore can revert back to its healthy state. Avoid using cleaning brushes with stiff bristles. All you are doing with that method of exfoliation is creating micro tears in your skin.
2- Cleanse. One of the biggest problem with enlarged pores is that people go to bed with their full make up on. Make up is one of the main reasons why clogged pores happen in the first place. Use a gentle cleanser that does not dry your skin. If your cleanser is stripping away your natural sebum extensively, this will lead to more production of oil and you can enter a vicious cycle of over production of oil.
3- Use your moisturizer only in spots that feel dry. Moisturizers or treatments that are loaded with emollients can clog pores. Products containing Niacinamide have been shown to improve enlarged pores.
4- This is an extra step. If you still feel your skin is very oily, a clay mask can suck the excess oil out of the skin and help absorb excess oil on the skin.
5- Sun protection: Again you need to protect your skin. A sun damaged skin, stretches the pores and can cause what is called 'orange peel skin'. As previously mentioned, UV light also breaks down your skin collagen.
There are additional treatments that you can use such as retinol, a chemical peel, or Vitamin C to boost up collagen production. You can also try a Laser treatment if your enlarged pores are genetic, but following the effective skin care routine outlined above is really the best way to keep the pores managed without taking drastic actions like laser.