I know we’ve all stared at our skin in the mirror at least once in our lives and thought to ourselves “what are pores?”. I’m sure we are familiar with what a pore looks like, but what exactly are pores? I’m convinced that most of us have either struggled with clogged pores, or haven’t been fond their appearance. Well, funny enough, pores are actually an important factor for our skin to function properly.
Pores are small openings in the skin that release oils and sweat, and are also the opening at the top of our hair follicle. They also produce sebum, which is the oil that keeps your skin lubricated. They cover the entirety of your body, with the exception of the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, and lips. As frustrating as the appearance of your pores may be, they are essential for you to maintain healthy skin. Let's be real - there’s no such thing as “perfect” skin, but let’s work on achieving healthy skin!
So can you shrink the size of your pores?
Unfortunately, the size of your pores is genetically determined, so you can’t effectively and truly shrink them. BUT! You can temporarily reduce the appearance of them with certain products and treatments. For example, when you exfoliate your skin, you are cleaning out dead skin cells and oil from your pores, and this can make your pores appear smaller once they're swept clean. This will leave you with brighter, smoother, and more even skin. Pores cleared of blackheads will appear less obvious and give you a temporary result that you’re looking for. This is one reason why consistency is key when it comes to skincare.
One last thing about pores- no, pores do not 'open and close'. What really happens is that their size can fluctuate. Pores are naturally small, but when pores clog with a mixture of oil and dead skin cells, they expand as the clogging expands. This isn't an "open" pore; rather, it is "stretched," which makes the appearance of them look larger. Genetics and sun damage are significant contributions to the appearance of larger pores as well. For example, if the collagen around the pore loosens, they can stretch out. It’s time to ditch the myth that cold water can shrink your pores, too! Instead, turn to retinol to increase cell turnover and collagen production, while simultaneously smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles!