The Good Skin Guide: Can I actually get rid of large pores?
No, but here’s what you can do instead
There’s no greater enemy standing between us and glowing, spotless skin than large pores. An all-prevailing idea persists that they can disappear to make our skin look flawless. But pores don’t open and close in the blink of an eye like the restaurants in Khan Market.
An integral part of our skin structure, pores can appear clogged and congested thanks to excess sebum, dead skin cells and blackheads. We moan and pick at any spot that pops up, turning a once-small whitehead into a crater to rival the moon. Facial steaming can soften the gunk that blocks the pores and make it easier for your blackhead strip to excavate it (we don’t suggest you do this). But no scrub, strip, toner or DIY method will get rid of large pores entirely.
A number of factors contribute to their appearance – genetics, the rate at which we produce sebum, the size of the hair follicle and the sheer volume of the pore. The latter three can keep changing, however, because of hormonal imbalances, ageing, sun damage, medication and products. Age-related loss of collagen can also make them appear more prominent, capped off by sun exposure and smoking.
Keeping pores clean and healthy
If only hydration was the antidote for all our skin ailments. It helps, sure, but we also need to keep our skin clean, moisturised and protected. Using an effective yet gentle cleanser daily will keep the sebum levels balanced, and prevent pollution and dirt collecting on the skin.
Follow up your cleansing routine with a good moisturiser and SPF 30-50. Sun damage degrades our collagen which can make skin sag and the appearance of pores more apparent.
Exfoliating, but not over-exfoliating
Exfoliation can remove excess sebum, impurities and dead cells that could block your pores. However, we tend to go a bit overboard once we start seeing results. With physical exfoliation, we often press down too hard, scrub a bit too much which can cause micro-tears on our skin, often leaving it damaged and open to skin infections. Dermatologists advise chemical exfoliation using products with AHAs and BHAs. A maximum of 3 times a week is advised by professionals like Mona Gohara, MD, with a good layer of sunblock to follow up.
Vitamin A – Retinol/Retinoid
Derivatives of Vitamin A like retinoids and retinol have been seen to improve the appearance of pores. Vitamin A works itself into the layers of the skin and increases cell turnover. Its benefits include decreasing oil production, reducing pigmentation, sun spots, fine lines and unclogging pores. Retinol is a product best used after professional consultation as formulations are based on your individual needs and skin type. These should not be used unless prescribed by a dermatologist and under professional supervision.
Masks that primarily include bentonite and kaolinite clay are popular for their ability to absorb excess sebum. And the result is the diminished appearance of pores, though, sadly, it is temporary. Dr. Niketa Sonavane, of Ambrosia Aesthetics, suggests using clay masks to control excess oil and soothe the skin. “Try the Aztec Secrets Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing mask twice a week.”
In-clinic procedures to shrink pores
Chemical peels and other in-clinic procedures involving lasers, photodynamic therapy and micro-needling are effective in pore care. They’re conducted by trained dermatologists and technicians. Each treatment is designed to suit individual needs and skin conditions and is conducted by professionals in sterile environments. Consult a skin specialist to inquire about such procedures and whether they are suited to you.
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