Firstly, we’ll start off with the bad news – in case you were unaware, there is no way to get rid of pores or make them disappear. Pores are part and parcel of the structural composition of our skin. As hair follicles, they’re normal and also absolutely necessary, as they are how oil and sweat reach our skin’s surface. The reason pores appear enlarged is due to an excessive production of sebum, which forces pores to get wider to allow the increased stream of sebum to flow out.
Pores can get wider and deeper if they are constantly clogged with the accumulation of dirt and grime. Sometimes, the oil can also become trapped by dead skin, and when this occurs and the end of the clogged pore is exposed to air, it oxidises and forms a blackhead. This happens more frequently around the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin, or otherwise known as the t-zone. While we can’t shrink our pores, there are ways to minimise their appearance – read on to find out how.
The right acids can work wonders on your face, as long as you know which ones to choose. The terms you would need to remember are AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid.
These acids are the best ingredients for cleansing your pores, as well as tightening and brightening. They exfoliate on a cellular level, dissolving the connections between your cells and the surface of your skin to essentially ‘unclog’ pores.
There are slight differences between the two, however – AHAs work on the surface layer of your skin to brighten and smooth it, hence making them more tolerable for those with dry and sensitive skin. Meanwhile, BHAs penetrate deeper to remove dead skin cells clogged in pores, such as blackheads, making them better for oily, acne-prone skin.
Besides AHAs and BHAs, retinol is about to become your next BFF. This vitamin A-based topical can effectively resurface the skin over time, shrinking the appearance of pores, smoothing wrinkles and brightening dark spots.
All these benefits stem from retinol’s ability to increase your skin’s collagen production, while also decreasing its oil production. What this means: less breakouts and blackheads, and tighter pores.
One downside to this miracle ingredient, however, is that it takes some time getting used to – it can be irritating at first, resulting in dry, flaky skin for about a week. But stick with it (you can start out with a gentler formula) and your skin will thank you in no time.
If you are not already wearing sunscreen on a daily basis (which you totally should), start pronto. Sunscreen comes with a whole range of benefits, helping to shield our skin from harmful UV rays, which can lead to a whole host of problems, such as dark spots and premature aging.
In addition, sunlight can also damage skin collagen, which is essential in keeping your face firm and elasticised. Hence, without regular application of sunscreen, your skin will become less supple, looser and more stretched out, resulting in bigger looking pores.
#4: Oil Treatment
As mentioned, enlarged pores usually appear on our t-zone, while the rest of your face might look perfectly normal. As such, it might be useful to target the areas on your face where pores appear exceptionally visible.
Clay masks are highly recommended to help minimise pores, as they help to draw excess oil and water out of the pores to shrink their appearance and create a smoother surface. Simply smooth a thin layer over clean skin on the areas you wish to treat, leave it on for several minutes, and rinse it off with water.
For a more expensive solution, there are also laser treatments that specifically aim to improve the appearance of skin and tighten up pores. For this, it is best to consult with your dermatologist to determine what treatment is best for your skin.
#5: Natural remedies
If you would rather not spend your precious moolah on expensive products, there are some DIY treatments that you can try with ingredients from your own home.
One of them is apple cider vinegar, a natural astringent which is said to be able to removes excess oil from the face, while restoring the skin’s pH balance. This will tighten large pores and reduce the risk of acne and pimples.
Another recommended ingredient that can help minimise pores and fight acne is baking soda – mix one tablespoon of it with some water, and apply the mixture on your face and allow it to dry. After drying, wash off with cold water. In a similar vein, egg whites are also thought to be effective in tightening skin and minimising pores. Apply some egg white on your face, allow it to dry and rinse off with water subsequently.
#6: Remove makeup religiously
Going to bed without removing your makeup is an absolute no-no. This is because allowing your makeup to stay on your face overnight will clog pores, which stretches them out.
When removing your makeup (and also during cleansing), take note to avoid excessive scrubbing or tugging and be as gentle as possible. This is because excessive force can make skin dry and flaky, which might create even more dead skin that can block pores.
#7: Get the right foundation
Of course, while we are talking about makeup – the right foundation can also give you a flawless finish, effectively hiding your enlarged pores. Before that though, invest in a good primer, as it can help blur pores by essentially ‘filling’ them up to create a smooth finish that is the perfect canvas for your foundation.
For your foundation, apply with a Beautyblender sponge to prevent makeup from settling into pores and to ensure even coverage. Finding a formula that suits you will give you an airbrush-like effect, so take time to conduct some trial and error to find the best foundation for you.
#8: Eat right
Ever heard of the saying ‘you are what you eat’? Well, that is very true, and there are certain foods that must be avoided to prevent enlarged pores.
Food that’s high in fat and unhealthy oils can inflame your skin, which can lead to clogged pores. Hence, try your best to stay away from chips, candy, and cookies, and snack on natural, low-fat foods like fruit and vegetables.