Makeup is quite a handy tool; it can cover up blemishes, or simply highlight an enviable feature. Makeup is used to boost confidence, and to create an aura of mystery—its possibilities are seemingly endless. Unfortunately, there is one trouble spot makeup cannot seem to overcome, no matter how it is applied: enlarged pores. Makeup, despite its best efforts, usually highlight enlarged pores, powders and creams both sinking into the gaps. To avoid this problem and properly care for skin, follow the tips and guidelines listed below.
What Is the Purpose of Pores?
Pores serve as a sort of gateway for your body; oils, sweat, and waste matter are secreted through minute openings in the dermis, and these openings are called pores. While pores on the body usually go unnoticed, facial outlets are more closely scrutinized—and are usually the cause of more trouble. Without pores, skin would not be capable of properly lubricating and moisturizing itself, nor would the body be capable of adequately cooling and purging itself. Though they can be a pain, they are invaluable. The trick is, largely, proper care.
What Are the Primary Causes of Enlarged Pores?
Three things stand out as the primary causes of enlarged pores:
- Poor Lifestyle Habits
- Poor Skincare Routine
Lifestyle habits contributing to an increase in skin outlet size are largely focused on diet and the consumption of alcohol. A poor diet can cause skin to cease its proper function, resulting in blocked and enlarged pores, while excessive alcohol consumption can lead to broken capillaries and, over time, may result in enlarged pores. Tanning and becoming sunburned are also poor lifestyle habits, as they dry and break down skin, resulting in damaged pores.
Genetics also play a small role. If your parents possess larger-than-average pores, you likely will, too. Although this may seem discouraging, there are still steps to take to minimize their appearance.
Finally, a poor skincare routine can do damage over time. Failing to wash your face, and using caustic products can result in skin becoming dry and clogged, leading to stretching and rising. Though some drugstore brands of makeup and cleansers may seem innocuous, many contain harsh chemicals and fillers, and do far more harm than good.
Can This Be Prevented?
To a degree, absolutely. Minimizing excessive sun exposure is an excellent first step; this should not be taken to mean merely staying out of the sun, but avoiding tanning beds, applying sun screen any time sun exposure is imminent, and treating any accidental sunburns quickly and effectively.
Using gentle cleansing and toning products will also be an essential step in prevention. When looking for cleansers, avoid chemicals such as methyl and propyl parabens. Look for cleansers with natural plant extracts and moisturizing elements—these will clean the skin without stripping skin of its natural oils—oils that are essential to a healthy, glowing visage.
Caution should also be exercised with regard to food and alcohol. Although it is not essential to cut out every guilty pleasure, limit alcohol exposure to perhaps once per week, and stick to a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. These will help your skin maintain richness and elasticity, reducing the possibility of “pulling” on your pores.
Can Large Pores Be Fixed?
Again, they can be fixed to a degree. If pores are genetically significant, a simple skincare routine will be your best bet. If the damage came as a result of external factors, however, there are several methods frequently used to minimize the appearance of pores, and reduce the size over time.
What Are the Most Effective Reduction Methods?
- Reduce sun exposure immediately and treat sun-damaged skin. The most common fix for burned skin is aloe vera. While gels found at supermarkets work well enough, nothing works quite as well as the concoction from the plant itself. Keep an aloe vera plant handy at all times for accidents, and apply quickly after being burned.
- Employ a natural, gentle toner. Toners come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from extremely economical to hold-back-your-tears-expensive. Fortunately, the simplest, most effective toners can be made from pantry or medicine cabinets ingredients. A simple swab of witch hazel serves as an excellent toner, as does a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Toner serves to tighten and enrich skin, while evening texture and tone.
- Consider oil cleansing. Large pores are often accompanied by oily skin. Because oils are not water-soluble, many men and women suffering from oily skin trust the oil cleansing method. To use this cleansing practice, simply mix equal parts castor oil and a high-grade food oil (such as coconut or olive oil), and apply to face.
Place a hot rag over face to allow steam to open the pores, then wipe clean before applying the rag one to two more times. This cleansing methods requires some trial and error (some need it daily, while others need it only once per week), but can make the difference between oily and satisfying skin.
- Finally, refrain from touching and picking at skin. Although the presence of blackheads and whiteheads often prompts excessive touching and picking, doing so often results in damaging epidermis and will quickly make the situation much worse. Instead, when acne flares up, continue a steady cleansing routine and spot treat breakouts using aspirin or toothpaste applied directly on the swollen, affected area.
A Word of Caution
Although large pores can be frustrating, avoid a frenzied or obsessive quest to reduce their size. Typically, there are other factors highlighting pore size that, once remedied, drastically reduces the attention paid to the area. The most common culprit is oily, acne-prone skin. Working on this area first will drastically reduce the attention drawn to pores. As with all new skincare products, do a small strip test on your wrist 24 hours prior to use to ensure an allergic reaction will not develop.
Armed with the prevention and reduction tips above, develop a healthy, consistent skincare routine. Because your skin is in need of proper care and upkeep just as much as your internal organs, you must develop a routine that can be adhered to faithfully. Remember: you will get as much work out of your skin as you put into it.