What’s Up About Pore Size?
We all have that friend that obsesses over their face in a 10X magnification mirror, grumbling about their pores and applying nose strips. Some of us are that friend. It’s no surprise, either; we hear a lot about our pores. Creams, moisturizers and toners claim to reduce pore size, primers and concealers help to blur or hide large pores, and facial cleansers remove dirt and debris. With all of this talk, you may be wondering what pores are all about and why they’re so important.
What Are Pores, Anyway?
Pores are an often misunderstood and confusing topic for both men and women. Contrary to popular belief, we cannot banish or get rid of our pores. Pores are the opening of our hair follicles, extending through several layers of skin to allow particles to pass through. Each pore contains an oil-producing sebaceous gland, which releases sebum to help moisturize and protect our skin. Occasionally our pores may become blocked, but most of the time they are great at their job. Regardless of their size, pores are essential to the health and function of our skin. Your pores are affected by:
- Genetics — Much like pigmentation, pore size is hereditary. Some individuals have smaller pores, and some have larger pores. Some people also have naturally oily skin, which can affect pore appearance.
- Dirt and debris — Pores that are clogged with dirt and debris will be more noticeable and appear to be larger. Comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients, excess oil and dirt are just a few of the things that can get lodged in your pores and may lead to acne.
- Acne — Sebum can become trapped in your pores by dead skin or debris, resulting in breakouts and blackheads. Clean pores are healthy pores, which is why a proper skin care routine is so important.
- Sun damage — Sun exposure can damage your collagen, which is responsible for keeping skin firm and taut. When pore-supporting collagen is weakened or damaged, the skin can become lax, making pores stretch and look more prominent. Excess sweat from the sun can also mingle with makeup and oil to clog your pores and make them appear larger.
- Age — As we get older, our skin naturally loses some of its elasticity. Our pores are no longer supported by a rich, robust amount of collagen and begin to appear more dilated. The effect is similar to how a hole in a nylon sock will look bigger if the material is stretched.
- Inflammation — Rosacea is one of the most common causes of inflammation and is often the source of unwanted, large pores and a surrounding redness (erythema). Diet (alcohol, spicy foods, and other internal irritants) can not only exacerbate rosacea, it can cause other forms of inflammation that may appear in the skin and increase pore size, particularly on the nose, chin and across the cheeks.
Environmental factors and skin care habits can also make pores look larger. Harsh, dry air, pollution, and picking can have adverse effects on your skin, increasing pore visibility and causing unnecessary damage. Despite their importance to skin health, many people wonder how they can shrink or eliminate their pores. Unfortunately, other than when caused by inflammatory processes like rosacea, pore size is largely determined by genetics, meaning that making them smaller can be very challenging. That doesn’t mean we can’t minimize the appearance of our pores with skin care products and treatments, however. The skin care experts at Morpheus Medical Aesthetics in Santa Rosa, California, and Larkspur, California, have some tips to help you maintain clear, healthy pores and enhance the natural beauty of your skin.
What Can I Do About My Pores?
There is a lot you can do at home to help minimize the appearance of your pores. The first is practicing an appropriate, balanced skin care routine that keeps your pores clear and your skin healthy. Skin that it too oily will be susceptible to pore-clogging residue and acne, and skin that is too dry will be dull in appearance. Dry skin is usually damaged, compromising the protective layer that normally keeps out irritants, pollutants and bacteria. A skin care routine that works best for you is the foundation of a smooth, beautiful complexion.
- Cleanse — Wash your face twice daily to remove oil, makeup, dirt and debris. Cleansers with salicylic or glycolic acid can help dissolve pore-clogging residue.
- Hydrate — Moisturizing is essential for any skin care routine. Properly hydrated skin will look refreshed and prevent your skin from creating excess oil.
- Protect — Use sunscreen to prevent unnecessary sun damage from occurring.
- Exfoliate — Regularly exfoliate (about once or twice a week) to remove dead skin cells and reveal brighter, softer skin. Use gentle products and don’t overdo it; over-exfoliation can damage your skin and cause issues.
- Keep it Light — Use non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores. Look for “non-comedogenic” on the label of your favorite makeup and moisturizers, or ask your specialist at Morpheus Medical Aesthetics if you’re unsure of which products are pore friendly.
What Ingredients Should I be Using?
The amount of skin care products available today can be overwhelming. For those concerned about pore size, however, there are some ingredients to look for that can help you achieve flawless-looking skin.
- Glycolic acid — Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that penetrates deep into your skin to cleanse, exfoliate and refine for smaller-looking pores and a smooth, glowing complexion.
- Retinol — Made from vitamin A, retinol can improve the appearance of your skin by increasing cell turnover and unclogging pores.
- Salicylic acid — A naturally-occurring beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid helps break down the dirt, oil and debris that can accumulate in your pores and cause breakouts.
- Natural ingredients — Other ingredients such as activated charcoal, clay and tea tree oil can also help minimize the appearance of pores.
At Morpheus Medical Aesthetics, our skin care experts can help you choose from the best products available. We carry a variety of options at our Santa Rosa and Larkspur locations to help keep skin healthy and rejuvenated, such as ZO’s Skin Health Oil Control Pads with 2% Salicylic acid, both the Hydrating and Gentle Cleansers, and Exfoliating Polish, in addition to SkinBetter Science’s Alto Defense Serum and AlphaRet products for daily use to protect and revitalize your skin. We also provide numerous treatments that can enhance your overall complexion and help you achieve beautiful, glowing skin. In particular, the HydraFacials offered at our Santa Rosa office will give you an immediate clear, bright complexion by simultaneously extracting clogging oils and impurities while infusing serums specifically chosen by our esthetician for your skin’s needs.
Enhance Your Skin Health With More Comprehensive Treatments
Pores are crucial for good skin health, so it’s important to maintain a balance and prevent them from becoming clogged or damaged in the first place. Healthy pores allow the skin to “breathe,” so keeping them free of debris and injury helps them to function properly. At Morpheus Medical Aesthetics, our skin treatments help keep your pores in good condition to optimize the overall health of your skin.
- Chemical peels can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by revealing rejuvenated, fresh looking skin. Chemical peels provide deep exfoliation and stimulate cell renewal to improve skin health, as well as boost skin barrier protection.
- Laser treatments can minimize pore size by stimulating collagen production and increasing skin firmness, texture and tone. CO2RE laser treatments can promote beautiful, glowing skin by addressing concerns both above and below the surface.
- Clear + Brilliant laser treatments are a gentler option for replacing damaged skin with fresh, healthy tissue and reducing the appearance of pores, improving overall skin health with no downtime.
- Microneedling with PRP is a treatment that stimulates your body’s natural production of collagen, providing significant improvement for numerous skin concerns. Increased collagen production can help decrease pore visibility and improve the overall texture of your skin.
- Sublime and sublative skin tightening treatments can also help keep your pores looking smaller and less noticeable.
In-office procedures can provide noticeable, long-lasting results by providing deep exfoliation and increasing collagen production to reinforce the skin surrounding your pores, making them appear tighter and smaller. These treatments will enhance your overall skin appearance and help keep your skin looking beautiful, from the pores up.If you want to learn more about how you can reveal your smooth, beautiful-looking skin, the team at Morpheus Medical Aesthetics can help you find the right balance, routine and treatments that will enhance your natural beauty. Contact us in Santa Rosa or Larkspur to explore your skin care options available today!