Why You Shouldn’t Hate On Your Pores
Pores… we all have them, some bigger than others. The blessed ones have such minuscule ones that their skin is basically a smooth sheet, while others lament the craters in their face. Such are the injustices of life. Those with large pores do everything they can to reduce the size, buying anything that promises to tighten and diminish pores.
But… Why do we hate pores so much? They exist in our skin for a reason, don’t they?
Well, as with all parts of our body, yes they do! Pores have their own function and even if we might not be able to see how they work, that doesn’t mean they’re useless and we don’t need them! Pores are actually a super crucial part of our skin system and they help keep our skin healthy. Let’s first understand what pores are and how they work.
What are pores?
Pores are basically little openings in the skin that allow oil and sweat to excrete out of the skin from the glands they are produced from. There are two different types of pores, namely oil pores and sweat pores. Oil pores, as the name suggests, have a respective oil gland. They are larger than sweat pores and when we refer to pores we are probably talking about oil pores since these are the openings that can be seen in our skin visibly. Oil pores can be larger depending on the level of oil gland activity. If your oil glands produce more oil, your oil pores are more likely to be larger and more visible since a larger opening is needed to secrete a greater amount of oil. Oil pores are mostly found all over the skin except the hands and soles of your feet. Meanwhile, sweat pores are found all over the skin. They’re also very, very small, so small we can’t see them without a microscope! These are the pores through which our sweat gets released, hence the name sweat pores!
What do pores do?
Pores are actually really essential for our skin to function. The oil pores are the channel through which the oil produced by the sebaceous glands can get to the surface of the skin to add moisture and lubrication. Oil, or sebum, is what keeps our skin soft, supple, and moisturized. If you shrunk the size of your pores, then not enough oil would be able to reach the surface of your skin, resulting in dry and damaged skin. If you need a nicer mental image, think of your pores as a river that carries moisture and the essence of youth into your skin. In the same token, sweat pores also help your sweat to move from the sweat glands to the skin surface when your body temperature rises. The sweat that evaporates off the skin surface allows for cooling of the body, which is crucial to make sure you do not overheat. There’s a science behind pores, they definitely aren’t useless!
But why are my pores bigger than others? Are they not normal?
There isn’t really such a thing as normal pores because everyone’s pores differ. But for the record, it doesn’t mean you have gargantuan pores that are abnormal just because you can see them. Generally, as long as there is a hair follicle the pore will be visible because you can see where the strand of hair starts. Some pores may be more visible and obvious because they have a dark tone to them. This usually occurs among people who have more oily skin types, as a greater concentration in sebum levels will cause buildup in the pores, resulting in a darker look to them.
However, pores might become an issue when they get clogged or form comedones. Comedones are more commonly known as blackheads or whiteheads. They are essentially created by a clog in the pores, which is a mixture of dead skin cells, dirt, and sebum. If this clog is covered by a layer of keratin, it is a whitehead or closed comedone. If it is exposed to the air and oxidizes, it is a blackhead or open comedones.
I get why pores are important but I still don’t like the look of mine
It’s understandable to be insecure and conscious of your pores, especially if you think it is contributing to higher occurrences of acne! There are many ways to take care of and clean your pores, and they can be done with some very simple, diligent skincare steps!
1. Cleanse your face every day
Cleansing is a vital step in every skincare routine and one of the best ways to keep your pores clean and healthy. When you keep your pores clean and free of any grime, dirt, and buildup, they’ll be less obvious. Think of your pores like holes in the ground — if you fill a hole with some other stuff it’s going to be a lot more obvious compared to an unfilled hole. So make sure to keep them clean! The best way to clean your pores is to open them up first. You can do this through gentle heat and steam. Take a warmer shower and let the steam open up the pores. Or you can also use a warm wash towel and gently massage your face to open the pores up. After doing this, you can cleanse your face. It is best to cleanse your face thoroughly at night after a whole day so you can remove all the excess buildup on your face.
2. Use a deep-cleansing clay mask every week
Clay masks are mega effective at deep cleaning your pores in a way that regular cleansing doesn’t. Set aside one night a week and treat yourself to a luxurious clay mask! Clay masks are super good at unclogging your pores by pulling out the dirt and grime deep within. Did you know that gunk in your pores can make them look five times larger? Yeah, no thanks! So get yourself a clay mask, such as a mud mask, kaolin clay mask, or French green clay one, and slather it all over your face. Leave it on until it hardens, take some cute selfies, then wash it off with some wash water! Your pores will look noticeably tighter and smaller.
3. Incorporate some retinoids into your routine
Retinoids are skincare savers and vitamin A derivatives. They are excellent anti-aging products that can also help with your pores by improving the rate of cell turnover. When the cell turnover is faster, you will shed dead skin cells quickly and prevent the buildup that results in clogged pores and pimples. Retinoids come in the form of retinol, retinal, and tretinoin. You can get them over the counter or a prescription from a dermatologist if you have more severe acne issues.
Pores are necessary to our skin’s health, and if you struggle with loving them there are many small steps we can take to minimize the look of them. Remember to keep good hygiene and pore cleanliness for optimal results!