Pores are central to the proper function of our skin, yet few people know what they actually are and how they work. In fact, many women and men strive to shrink the appearance of pores, but in order to achieve a smoother, more even tone and texture, it’s important to first understand the two types of pores and how they work to keep your skin balanced and healthy.
What Are Pores?
Pores are the tiny openings in the skin that allow liquid to pass through. The type of pore that typically comes to mind when thinking about your skincare is actually a hair follicle that houses a sebaceous gland. These are located all over the body, with the exception of the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and lips. Through sebaceous glands, sebum, or oil, is secreted in order to lubricate the surface of the skin (Dermato-endocrinology). When these openings become clogged with excess oil, dirt, makeup and other debris, the bacteria that causes acne can also become trapped, multiply and cause the inflamed blemishes characteristic of acne (American Academy of Dermatology).
Sweat glands are also openings in the skin, but these rarely become clogged. They are located all over the body but are primarily concentrated in the under arm and groin areas, as well as the hands and feet. The purpose of sweat glands is to keep the body cool (Journal of Health Science).
What Causes Pores to Appear Larger?
Although the size of your pores is largely determined by genetics, pores may appear to be enlarged because of blackheads, whiteheads or other blemishes. The natural aging process may also contribute to the appearance of enlarged pores, as the amount of collagen and elastin in the skin declines with age. This can lead to stretched, sagging skin, which can make pores appear more prominently.
Additionally, if you’re using heavy makeup and creams to try to cover up the look of enlarged pores, you could be worsening the problem, as thick makeup can settle into pores and cause blockages and even more blemishes.
Skincare Tips for Improving the Appearance of Pores
If the appearance of large pores is a cosmetic concern, there are a number of ways that you can help to achieve a smoother look and feel to your complexion. Follow these skincare tips for clearer skin:
- Wash your face daily to sweep away any dirt, oil or makeup that may end up clogging and expanding pores. If you do wear makeup, be sure to wash it off before bed.
- Exfoliate to remove buildup on your skin that may clog pores. You can also use products like the skinbetter science AlphaRet formula that contain exfoliating ingredients such as glycolic acid to help retexturize the look of your skin.
- Use noncomedogenic skincare products because they won’t clog your pores. Avoid using greasy moisturizers or other heavy skincare products, especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin. Skinbetter science skincare is always noncomedogenic and free of fragrances and dyes to be gentle enough for even sensitive skin types.
Your skin is a complex system composed of a number of important components, including sebaceous glands and sweat glands. Help your skin to optimally function by taking steps to keep your pores clean, including using the most appropriate skincare products for your skin type to avoid clogging pores and exacerbating acne. With a proper skincare routine and a little know-how about the ways in which your skin functions, you can have smooth, healthy-looking skin no matter your age.