Forget acne and wrinkles. It’s your pores that are the latest anti ageing fixation.
Sales of pore products, like pore-minimising strips and lotions have risen seven-fold in the last year, while the latest research says, thanks to HD TV, selfies and instagram, one in three of us constantly worry about the size of our pores.
Some dermatologists have even coined the phrase ‘porexia’ to describe the women who have an obsession with the size of their pores.
Pores are actually minute sweat glands – tiny openings to hair follicles – and each one produces natural oil which helps us maintain healthy skin while protecting against infection and dryness. The average adult has five million pores on their body with approximately 20,000 on their face alone. The size of our pores is largely determined by genetics but like everything else, they can look worse as we get older. As we age, the skin around a pore loses its firmness so the pore can look larger because of the lack of support from the surrounding tissue
But before you splash out on any miracle pore-reducing product remember, you cannot shrink pores. It is also myth to think that certain products such as toners and other treatments close pores. This is because pores don’t have muscles around them. On the bright side, though, there are plenty of tricks and treatments to minimise the appearance of enlarged pores, and to clear blocked pores. The goal is to keep pores clean and at their smallest – here’s how…
A pore becomes blocked or clogged when oil, dead skin cells and everyday dirt and pollution enter the opening which can leave your skin looking uneven and even a little grubby. Blocked pores often show up as blackheads which are actually the result of oxidation, a chemical reaction involving oxygen and sebum. Summer also take is toll on the skin – SPF’s, bronzers and accumulated sweat can seriously block pores which left untreated can lead to acne.
*The quickest DIY fix is a steam facial. Run hot water into a bowl, and then cover your head with a towel to trap the steam and place your face over it. After a few minutes of steaming, the pores will begin to loosen the dead skin, oil and dirt that has been blocking them. Next use a gentle exfoliating facial scrub to get rid of the dead skin and debris. Salicylic acid is the best ingredient for penetrating into the pore lining and helping to keep them clean and known for its ability to smooth the skin without causing irritation, reduce acne-causing bacteria and oil to prevent blemishes, while penetrating the pores to help clear out impurities. Try Super Facialist Anti Blemish Purifying and Refreshing Face Scrub (£9.99 boots.co.uk) which contains Salicylic Acid and Vitamin B3. Finish by rinsing your face with cold water. Repeat this steam facial once a week or as often as needed.
*Some people like to squeeze these little blackheads to unclog the pores, but they tend to keep filling up will sebum and dead skin cells unless you regularly use an AHA serum but If you pop a pimple or blackhead incorrectly you can damage the pore and enlarge it. It’s best to leave extractions to the professionals. Try Institut Esthederm Intensive AHA Peel Concentrated Serum (£59 www.escentual.com) which helps to reduce the appearance of pores and skin irregularities, for an even and radiant complexion.
*Adding a detoxifying facemask to your beauty routine once a week is also a good idea. Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask (£6.67 boots) is a self-heating mask which gently opens pores so the charcoal and kaolin clay can help draw out impurities.
*Pore strips are able to clean the surface of the skin and are good for a quick fix– try Biore Original Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (£8.39 biore.co.uk)
*At the clinic try a deep cleansing facial like Hydrafacial which combines deep cleansing with a microdermabrasion treatment so skin will be instantly brighter, plumper and more refined. From £120 0207 436 4441