Debunking Myths About Pores: What You Need to Know


Photo: @kensington

For many of us reading this, the only time we think about pores is when we are endlessly searching for ways to make them disappear. Pores are certainly not part of the requirements if you want to look like a porcelain doll. The truth about pores is that they are fascinating, and once you understand their role, your strong desire to follow skincare ads that promise to eliminate them will become non-existent. This article debunks all the popular skincare myths about pores and highlights what you need to know about pores on face. 

What Are Pores?

“What are pores of the skin?” The term pore describes tiny openings on the skin surface in which oil (sebum) and sweat reach the surface through their glands. Each pore is associated with a distinct skin follicle. There are two different types of pores: Oil and Sweat Pores

Oil pores are connected to oil glands that are present all over your skin, except on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. They are responsible for lubricating the skin and preventing dryness. Sweat pores are microscopic depressions on the skin that exist all over the skin and are also connected to the sweat glands. They are responsible for perspiration and regulating the body's homeostasis.

What Are the Common Myths About Pores?

There are numerous misconceptions about pores, and many of these have been around for a long time and are most often believed to be true by many. This section discusses common myths about your pores;

Pores on face size can be reduced

This is undoubtedly one of the most widespread misconceptions that has helped sell out millions of skincare products. Pores are not elastic materials that can be shrunken and expanded at will. Unfortunately,  you cannot make your pores smaller than they are, instead, you can use the right products that can help reduce the size and appearance of your pores. 

If you are looking to reduce the appearance of your pores or eliminate clogged pores, we recommend a liquid exfoliant like beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) to dislodge dead skin and remove product buildup. You can also incorporate regular exfoliation, retinol usage, microwaving, and any other skin procedure that can stimulate collagen production in the dermal tissues. Pore size, like many physical features is hereditary, so if any of your parents have big pores, you probably will.

Steam opens pores

Numerous online videos explain detailed routine methods on how to steam your face to open your pores. Of course, you've tried the exact procedure and the results seem way different from what you expected. Contrary to public marketing, steaming does not open or close the pores. There are no muscles embedded deep within our pores and pores were created to be naturally open.

When aestheticians apply heat on the face during facial treatment, it does not cause the pores to expand so they can effectively receive more skin products. Instead, steaming helps the blood vessels beneath the skin and causes temporary skin swelling which creates an illusion of small pores that go back to their original stage after it cools down. 

Hence, no skin routine can force out pores and close them up. If you want to use hot water, we recommend lukewarm water to wash your face as it helps remove dirt. Scalding, hot water can cause further dryness and increase oil production in many. 

Cold water shrinks pores

Every day, we come across questions like: “Does cold water open pores?” “Does cold water shrink pores?” Like steaming, cold water is another common misconception among people. Due to numerous public opinions, many people believe icing or using cold water on your face repeatedly can help shrink your pores. The truth to this is that cold water will temporarily make your pores appear smaller and also relieve inflamed blemishes on your skin. 

Blackheads mean dirty pores

If you suffer from blackheads, you must have been told your dirty, clogged pores must be the cause. Although this may seem like a perfectly reasonable idea to believe, but it isn't. Your blackheads are dead skin cells and oxidize sebum clogging your pores. Without any blockage or barriers, your pores are constantly exposed to the air and often engage in a chemical reaction between the dead skin cells and oxygen, which results in something black. 

Sun can shrink large pores

When you were a teenager, it was common to hear your guardian advise you to go into the sun if you had large pores or hormonal acne. Prolonged sun exposure does not offer any benefit, rather it does the opposite. Ultraviolet radiation in the sun can penetrate deep into the skin's middle layer and damage the collagen production fibers which are responsible for supple skin texture. 

Sunscreen can cause clogged pores

As skin enthusiasts, sunscreen is an important skin product you must include in your routine. It protects the skin against UV radiation that breaks down collagen and elastin in our skin. While there are comedogenic sunscreens, which are heavy occlusive sunscreens that clog pores, there are now better sunscreen formulations that do not. We recommend you go for these sunscreen options if you are looking to include one in your routine.

How Do You Take Care of Your Pores?

There are several ways to take care of your pores, particularly those with acne-prone skin. The following are some beneficial skin routines for your pores;

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is one skincare component that gives the illusion of small pores. It penetrates deep below the surface of the skin and removes dirt, oil, and other particles trapped within your pores. 

Exfoliate properly

Exfoliation is one remedy for pores on face. It is the most important routine if you are looking to achieve healthy skin. It involves using either a physical exfoliant (which can be sugar scrub or stiff sponges) or chemical exfoliants (which can either be Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids) to dislodge dirt and dead skin cells to reveal a smoother skin texture. Ensure you choose the right exfoliant for your skin to prevent harsh reactions. Finish up with a non-comedogenic face wash like Dermaclara Claraprep facewash that moisturizes and hydrates the skin without clogging the pores. 

Include pore strips into your routine. 

Pore strips are skin products that instantly remove dirt, whiteheads, blackheads, and oil to unclog the pores. We recommend you use them weekly, especially on your T-zone, where you have constantly clogged pores.  

Eat healthy.

As skincare enthusiasts, it's important to know that our skin responds to our diet as it is a natural treatment for open pores. If we eat junk food and other unhealthy foods, we are bound to see the results in our skin and if we eat healthy foods, our skin is guaranteed to thank us. If you have oily skin, reduce your intake of fried food, alcohol, sugar, and refined carbs.

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