Achieving a smooth and flawless complexion is a dream of many women, but it has proven time and again to be an unachievable goal without hefty investments in time and money. Unless you are genetically blessed, a complexion free of blemishes, hyperpigmentation and large pores typically happen only to those who abide by this rule of thirds; the maintenance of a good skincare routine, a balanced diet and trips to the dermatologist for professional treatments.
A huge skin concern that has most women up in arms is the appearance of their large pores. While this does not pose any dangers to the health of our complexion, they make us look older than we really are. Fortunately, there are several ways to solve this particular issue, from DIY solutions to treatments administered by a skilled skincare professional. Read on to educate yourself on all you need to know about this condition and how to treat them.
What Causes Large Pores?
To be precise, our pores do not actually change in size. When we mention large pores, we are referring to their appearance on our skin. Some people have pores that appear more prominently, thus making it look as if they are much larger in size.
There are several factors that can exacerbate this issue, from the level of sebum production to genetics. Let us take a closer look at each of these factors.
1. High Production of Sebum
Our skin produces sebum — in other words, natural oils — to ensure it remains hydrated and balanced. In addition, sebum serves the purpose of creating a barrier against external aggressors such as dirt and bacteria to protect our skin and ensure it remains in optimal health. However, for some, their production of sebum could go into overdrive from a variety of reasons, like hormonal changes to using the wrong products. When too much sebum is produced, the excess oil gets trapped together with the dead cells, dirt and bacteria. This then causes the pores to swell, thus making them appear larger.
2. Lower Skin Elasticity
As you age, your skin goes through an ageing process too like alterations to its structure as well. These changes occur as a result of the decrease in the production of collagen (a protein largely secreted by connective tissue cells). Collagen acts as the supporting structure between the dermis (the middle layer) and epidermis (the upper layer), thus ensuring the skin remains firm and elastic, while minimising the appearance of pores. Unfortunately, as you grow older, you will naturally produce less collagen, which will then compromise the structural integrity of your skin due to the weaker bond between the dermal and epidermal layer. From the gradual decrease in collagen, this bond would weaken and your skin loses its firmness and elasticity, consequently causing the pores to appear larger as well.
Just like your eye colour, the size of your pores is partially determined by genetics. If one or both parents have pores that appear larger than average, you are likely to be handed the shorter end of the stick and end up with the same issue too.
4. Excessive Sun Exposure
If you love spending time outdoors under the sun and coincidentally have large pores, then excessive sun exposure might be to blame for the latter. Brief periods in the sun can be beneficial for your health (such as providing you with vitamin D) but spending too much time outdoors can accelerate the structural changes in your skin that happens as a result of ageing (i.e. the loss of elasticity). This is because the sun’s ultraviolet rays are able to break down collagen and damage the supporting structure it provides to the dermis and epidermis. From this, the skin will lose its elasticity and your pores would appear larger.
How to Minimise Large Pores
Aside from genetics, the large pores that are borne from the three factors discussed in the previous section can be kept under control. This can be done through do-it-yourself (DIY) means or by engaging professional help at aesthetic clinics through the different treatment procedures.
These DIY solutions are a much affordable option for you to temporarily reduce the appearance of your oversized pores. The steps include:
- Applying sunscreen daily
- Exfoliating with BHA
- Incorporating retinol
On the other hand, professional treatments would include the following:
- Non-ablative laser treatment
- IPL treatment
- Photodynamic therapy
3 Skincare Tips to Minimise Large Pores
DIY routines refer to skincare habits you can easily incorporate into your daily life from the comfort of home. For instance, exfoliating your face regularly, taking advantage of topical products with active ingredients, and the application of sunscreen and moisturiser before leaving the house are just a few components you should make a habit out of in your daily routine. When you find products that will help minimise the appearance of your pores, sticking to them is vital to maintain your smooth and flawless complexion.
Let us first take a closer look at the different steps you can (and should) include in your daily routine.
1. Apply Sunscreen Daily
As we have mentioned previously, the sun’s ultraviolet rays have the unfortunate effect of breaking down collagen, the substance responsible for keeping your skin taut and elastic. When there is a reduction in the level of collagen, your skin loses its elasticity, making your complexion appear less taut. So, while you might love the golden glow from your time in the sun, being excessively exposed to the sun’s UV rays can lead to signs of premature ageing on your face i.e. larger pore size. To prevent this from occurring, make sure to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 before heading out the door. And yes, even if you are spending the day indoors, protecting yourself from the sun should still be a top priority since the UV rays can come in through any open windows. If need be, reapply your sunscreen every few hours, and if you have makeup on, keep a sunscreen facial mist within reach to touch up your sunscreen without ruining your makeup.
2. Exfoliate with BHA
More commonly known as salicylic acid, BHA — or beta hydroxy acid — is a type of chemical exfoliant considered to be gentler than physical ones such as scrubs or cleansing brushes. BHA works in two ways: on the uppermost layers, as well as, at the deeper layers of the skin. Firstly, BHA helps to reveal a healthier and radiant complexion by loosening the dead cells and dirt trapped in the uppermost layer. Secondly, being an oil-soluble acid, BHA is able to penetrate to the deeper layers and degunk the excess sebum that has built up in these layers. Through this, it acts as a preventative method of minimising your oversized pores as the BHA stops excess sebum from reaching the uppermost layers and causing congestion.
3. Incorporate Retinol into Your Routine
This powerhouse ingredient is considered a miracle worker in the anti-ageing department. As a vitamin A derivative, retinol is highly effective in reversing the effects of ageing by working in three ways: exfoliating and getting rid of dead cells, fighting free radicals, and stimulating the production of collagen. Coincidentally, these anti-ageing effects also include minimising the appearance of pores. Firstly, retinol works in the same way as BHA when it comes to exfoliation — it helps with decongestion by sloughing off excess sebum and dead cells. Next, by fighting free radicals (caused by external irritants like cigarette smoke and pollution), retinol prevents the free radicals from settling into pores and clogging them, thus improving their appearance. Finally, retinol helps to trigger the production of collagen, which helps firm up your complexion and ready your skin to appear smoother.
4 Professional Treatments to Minimise Large Pores
If you already have a routine you are satisfied with but feel like you could do with an extra boost in the pores department, maybe it is time to consider a trip to the dermatologist for professional treatments. A dermatologist will tap on his/her expertise to suggest the most suitable treatment for you, ensuring the best results possible for your unique skincare concern.
There are a number of professional treatments to counter this issue, like microneedling and laser procedures. As these treatments utilise advanced technology to improve your complexion, you are more likely to achieve longer-lasting results as compared to the application of topical products. Read on to discover the four main treatments you can consider:
1. Non-Ablative Laser Treatment
A non-ablative laser treatment is a non-invasive procedure that uses light energy to penetrate to the deeper layers of one’s skin to target specific concerns such as acne scars, hyperpigmentation, as well as large pores. The extent of penetration depends on the laser wavelength; a longer wavelength allows for deeper penetration, which will result in more effective results. During a non-ablative laser treatment, heat produced from the laser will stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. With a higher level of collagen, it creates a stronger supporting structure between the dermal and epidermal layer, thus increasing the skin’s elasticity and firming up the pores. Because of how non-ablative laser treatments can be found in most established aesthetic centres such as Geo Aesthetics, this treatment is perfect for those who are after quick results.
As a minimally invasive procedure, microneedling works in a similar way as laser treatments do in reducing the appearance of oversized pores — it stimulates the production of collagen at the deeper layers. Also heralded as the collagen induction therapy, this procedure involves pricking the upper layer using fine needles to create micro tears over the targeted areas. These tiny tears then trigger the natural recovery process, which involves the creation of new tissue made up of collagen. With more collagen-rich tissue, the skin will be firmer and bring about a flawless appearance.
3. IPL Treatment
IPL, or intense pulsed light treatment, is a type of light therapy akin to laser treatments, in which light energy is used to trigger the production of collagen. However, while laser treatments utilise only one wavelength of light to penetrate through the different layers, IPL treatments utilise lights with varying wavelengths. By utilising different wavelengths of light, it allows the light to be released into the dermis in a less concentrated manner, thus causing less damage to the epidermis. This makes IPL treatments much gentler compared to laser treatments as there is less risk of scarring or discolouration occurring after the procedure.
4. Photodynamic Therapy
In photodynamic therapy, or PDT, light therapy is used in conjunction with a topical photosensitiser — a substance used to increase the skin cells’ responsiveness to light. The photosensitiser used in PDT is known as 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and it would be applied to the skin about an hour before the treatment is performed. After 60 minutes, the light energy would then be administered to activate the ALA solution, allowing it to penetrate through to the deeper layers and bind itself to the oil glands, making the cells more sensitive to light in the process. Following that, the specialist will direct light energy to trigger the skin to produce a higher level of collagen, making PDT an effective solution.
As is the case with any sort of skin concern, finding an effective solution to minimise the appearance of your large pores involves a journey of trial and error. The first step you should take is to curate a routine that utilises products that carry ingredients that specifically target this condition. Once you have a solid routine nailed down, your dedication to stick to it every day will help you achieve the best results possible.
For those who wish to go the extra mile, the next step is to consult a knowledgeable skincare specialist to recommend and administer the most suitable treatment for your condition. Since there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, the specialists would then have to examine the condition of your large pores and take into account your skin type before prescribing a method. If you are still hesitant over the right steps to take, it is best to approach aesthetic centres that have a proven track record of dealing with your particular issue; Geo Aesthetics is one such centre that has skilled specialists and advanced technology under their wing to help you achieve your ideal complexion in no time.