12 Steps To Your Smoothest, Softest, Practically Poreless Skin
Wondering how to minimize pores? The size and look of your pores depend on quite a few factors— things like genetics, skin type, sun exposure, and age are all parts of the equation. And regardless of their size, they actually serve an important purpose. “Pores allow the skin to breathe, and are the passageway between the inside of the body and the outside,” says Columbus OH esthetician Drew Abbas.
Two Types of Skin Pores
The term pore is used to describe the small openings in the skin through which oil and sweat reach the surface from their respective glands below. You actually have two different types of pores: oil pores and sweat pores.
• Oil pores: These are also known as your hair follicles. You have these hair follicles over the entirety of your skin’s surface with the exception of the skin on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. It’s these oil pores that we tend to focus our attention as they can be large enough to be seen. When people talk about having large pores or blocked pores, they are typically referring to oil pores.
• Sweat pores: You also have sweat pores all over your entire skin. Sweat pores are really tiny. Since you typically can’t see these pores with the naked eye, most people don’t give them much thought.
How Healthy Pores Work
Your pores have a very important job. The hair follicle allows the oil generated by the sebaceous glands (oil glands) to reach the surface and lubricate the skin. The skin’s natural oil, called sebum, helps keep the skin supple, moisturized, and healthy. You don’t want to stop production of sebum entirely or oil pore from functioning, but rather to keep them functioning normally to have healthy skin.
Sweat pores work in much the same way. These pores allow for sweat to travel from the sudoriferous glands (sweat glands) to the surface of the skin. Sweat helps you maintain your body temperature by evaporative cooling. Sweat glands come in two varieties. The eccrine glands produce most of your sweat. The apocrine glands in your armpits and groin produce a thicker and oilier type of sweat that is prone to causing body odor.
As far as pore size, this mostly comes down to genetics, skin type, aging, and environmental factors. However, pores can become packed and dilated with sebum, makeup, dirt, and other debris, which can ultimately cause them to stretch, making them appear larger than their natural size. Generally, the T-zone (aka the forehead and nose) is where people notice the biggest issues with pore size because the sebaceous glands in that region tend to be more prominent than other areas of the face.
Olive and darker skin tones tend to have larger pores and more sebum production. Additionally, UV damage and the natural aging process can play a major role in how big or small our pores look. An important factor to consider is the elasticity of the skin. As we age, we produce less collagen and the skin’s elastin decreases. Firm skin supports the pores and makes them appear smaller, so when our skin starts to lose that bounce or plump feel, pores can appear more dilated.
Another common denominator is the overproduction of oils and congestion, and thus skin type is another major factor however, it’s not just oily skin types that are prone to large pores. If you have an oily skin type, your pores will expand to release the overproduction of oils from the glands. Equally, if the skin is dehydrated, your pores can overcompensate by releasing oils to combat the dehydration.
Here are 7 tips that will have your pores looking flawless.
1. Objects in magnifying mirror are much larger than they appear.
This is worth pointing out… No one sees your pores the way you see them in your magnifying mirror. What to you is a glaring connect-the-dots game on your face, to everyone else is normal skin. So the first step in dealing with your pores is mental. Loosen up! But the next steps are very real and give you very real results, taking your possibly-slightly-visible pores down to the definitely-need-a-microscope-to-see-them level.
2. Cleanse daily.
Daily cleansing and regular exfoliation are the best ways to keep pores clean. Sweeping away what naturally gets stuck in pores—dead skin cells, oil, dirt, makeup—and revealing the fresh, unclogged skin beneath can make an enormous difference in the way your skin looks and feels.
This should make perfect sense, pores free of debris are going to be much harder to spot. We recommend double cleansing with a gentle cleanser, like Environ Mild Cleansing Lotion or Environ Sebu-Wash Cleanser (for those with acne prone skin) to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils, which then creates a cycle of overstimulation and excess oil production—and enlarged pores. Be sure to avoiding high foaming formulas at all costs as they tend to be harsh and stripping to the skin.
If you cleanse once a day, do so in the evening. At the end of the day, your skin will have a buildup of dirt and/or makeup, and it’s critical to clean that all out before going to sleep. Before cleansing you need to coax your pores to open up so you can get everything out. Heat or steam is the best solution—try applying a warm washcloth to your face before scrubbing up.
3. Tone Your Skin.
Toner gives skin a gentle extra bit of physical exfoliation, while simultaneously depositing skin-friendly ingredients. We recommend Environ Concentrated Alpha Hydroxy Toner which encourages exfoliation while promoting skin’s natural acid mantle.
4. Add a scrub to your weekly skincare routine.
Incorporating a scrub into your skincare regimen is also beneficial. Just be careful not to over-exfoliate the skin—a scrub once a week is fine.
That said, look for a gentle exfoliator. Though exfoliation is important for ridding the skin of dead cells, you can end up irritating it (if you use a rough exfoliator), which can lead to swelling that causes your pores to appear even larger.
5. Treat yourself to a chemical peel.
Another solution for how to tighten pores? A chemical peel. This professional treatment will improve the appearance of your pores over time. The new generation of peels work under the surface of the skin and give you an instant glow without making your skin look worse before it looks better.
6. Use a retinoid cream.
Whether prescription strength or over-the-counter, retinoid cream will help boost skin cell turnover, which makes for happier pores. You’ll see noticeably smaller-looking pores in a matter of weeks.
Our skin needs to acclimate itself, and adjust to extra vitamins being applied to it, particularly vitamin A which is vital for it health, radiance and youthfulness. Environ, PLEIJ Salon + Spa’s medical grade skincare line offers a range of moisturizes in the Essential Skin Care segment and a series of products with increasing amounts of retinol (vitamin A) and other vitamins and antioxidants.
Environ products, start with the moisturizer containing the lowest amounts of vitamin A and other ingredients. Use 2 or 3 containers until skin is completely comfortable with a low level of vitamin A and other ingredients.
Continue this process until you reach the top level of the STEP-UP SYSTEM™ with the highest amount of vitamin A and other healthy skin essential nutrients.
On this exciting journey you will notice your skin becoming progressively smoother, younger and more radiant. Once you achieve the top-level, your skin should look and feel the best it can be.
7. Use a clay mask to unclog your pores.
Clay masks are another secret weapon for how to minimize pores, because they work to quickly unclog pores by wicking out all the oil. That oil build up can make your pores look up to five times larger — so clearing out the gunk is essential. We recommend Environ’s Hydrating Clay Masque, this creamy Kaolin clay mask assists in absorbing excess oils, while gently polishing the appearance of skin’s surface, thereby relieving congestion and leaving it smoother and more radiant.
8. Look for products with glycolic acid.
Our favorite ingredient for treating enlarged pores is glycolic acid because it works the best at dissolving dead cells and absorbing oil. Lactic acid is a second-string contender, and the weaker sister to glycolic but can be equally effective. We recommend Environ Concentrated Alpha Hydroxy Toner, and Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream.
Environ’s Alpha Hydroxy Toner contains high concentrations of glycolic acid and as mentioned above assists in encouraging exfoliation while promoting the skin’s natural acid mantle. Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream is formulated with medium concentrations of both glycolic acid and lactic acid and assists with skin’s natural exfoliation.
9. Moisturize (carefully).
The right moisturizer sinks into skin without clogging pores and soothes skin as it hydrates. Finding your perfect formula involves some trial and error, but choose clean, mineral-oil free options and avoid any spots where you tend to break out. Avoid heavy oils and oil-based creams (that includes oil like coconut and olive) as these are a recipe for clogged pore. These oils will mix with your dead skin cells and congest the pores. It is best to avoid this by selecting water-based products instead. We recommend Environ Vita-Antioxidant AVST Mositurizer 1 to start, this formula assists in rebalancing and moisturizing the skin.
10. Get regular facials.
Professional facials can make a huge difference in terms of not only minimizing the look of your pores, but also the overall look and health of your skin making them a great investment. Shooting for somewhere between every four to eight weeks is a good goal for optimum skin maintenance.
11. Stimulate + Take Collagen.
Collagen is what gives your skin much of its structure, so it can contribute to minimizing the appearance of your pores. We’re firm believers in stimulating collagen production topically through proper skin care (especially exfoliation), Red Light Therapy, and we love the results we see when we combine these efforts with ingestible collagen. We recommend Bulletproof Collagen Protein. In addition to helping to minimize pore size, taking collagen orally can improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles and increase skin moisture while stimulating the body to produce its own collagen.
12. Apply a primer with SPF.
Not protecting your skin from UV damage with sunscreen is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to pore size. Sun and UV damage breaks down the collagen and elastin, causing the casing around pores to fall, making them appear larger.
You should be wearing SPF every day and everywhere—there are amazing, clean, non-comedogenic sunscreens out there, so don’t let that be an excuse for not slathering it on. We recommend Environ Broad Spectrum SPF 25 Sunscreen. This light and creamy face and body sunscreen formulation contains essential antioxidants as well as sun absorbers and reflectors that work together to protect skin from the damaging effects of the sun and harsh environmental influences. It is formulated with a combination of physical sunscreens as well as a unique phyto-complex to work synergistically in protecting the skin from harsh environmental influences and the damaging effects of the sun.
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