Look in any beauty magazine and you will see the smooth, poreless complexions of gorgeous people staring back at you. With a long sigh I say “I wish my skin looked like that!” Well, the truth is those photos have most likely been Photoshopped. Sure, when I was 6 years old my skin looked like that but I’m an adult now (sort of ) and my skin has grown up with me.
My previous bad habits (not wearing sunscreen, slathering on baby oil, and laying out in the sun pretty much every day on summer break) are starting to catch up with me. I am now a religious user of sunscreen and I reapply every couple of hours or more if I am swimming or sweating. I look for clothes that contain ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), including hats, and I wear my sunglasses almost every day.
I still want to have that “poreless” perfect skin so how do I get it? I will never have the skin I had when I was 6 but there are things that I can do to make my skin as healthy and youthful as I can.
What’s a Pore?
It’s an opening of a hair follicle on the surface of our skin that contains sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands produce our skin’s oil. A pore allows gases, liquids, and teeny tiny particles to pass through.
Big or Small
Pore size is genetically determined so if you have fair and/or dry skin, your pores may appear smaller. If you have darker and/or oily skin they will appear larger. They are also more plentiful, so more noticeable, on our forehead, nose and chin (the T-zone). Pores can also look larger than they are if they are clogged with dead skin cells and oil, otherwise known as a pimple. If the pimple is not removed the collagen and elastin fibers surrounding the pore can stretch out and the pores will appear large permanently. In fact, collagen and elastin breakdown from sun damage and ageing can also make pores appear larger. Side note: don’t pick at your pimples. Picking and squeezing pimples can cause trauma which may permanently damage your skin. I know it’s hard to do but resist the urge! There are plenty of Youtube videos out there of pimple poppers so watch those instead. Here’s a good YouTube channel with lots of good (or gross) pimple popping.
Can You fake smaller pores?
The key is to keep your skin clean and exfoliated so the pores don’t become clogged in the first place. Wash your face before and after a workout and before you go to bed every night. Look for products with hydroxy acids like salicylic or glycolic acid in them. These will help remove oil, dead skin cells, and dirt from your pores. I would also recommend using a power brush like Clarisonic to cleanse your face. It is more effective at cleaning your face than using your hands. I have owned a Clarisonic for years and I love it. Retinoids are other ingredients to look for. They increase cell turnover so dead skin cells don’t pile up clogging your pores. Retinoids do come with their own issues. See my post on retinoids here.
If you are willing to spend the money, you could have professional glycolic acid peels and laser treatments. These are more intense but will boost collagen production and tighten pores that may have gotten stretched out.
If you have large pores and want to make them appear smaller you can use a little makeup magic. This is where primer comes into play. Look for primers with silicone in them. Silicone temporarily fills in the pores and makes you look like you have a smooth complexion. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and L’Oreal Paris RevitaLift Miracle Blur are two that do a good job. Just keep in mind that if you are prone to acne, silicone may exacerbate it.
Although it’s not likely we will have the skin of a baby our whole lives, we can certainly take steps to keep it as healthy and youthful as possible.