This article was first published on 7 February 2022.
Did you know that visible, clogged pores aren't solely for those with oily skin? Yes, you can have visible pores because of your genes, age, and even due to the beauty products you use. The last one is pretty important, since you may not know that your skincare products can have comedogenic ingredients in them.
What causes visible, clogged pores?
Comedogenic ingredients, such as coconut oil and beeswax, have a higher probability of clogging your pores which can lead to blackheads, uneven skin texture, and even breakouts. Sadly, there isn't a way to really certify that a product is non-comedogenic or oil-free — even when the product's claims say so — since these claims aren't strictly regulated.
If you've religiously avoided these products but still have visible pores, don't fret! There are a lot of ways to minimise the appearance of visible pores. Here are some solutions you can try.
1. Cleanse your face twice a day
Sebum, dirt, and leftover beauty products can all clog your pores and make them more visible to the naked eye. One simple way to minimise the appearance of your pores is by washing your face morning and night (or only at night, if you have dry skin!) with a pH-balanced cleanser or one formulated for acne. Regular cleansing also helps reduce inflammation and the excess amount of sebum on your skin, both which make your pores more obvious.
2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
When regular cleansing isn't enough, try exfoliating your skin regularly. You can try mechanical exfoliation (like using facial scrubs or exfoliating facial tools) or chemical exfoliants such as lactic and salicylic acids, or a combination of both. Just remember to use these products properly and in the right intervals, such as twice a week at minimum and every other day at most, since inflamed skin can actually make large pores look bigger than they actually are.
3. Introduce hyaluronic acid-infused skincare to your routine
Sagging skin can also make pores look bigger because there's not enough elasticity in the skin surrounding them. Skincare that contains plumping or firming ingredients can help minimise them. In fact, hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal injections, which plumps up the skin by attracting moisture into it, have been found to help with minimising the appearance of pores. If you're not comfortable having HA directly injected into your skin, you can look for everyday skincare products — specifically moisturisers and serums — that have it on their ingredients lists. The effect will take a little longer to show up compared to dermal fillers, but patience is key!
4. Use retinol
Products with retinol and retinyl palmitate can also help improve your overall skin texture. Retinol is actually prescribed by derms to those who have oily, acne-prone, or mature skin to help improve skin elasticity. Most derms recommend introducing over-the-counter retinol into your regimen as early as your mid to late 20s in the form of serums or moisturisers that you apply once a day. Retinol’s effects have been shown to appear as quickly as two weeks (for prescription retinoids) to three months (for over-the-counter products).
5. Go for a professional pore extraction or exfoliation
If the previous methods don't work, it's best to consult a dermatologist. They can help diagnose the root cause of your visible pores and offer safe, medical-grade solutions too. One of these methods can be extracting the built-up sebum and dirt that's clogging your pores with proper tools that won't traumatise or scar your skin.
Microdermabrasion is another possible solution that skin experts may suggest; it’s a procedure where the top layer of the skin is manually exfoliated with a handheld machine. It not only helps improve your skin tone but it also boosts the benefits of anti-ageing skincare since it helps them better absorb into your skin.
Your makeup brushes can also be clogging up your pores with old makeup and bacteria — here's how you can give them a thorough deep clean.
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