It’s one of the facial features that we are asked about most. When it comes to the things that make pores bigger and what can be done to change that, what does the evidence say?
By Dr Ginni and Daniel, Founders of Evidence Skincare (ESK)
First: What are pores?
Pores are the opening of hair follicles and each one contains a sebaceous (oil) gland.
Accurately measuring pores size has actually been quite difficult which has made studying them a little challenging. While bigger pores are easily seen, smaller sized pores are barely visible to the eye.
There are some who argue that pore size cannot change through the use of skin care it is only how big they look, that we change. Part of the problem in being sure is related to the difficulty in measuring the size of the pore. So while the technical debate is lively, our view is that it doesn’t matter – because there are evidence based solutions that can change how big our pores look.
What causes big pores?
- Sun exposure: Studies suggest that enlarged pores are a sign of photodamage to the skin. (1) What we don’t know is whether it’s exposure to UVA (aging rays) vs UVB (burning rays) which are associated with bigger pores.
- Ethnicity matters: The biggest pores are in Indian and Brazilian women while Chinese women have the smallest pores as well as the least dense pores (so there are fewer of them). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337418/
- Big pores are genetic: Do your parents have big pores? Sorry, but this won’t auger well for your own pores! (2)
- Loss of skin elasticity: When loses elasticity, it makes the pores look larger. (3) Yet interestingly, one huge study found that pore size plateaus out with age in most women not getting any bigger after age 40 so it’s hard to see it as a sign of aging. (4)
- Acne and high sebum production: Most studies have found a correlation between acne and more sebum with more and bigger pores. (5)
Can I decrease the size of my pores? Yes!
Happily, the answer is yes! Here are my top evidence-based tips …
- Go for a top quality sunscreen: Given that sun damage increases the size of your pores, you don’t want any further damage. Broad spectrum sunscreens (Like ESK’s Zinc Shade) that protect you from UVA and UVB rays have the best prospects of preventing further enlarged pores.
- Topical applications of key active ingredients: Vitamin A (in ESK’s Ultimate A and Utlimate A+) Vitamin C (in ESK’s Reverse C Serum and C Serum Lite) and AHAs (in ESK’s Smooth Serum) can have a significant impact in shrinking the size of your pores. (6)
- Laser has been used in studies to effectively reduce the appearance of pore size. (7)
It is normal to have visible pores and it is harmless. If, however, it bothers you, our products and skincare kits make it easy to include all the key active ingredients to help you shrink your pores. Try it for yourself with our 21-Day Money-Back Guarantee!
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- Ask Dr.Ginni: Should i exfoliate if i have acne?
- Tips from Dr.Ginni: Should i stop wearing makeup if i have acne? Will it make it worse?
- I have dry skin, why do i still get acne?
- Does improving skin barrier function improve acne? How?