When you look at them in a mirror, visible pores look like tiny dots on the skin’s surface. Our skin is covered in pores; an average adult has around five million over the entire body, 20,000 of which are on the face, and it’s when they become enlarged that they become visible.
Pores are small openings to our hair follicles, and there are two different types. One releases sebum (the lubricant which stops the skin from feeling dry and vulnerable), and the other releases sweat. Both functions allow oil, sweat, and sebum to go from our glands to our skin’s surface, which is essential for it to be healthy.
Pores are the cause of a plethora of unwelcome skin issues. Like a drain collects dead leaves, each pore collects dead skin cells and excess oil that can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and even cysts. And the longer you leave them, the worse (and larger) they can become. Here’s what you need to help diffuse their appearance…
1. A Pore-Refining Cleanser
Product: NIOD Sanskrit Saponins
Why should I include this step? Keeping your pores clean is the easiest way to stop them from clogging and getting bigger.
What did it do for me? NIOD’s Sanskrit Saponins was the catalyst for me wanting to investigate more ways to help minimise my pores’ appearance; this is because I’ve seen such good results from using it twice a day, every day.
Its creamy texture and yeast smell make it different to any other cleanser you’ll have tried, but it works like a dream when it comes to smoothing my complexion. It focuses on ridding the skin of impurities, dead skin and daily build-up, so the skin feels clean but not dry at all.
One thing I should mention, however, is that you can’t use this cleanser to remove makeup, so in the evening, I use it as a second cleanse.
2. A Chemical Exfoliant
Why should I include this step? Regular exfoliation using an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) or BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) is one of the best ways to clean out your pores to prevent them from stretching and getting bigger.
What did it do for me? Not only does this citrus smelling acid toner keep my pores clean and debris-free daily, it’s also improved my skin texture and brightened my complexion. At the same time, it’s gentle enough to use every evening (I have sensitive skin, and it hasn’t caused any issues for me). The star ingredient for your pores is willow bark extract, a natural pore-purifying agent.
Its citrus scent smells refreshing, and the fact it’s also hydrating means it won’t dry your skin out as some chemical exfoliants can.
3. A Retinol Treatment
Why should I include this step? Not only is retinol amazing for smoothing your skin, but it’s also excellent for cell regeneration, which means it will help to shed dead skin cells to prevent them from causing blockages in your pores. And if that wasn’t enough to convert you to including this step into your routine, this vitamin A derivative will also address the fact that your skin loses collagen, which supports pores as you age. It will help to build up the lost collagen and also decrease the skin’s natural oil production.
What did it do for me? Retinol can be irritating to some skin types (including mine!) but what I love so much about the Elizabeth Arden Retinol capsules is that they are effective but don’t dry out the skin like some retinol treatments I’ve tried thanks to the moisturising ceramides included in the formula.
I love the capsules, which deliver the perfect dose making application easy and stress-free; plus, because no air or light gets to the formula, the serum’s potency is maximised.
I use this every evening (if using another retinol treatment, please check how often it should be applied as it does differ from product to product). The texture is beautiful and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth while sinking in quickly. These have become a staple in my routine, and they’ve not only addressed the way more pores look and they’ve also had a positive effect on my fine lines, wrinkles and breakouts.
4. A Non-Comedogenic Moisturiser
Product: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat
Why should I include this step? All skin types need a moisturiser, but if you’re concerned about pores, opt for non-comedogenic, so it won’t contain ingredients that could clog your pores. If you don’t use a moisturiser, your skin will get dry, and it will respond by producing excessive amounts of oil that could clog pores. You’re looking for something lightweight but nourishing and ideally something that will help to control sebum.
What did it do for me? For targeted skincare needs, I always turn to La Roche-Posay. Their no-nonsense and clear approach to skincare needs means you can always find something that will help tackle your skincare concern. Their Effaclar Mat moisturiser is the perfect choice for enlarged pores.
The light gel texture cream has a fresh scent and absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it soft with a subtle matte effect that has made my pores look less prominent with continued use. I use it as part of my morning and evening skincare routine.
5. A Skin-Protecting SPF
Why should I include this step? You know the drill, SPF is a non-negotiable part of your morning skincare routine, especially if you have enlarged pores. Why? The sun can break down collagen and elastin, which in turn will expand your pores. You can prevent this by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or higher. Opt for a matte finish, oil-free or lightweight gel formula to avoid any greasiness.
What did it do for me? This step is all about prevention rather than tackling the appearance of existing pores. However, the fact that this particular facial SPF also contains salicylic acid and niacinamide means that it will also help target any skin imperfections as you wear it – a bonus for me because my skin has a natural tendency to break out.
It has quite a thick consistency but absorbs quickly into the skin (don’t be afraid of the fact that it looks white when you first massage it in – that disappears) and leaves my complexion feeling fresh and not overburdened at all. If you’re worried about SPF blocking your pores, this is the one to choose.
Read more on SPF https://www.escentual.com/blog/2020/06/11/10-things-we-learnt-about-choosing-spf-for-your-skin-type-on-a-nightinwithescentual/
6. A Smoothing Primer
Why should I include this step? A quick-fix for making pores look less prominent, a good primer will even out textural imperfections and smooth over large pores. If you’re concerned about your pores being visible, it’s a step you should add to your morning routine. Even if you don’t apply foundation afterwards, it will help blur your complexion for a more uniform appearance.
What did it do for me: Historically, I’ve skipped primer, but since using the YSL Top Secrets Instant Matte Pore Refiner, I won’t be anymore. Its lightweight creamy texture has a floral scent and has vastly improved how my pores look under makeup; plus, it’s helped last longer. I no longer experience that 12 o’clock shine, and my skin looks smooth and fresh all day. One thing to remember is that because it contains dimethiconol, you will need to make sure you remove your makeup thoroughly every evening, so it’s a good idea to double-cleanse.