How to minimise your pores

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At first glance, you may think that pore control products offer to make your pores smaller, but if you read the label carefully you’ll see that in most cases they just claim to reduce the ‘appearance’ of large pores. That may sound like a subtle distinction but it’s really not.

There’s not much you can do to physically make your pores smaller – but you can avoid making them look larger. Instead of looking for “shrinking” products, try avoiding these:

Factors that make pores appear larger

1. Skin debris, like dead skin cells, can collect in pores making them appear bigger. Good facial cleansing is key to staying debris-free.

2. Excessive oiliness can keep pores filled with a layer of oil that accentuates their appearance. Consider using oil-absorbing makeup or more frequent cleansing or blotting.

3. Bacterial growth contribute to blackheads and make pores appear freakishly huge. Exfoliation can help.

4. Sun exposure can thicken the skin cells around the edge of pores, making them appear larger. Using a sunscreen or limiting your sun exposure is a good idea.

5. Genetics determines your skin type and if you’re born with oily, thicker skin your pores will probably be more noticeable. Changing your parents could help this, but is probably not a very practical solution.

How do pore minimising products work?

This is a case where we’d recommend looking at reputable brands who have the budget to formulate and test their products appropriately. Smaller brands either don’t do enough research and development or they rely on stock formulas from contract manufactures that also aren’t extensively tested for efficacy.

We reviewed the claims, ingredients, and cost of five different products. The first two are over-the-counter drugs that use acne active ingredients to keep pores clear. These will work and are not that expensive. One product looks good, but even though it claims to contain salicylic acid and other “actives” it is not a drug product and doesn’t appear to contain a functional level of anything that will help. It is also more expensive.

The fourth product uses the same “natural extract” approach and it is even more expensive. The last product is also expensive but uses a different approach. Read the claims carefully and you’ll see that all it claims to do is “hide” pores, which it does with titanium dioxide and pigments. This is a valid approach if you don’t mind wearing foundation, but there’s no need to spend this much money to get this benefit.

The bottom line to the consumers is that nothing really makes pores physically smaller. You can keep them clean with an acne-type product or you can conceal them with a foundation-type product, but don’t be tricked into spending a tonne of money on lentil or bamboo extracts, because they don’t work.

This post originally appeared on The Beauty Brains and has been republished here with full permission.