What Are Skin Pores?
Got skin? Then you’ve also got skin pores. Skin is the largest body organ, in fact, and it contains millions of individual pores. While most of these aren’t normally visible to the human eye, they serve many important functions, including allowing the skin to “breathe.” Each pore contains a hair follicle, and also includes sebaceous glands that produce an oil known as sebum.
Sebum serves the essential function of helping to keep your skin moisturized, supple, and healthy. Sebaceous glands are most abundant on your face, back, chest, and groin area. But thanks to the effects of certain stimulating hormones, some sebaceous glands can produce more sebum than is needed. This is why the pores on your nose, forehead, and cheeks can sometimes appear to be enlarged. Whenever mention is made of large pores or open pores, what we’re typically talking about are oil pores located in these specific areas of the face.
A Closer Look at Open Pores
Pores are normal skin structures designed to secrete either sweat or sebum, and many pores also house hair follicles. These pore structures can sometimes become large enough to be noticeable, and can sometimes even be seen as unappealing. Problems also occur whenever these open pores become clogged, resulting in problematic issues like folliculitis and acne. When these pores are functioning normally, they do a good job of flushing out oil, dead skin cells, and other detritus. But whenever oil and dead cells become trapped in the hair follicle area, this can result in acne formation. Even with no acne development, large, open pores are still noted to be unsightly.
What are some of the main causes of large, open pores? Much of it is genetic, but there are other factors that can come into play as well:
⇒ Genetics or hereditary predisposition
⇒ Reduced elasticity around skin pores
⇒ Thicker hair follicles
⇒ Higher levels of sebum (oil) production
⇒ Reduction of collagen production in the skin, often caused by aging
⇒ Sun damage, or general overexposure to the sun
Open Pores vs. Clear Pores
While many products on the market promise to open your pores, it’s important to note that skin pores are already open by default. A facial may make you feel like you’re opening up your pores, but the reality is that you’re just helping to cleanse your pores of any excess oil, dead skin cells, and debris. While it’s true that skin doesn’t technically “breathe” in the same manner that our lungs do, healthy skin does require open, clear pores to help keep your body cooler, and to eliminate dead skin cells in order to promote new skin cell growth.
The Important Roles of Collagen and Elastin
Human skin goes through a monthly process of shedding known as desquamation. Any dead skin, debris, and oil found at the surface can become trapped inside the pores, and your skin will expand to fit all of this excess matter. Once you reach age 30, the desquamation process can begin to slow down. The result is that your pores can begin taking on more and more excess material, which causes them to expand and appear much larger than they would normally.
So, what part do collagen and elastin play in this process? The elastin and collagen that support your pores can also diminish over time, thus causing your pores to sag and stretch. Available collagen and elastin supplies can also be further reduced by excessive sun exposure. This is why many people will first begin to notice the presence of enlarged pores on their nose – this is a particularly susceptible area for taking on the brunt of the sun’s pounding rays.
8 Self-Care Tips for Minimizing the Appearance of Large, Open Pores
Looking for some things you can do to promote healthier skin for yourself? Here are some good self-care tips you should follow:
1. Improve your diet.
Getting the right balance of proteins, carbs, fats, and nutrients will improve your health in general, and will pay positive dividends for your skin health as well.
2. Drink more water.
Most Americans simply aren’t drinking enough water for optimal health. Upping your daily water intake will help to hydrate your skin from within, and this can serve to improve skin complexion, too.
3. Sweat it out.
Most Americans don’t exercise enough, either. Exercise increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including your skin. And getting a healthy sweat on is a natural way for the skin to release toxins and help clear the pores. Sweat has some natural antibiotic properties that help protect the skin from bacteria, too. Just be sure to clean yourself after vigorous exercise, as dried sweat left on the surface may end up clogging your pores.
4. Wash your face morning and night.
Washing your face twice a day is just good skincare, and it’s even more important if you happen to have oily skin. Keeping your pores as clean as possible will help to make them less visible, too.
5. Use water-based moisturizers and makeup.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using oil-free products as much as possible, especially for skin that is oily and/or displays open pores. Excess oil on the skin can make pores appear larger, and can also help to clog pores.
Don’t just wash your skin; exfoliate your skin, too. Exfoliating once or twice a week removes matter that can clog the pores, like dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Exfoliation encourages new skin growth too, which helps to keep your skin looking younger and healthier. Just don’t exfoliate more than twice a week, as this can dry out your skin. Skin that’s too dry can actually make pores appear bigger, too.
7. Use sun protection by day.
Sun exposure is a potential threat to anyone, regardless of skin type. Unprotected skin exposure destroys both collagen and elastin proteins that give skin both firmness and elasticity. Keeping your skin well-protected from the sun will also help prevent excess drying, which is another cause of enlarged pores. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, use good broad-spectrum sunscreen, and keep to the shade whenever the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
8. Remove makeup at night.
A good skin care regimen also includes removing makeup before going to bed. Sleeping in your makeup overnight can cause pores to become clogged due to a buildup of makeup, oil, and bacteria. A good cleaning wipe can work wonders in a pinch.
Professional Skin Treatment in Winston-Salem
While maintaining a regimen of self-care is certainly important and necessary, sometimes you may need professional skin therapy. This is especially true if you have some stubborn large pore issues. The good news? Winston Salem Dermatology is here to serve your needs!
If you’re ready to consult with a professional dermatologist in Winston-Salem, we’re well-equipped to treat any and all skin conditions, including large pores, acne, skin cancer, and more. We also provide a full range of cosmetic services and procedures, including microneedling, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser rejuvenation, sublative treatments, dermal fillers, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments, cryosurgery, and more.