If the current trend for hyper-real, flawless skin has got you regularly scrutinizing yours in a magnifying mirror, then you’re not alone. Perfectly poreless skin has become the latest beauty quest and, with the trend for complexion perfection showing no signs of abating, some skin experts have dubbed this latest skin obsession “porexia”. “Recent research conducted by Olay found that women with smaller or fewer visible pores – which gives the appearance of a flawless skin finish – were perceived to be younger, healthier, and more attractive,” says Dr. Sian Morris, Olay Principal Scientist.
But what is it that causes our pores to stretch in the first place? When we’re young, our skin is plump and firm thanks to high levels of collagen and elastin, and this helps keep the pores tight and small. As we get older and the levels of collagen and elastin in our skin deplete – alongside other factors such as an excess of sebum, stress, the environment, and smoking adding to the problem – the skin around each pore begins to loosen, sag, and enlarge. So can we do anything to make them look smaller? Read on for solutions that actually work.
Detox Your Skin
Pores are more obvious on the central areas of the face, like the nose, forehead, and chin, where we have more oil glands. Hormonal changes like menstruation and pregnancy, or if you have oily or combination skin, can cause these pores to dilate further due to the volume of oil produced by your skin. “Large pores can collect particles of dust, grime, and sebum in them more easily and, if you don’t cleanse your skin properly, this can cause the dirt to get trapped, causing blackheads and blemishes, which can make the problem worse,” explains skincare expert Maria Hatzis.
It’s important to effectively clean skin daily to reduce the build-up inside the pores and make them appear smaller. Look for cleansers that contain ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid, which help to gently exfoliate the skin. Try the Zelens ‘PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads’ as they’re pre-soaked with hydroxy acids to resurface the skin and reduce pore size. “Use exfoliating treatments regularly as they help to deeply cleanse pores while removing dead skin cells and trapped dirt,” advises Hatzis.
Also try gently steaming your skin two to three times a week. This can open the pores, helping to remove dirt more effectively. Lean over a bowl of hot water for five minutes, making a tent over your head with a towel to trap the steam. This helps open up pores, and you can then wash your face with an acid-based cleanser to loosen any hard-to-shift, pore-enlarging grime.
Zelens ‘PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads’
AED319 / SAR326
“The right skincare regimen can really help minimize the appearance of open, enlarged pores,” says Hatzis. Rich, oily creams can exacerbate oil production and clog the pores, making them look larger, so swap heavy moisturizers for lighter, oil-free gels or lotions, like the Clarins ‘HydraQuench Lotion SPF15’. This way, your skin can maintain its natural moisture level without being weighed down with extra oils.
Next, try a clay-based mask, like the Kora Organics ‘Clay Purifying Mask’, on a weekly basis. The clay draws out excess oil and impurities, helping to shrink pores. Also add a vitamin A- or retinol-based treatment or serum into your regime, like the Murad ‘Skin Perfecting Lotion’. Vitamin A helps speed up skin-cell turnover and exfoliates, aiding the cleansing, refining process of each pore, as well as treating wrinkles too!
Ace Your Base
It can be tricky to permanently shrink the size of your pores, so choose a primer and makeup base that help to minimize their appearance when you need to cheat perfectly poreless skin. “If you suffer from enlarged pores, a primer will work to stop your foundation from sitting in them and help your foundation to last longer,” says Sarah-Jane Froom, International Makeup Artist at bareMinerals.
Choose a silicone-based formula like the bareMinerals ‘Prime Time Foundation Primer’, which glides over the skin, creating a complexion-perfecting film. “And if you have oily skin, choose a primer that is good for oil control,” adds Froom. “They work by absorbing excess oil, leaving the skin slightly more matte and ready for your foundation to be applied.”
Choose foundations with light-reflective particles to help give the illusion of a more even skin tone and minimize the appearance of pores. The Olay ‘Total Effects Pore Minimiser CC Cream’ gives an immediate flawless, poreless finish to the skin and is supercharged with an ingredient called niacinamide that helps tighten and tone the skin around the pore to make it look smaller.