Can We Reach Pore-fection?

Aside from anti-aging, pore size seems to be a huge complaint from customers.

A study conducted by L’Oreal Paris revealed that roughly “45% of women wish they could change the size of their pores and            almost one in three women  (28%) are more concerned about  their pore size than wrinkles.”

With so many products out there that claim to shrink or eliminate your pores, how do we know what works?  Let’s take a closer look at what a pore really is.

What is a pore?

A pore is a small opening in the skin that allows oil to reach the surface.  On average, an adult has five million pores on their body with approximately 20,000 on their face alone.   Without pores, our skin would be dry and cracked since oil produced in the sebaceous glands travel up the pore to the skin’s surface and naturally moisturize the skin.

How is pore size determined?

For the most part, pore size is determined by genetics and generally speaking, is most prevalent in men.  However, oil, dirt, dead skin cells and our lifestyle can impact pore size.  For example, avid sun worshipers often see an increase in pore size because the sun’s UV rays breakdown and weaken the skin’s elasticity; the same can apply to aging skin.  Oily skin types typically have an excessive accumulation of dirt, oil and dead skin cells, leading to large, visible pores and in some cases acne.

How to minimize pore appearance

Since you can’t get ‘rid’ of pores (and really, you don’t want to as they flush out toxins and help regulate temperature) here’s a couple of suggestions to help reduce their appearance.   

  • Thoroughly cleanse skin daily
  • Regular exfoliation with either enzymes or hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic, lactic, or salicylic)
  • Those with oily skin types can benefit from using clay-based masks (look for kaolin or bentonite) about 2x/week
  • Limit excessive sun exposure and always wear SPF
  • Make sure you are using the correct skincare products/makeup for your skin type- makeup primers can help reduce pore appearance
  • Consult with a dermatologist and/or esthetician for other options such as chemical peels
  • Avoid pore strips as in the long run can stretch out skin even more

Questions? Comments? Have a pore-minimizing product you love? Do share!

Are You Cleansing Properly?

Cleansers

When you think about your cleansing routine, is it more like mere seconds of splashing water on your face to get over with or do you try removing every last trace of dirt, scrubbing away until your skin is left feeling raw?

While you may not give a second thought about cleansing, it actually involves a delicate balance that sets the tone for everything that follows after.  Cleanse with something harsh that disrupts the skin’s natural pH and you can end up with a dry, tight skin that looks aged.  Using a cleanser that’s too rich for your skin can result in clogged pores and breakouts.

Thoroughly cleansing with the appropriate cleanser helps keep pores clean, prepare the skin for other products, may contain ingredients to counteract various skin problems and can help certain skin conditions such as dehydration and sensitivity.  Read below for a guide on cleansers and tips!

Types Of Cleansers

Oil-based/Creams

Cleansers that are oil-based can be good for all skin types and also aid in breaking down sunscreen and makeup.  Actors and performers who wear heavy stage makeup can benefit from these types of cleansers as well.

Cream cleansers that are rich are best suited for mature skin that is dry; the emollients can soften dry skin and not dry it out.

Cleansing Gels/Foaming Cleansers

These cleansers are are designed to whisk away oil and deep cleanse. These are appropriate for those with normal, combination, or oily skin.

Cleansing Lotions

Cleansing lotions (also referred to as milky cleansers) are like that of a cream, just with a lighter consistency.  They can be used for normal, dry or combination skin.

Tips

  • Different seasons can call for different types of cleansers.  Combination, normal and dry skin types may benefit from a cleansing lotion/cream in the fall and winter, but prefer an cleansing gel in the spring and summer when oil production is higher.
  • Tread cautiously if you are acne-prone and try an oil-based cleanser.  Certain ones can make you break out
  • Use gentle, circular motions and avoid aggressive tugging or pressure.
  • If you use a spinning brush like the Clarisonic in conjunction with your cleanser,  use it no more than three times per week to avoid irritation and wash well after each use.
  • Cleanse your face in the morning once and twice in the evening.

You don’t have to spend a large amount of time on cleansing- just enough to remove the accumulation of sunscreen, pollution, dirt, debris and oil.  Trust me, your skin will thank you. 

 

Why Squeaky Clean Can Be Mean

soap

At some point, whether it be morning, mid-afternoon, or evening- perhaps even all three- we walk ourselves over to the sink or shower to cleanse our face.  The accumulation of sebum, dirt and environmental pollution can leave our skin feeling grimy and we think that tight, squeaky clean feeling after cleansing means we have gotten rid of it all.  Often, the choice of said cleansing is soap, and well, why not? It’s convenient, fairly inexpensive, and if it’s tough enough to remove oil and dirt from our body, hey, why not extend its use to our face, right?

Wrong!

Aside from removing debris and oil, soap tends to remove the fats between the skin cells known as intercellular lipids. Our skin has what’s know as an internal cellular matrix,which is the lipid (fat) substance between cells that protect the cells from water loss and irritation.  Excessive removal of these lipids results in dry skin and skin disease.

Take a quick trip back to your chemistry class by glancing at pH (potential hydrogen) scale below.

 

pH scale

 

The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of any substance that contains water and extends from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Soap also has a high pH level, 9-11, while the natural pH of skin can range from 4-6.  Since sebum and sweat create a barrier on the skin’s surface known as the acid mantle, this protects against certain forms of bacteria and other microorganisms.  Extreme variations in pH can damage the skin’s barrier functions and cause sensitivity, aging, dehydration, and can worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.  Also, highly alkaline solutions can form an insoluble film, leaving skin feeling dry, irritated and itchy.

Considering the information above and knowing the skin on our face is a lot more delicate than the skin on our body, using facial cleansers that are soap-free or pH balanced are best.

I hope this post was helpful in explaining why using soap to cleanse the face isn’t an ideal option.

Have a great Tuesday!