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!

What’s Your Type?

Our skin types are genetically determined.  However, to the joy of some and the dismay of others, they can change over time, or you can have a combination of several all at once.  Dry skin and a few breakouts here and there?  Yup.  As weird as it sounds, it can happen.

Do you know your skin type(s) or do you just recall what someone once told you your skin type was and have clung to that notion ever since?

Here are six common skin types and their characteristics to help you determine-or at least give you an idea of- of what would be beneficial to your skin.

normal skin

Normal

Normal skin (oh the lucky ones!) has a good oil-water balance and is soft and plump.  It has a healthy glow and color, with fine texture, small pores and no congestion .  Maintenance and preventative care are your main goals.

combination skin

Combination

I personally fall into this category and let me tell you, it can be gosh darn frustrating.  Combination skin is characterized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while the cheeks tend to be on the dry side, causing a flaky appearance.  The goal is to control areas prone to oiliness while moisturizing areas that are dry, and to keep skin well exfoliated to help combat breakouts and dryness.

oily skin

Oily

Oily skin is characterized by an all over greasy shine, visible pores, coarser skin texture (akin to that of  an orange), little wrinkling (silver lining, no?), blackheads/whiteheads, breakouts.  Controlling sebum production, and clearing out the pores is key.  Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are good at providing hydration.

acne

Acne

Not just for teenagers anymore as the number of adult acne is rising.  Symptoms range from blackheads/whiteheads, breakouts, painful cysts, inflammation and sensitivity .  Causes of acne can be genetic or a hormonal imbalance.  Deep cleansing facials, proper home regimen and soothing the skin are goals. Avoid excessive or harsh cleansers as it can make acne worse.

dry skin

Dry

If the Sahara desert would be envious, then you probably have dry skin.  Where oily skin produces a mass amount of oil, dry skin doesn’t produce enough. Visible dryness, small pores, tightness,and a propensity to wrinkles are indicators of dry skin.   Cleansing creams or milky cleansers are ideal as they don’t strip the skin while ingredients like shea butter or borage seed oil are great moisturizers.

sensitive

Sensitive

Sensitive skin is identified by fragile, thin, red skin that has an impaired barrier function and more reactive capillaries. It’s easily irritated by products (even sometime water) and exposure to heat and sun.  Avoid excessive rubbing, heat, exfoliation, or extractions.  Use calming, soothing ingredients like aloe vera, panthenol (pro-vitamin B-5), bisabolol, and niacinamide.

Has your skin type been consistent or has it undergone major changes throughout the years? 

 

 

 

 

What the Milia?

milia

If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia.  No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!

Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin.  Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

So what options are available?

First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate.  If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.

Now, on to the treatment.  Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming.  Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help.  If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.

Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?