So we all have those pesky little (or big) pores covering our whole body, but we often have the most trouble with the ones on our face. Here’s the lowdown on all things pores and how to take control of yours…
PORES DON’T OPEN AND CLOSE
Pores are always open, which allows your skin to breathe. So the whole deal with steaming your face to “open” your pores and splashing your face with cold water to “close” them is a myth and we have no idea why it became so popular! Pores actually work by housing a hair follicle and they contain a sebaceous (oil) gland, which creates oil called sebum. While there are millions of these oil glands across your whole body, they are most prominent on your face, back and chest, which is why they can often look larger in these areas.
YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE SIZE OF THEM
Tbh, genetics usually determines the size of your pores, so if yours look larger to the naked eye, chances are you have one of your ‘rents to blame. (Thanks mum!) Basically, you can’t physically change the size of your pores, but you can make them look smaller with certain products. Unfortunately, as you get older, your pores can start to look larger anyway as the skin loses collagen.
THE B WORD
Pores also have a tendency to look larger when they’re clogged with oil and dead skin, which can often result in blackheads. In case you didn’t know, blackheads aren’t actually caused by trapped dirt and they aren’t really black. Mind blown, right? When the dead skin cells and oil that clog your pores reach the surface of your skin, the air oxidises the top layer and turns it black. Blackheads are also technically a form of acne and they usually look slightly raised off your skin. At the same time, you could also be dealing with sebaceous filaments, which are basically healthy hair follicles that have a little dead skin around them. They can often be mistaken for blackheads but these are a natural part of your skin’s function as they channel the flow of oil along the lining of the pore. There’s nothing you can do to remove sebaceous filaments so just leave them be!
HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE
An easy way to tell the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments is to use a pore strip. If you rip it off and there’s gunk on it, these are blackheads. You won’t be able to get any of the goop out of sebaceous filaments like you can with blackheads. It’s important to clear out your blackheads but don’t try to extract them yourself as this can lead to scarring. If you have a build-up of blackheads and your skincare routine ain’t cutting it, head to a qualified facialist to have them professionally extracted.