Our skin has two kinds of tiny openings or holes, like the holes in a sponge. One type is called a hair pore and the other is a sweat pore. Think of hair pores as larger and busier. They’re bigger than sweat pores and has two jobs – they let out both oil to keep our skin smooth, and some sweat to keep our skin cooler.
Sweat pores, on the other hand, are smaller. Their only job is to let out sweat, helping us to cool down when we’re hot. So next time you’re sweating or you feel your skin’s oily, you know which pores to thank!
The average diameter of a pore opening on the skin is indeed quite small, ranging from about 25 to 50 µm, which is approximately 0.02 to 0.05 mm. These dimensions are so tiny, and normal pores are typically not easily visible to the naked eye. When skin pores are larger than 0.05 mm, they can be seen with the naked eye.
Pores are essential for keeping the skin soft and hydrated. However, when overly large pores are present it can make the skin oily, look rough, uneven and can be unflattering. Even the application of makeup may be difficult and worsen the skin textural differences.
Large pores on the face can be caused by various factors, including:
- Genetics: Some individuals are genetically predisposed to having larger pores. If your parents or close relatives have large pores, you may also be prone to having them.
- Excessive sebum production: Sebum is the natural oil produced by your skin. When the sebaceous glands produce an excess amount of sebum, it can mix with dead skin cells and clog the pores, stretching them out and making them appear larger.
- Aging: As we age, our skin loses elasticity and collagen, which can lead to the appearance of larger pores. The decreased elasticity causes the skin around the pores to sag, making them more noticeable.
- Sun damage: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can damage the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, making it less firm and leading to enlarged pores.
- Poor skincare routine: Inadequate or improper skincare practices, such as not regularly cleansing the face, not removing makeup before bed, or using harsh, pore-clogging products, can contribute to the appearance of large pores.
- Acne and blackheads: When pores become clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, it can lead to the formation of acne and blackheads. These can stretch out the pores and make them more noticeable.
- Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormones, such as during puberty, menstruation, or hormonal imbalances, can increase sebum production, leading to enlarged pores.
While it may not be possible to completely eliminate large pores, there are many treatments that can reduce pore size.
NEUROTOXINS SUCH AS BOTOX
You’ve probably heard of Botox, right? It’s famous for smoothing out wrinkles. But these days, it’s being used for something new – making pores look smaller.
The science behind using Botox for large pores is to target the muscles which control pore size, the erector pili muscles – these are tiny muscles that connect the dermis to the hair follicles. Botox relaxes these muscles, reducing the amount of oil and sweat coming out. This makes pores look smaller. Furthermore, the sheen and texture of the skin is improved.
The process to do this is called Microdroplet Botox, though it goes by a few other names. A very dilute Botox is injected just under the skin targeting the erector pili muscles – not in the muscles that make facial expressions. Because this technique involves a bunch of tiny injections that are close together, a numbing cream is used so it doesn’t hurt.
And that’s the magic of Botox beyond just fixing wrinkles!
ENERGY BASED DEVICES
Ablative fractional resurfacing is a type of laser skin treatment that can help with a variety of skin issues, including large pores. Here’s a simpler explanation of how it works:
- Treatment Process: The laser targets small sections, or ‘fractions’, of the skin surface. It removes, or ‘ablates’, the top layer of skin and heats the layer underneath. This causes tiny injuries to your skin, but don’t worry – it’s intentional and controlled.
- Healing Response: These tiny injuries stimulate your body’s natural healing process. Your body responds by producing more collagen, a type of protein that keeps your skin firm and youthful.
- Improved Skin Texture: The increased collagen can make your skin smoother and tighter, which helps minimize the appearance of large pores.
- Removal of Dead Skin & Sebum: The treatment also removes dead skin cells and excess oil (sebum), which can clog pores and make them look bigger.
Skin care products like kinetin, niacinamide, and alpha hydroxy acids can help make your pores smaller and reduce the number of visible pores. If you use these products regularly, you’ll start to see real changes around the 8th week of use. But why the 8th week? Well, skin care takes time. It typically takes about two months (or roughly 8 weeks) of consistent use for these ingredients to show their full benefits. However, things like hot weather can make your skin produce more oil, which can make your pores look bigger again. That’s why the improvement might not seem as noticeable when the temperature goes up. So, even if you’re using these products, your pores might look larger if it’s hot out and your skin is producing more oil.
Isotretinoin is a very potent sebum inhibitor. Also known as Accutane,it is a powerful drug used primarily to treat severe acne. It works on sebocytes, which are the cells that make up the sebaceous glands responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance that helps protect the skin. This is very helpful for young people with large pores. Here’s how it works:
- Sebum production: Isotretinoin works like a super oil-control product. It shrinks the oil- producing glands in your skin, reducing the amount of oil they produce. This helps your pores, the tiny holes on your skin, from getting filled up and enlarged by excessive oil.
- Cell proliferation: This medicine also acts like a supervisor for your skin cells. It ensures they don’t multiply too fast and clog up your pores, preventing them from getting too big.
In short, isotretinoin helps keep your pores small by limiting oil production and controlling the growth of skin cells. Remember, isotretinoin is a powerful medication that can have serious side effects and is only available by doctor’s prescription.
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), often called birth control pills, can help reduce large pores indirectly, primarily due to their impact on hormone levels. Oral contraceptives containing anti- androgen and estrogen combinations like chlormadinone and ethinylestradiol decrease sebum excretion and cause a reduction in the size of facial pores. Here’s a simpler breakdown:
- Hormone regulation: Birth control pills regulate the hormones in your body. Specifically, they decrease the levels of androgens, which are hormones that stimulate oil production in your skin.
- Oil production: When there’s less oil being produced, your pores are less likely to get clogged or filled with excess oil. Overproduction of oil often enlarges pores, making them more noticeable. So, less oil means smaller, less noticeable pores.
Remember, birth control pills are medications that can have side effects and they should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
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