Ah, the age old question, “can I shrink my pores”? The truthful answer, is, you can't. A pore is not a door or a mouth, you can't open and close them. Pores dilate (stretch). But wait, just because the answer is “no”, doesn't mean that is all there is to it. There is hope, and it lies in education.
First, let me explain pores so that you may better understand them, and as a result, be able to deal with them, or live with them, however you want to put it. Stay with me, ok?
WHAT IS A PORE? There are two types of pores; sweat pores, and oil pores. An oil pore is connected to an oil gland, and we have these over the entire surface of the skin, except for the skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. When people talk about having “large' pores, they are referring to oil pores since these are the pores that can be large enough to been seen with the naked eye. Lol, naked.. Ok, ok where was I? Oh yes...
Oil pores have a very important job. I will TRY to make it short and simple. An oil pore is an opening that contains a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland underneath., That hair follicle allows the sebum (skins natural oil) produced by a sebaceous glad (lets call it an oil pump?) to reach the surface and lubricate the skin, keeping it supple, moisturized, and healthy. Wonderful, right?
Typically, our pores do a great job of sweeping out oil, dead skin cells, and gunk that may wind up there, but unfortunately, sometimes that's not the case. When this function goes out of whack, the pore becomes congested from oil, dead skin cells and nasty gunk.
SIDE NOTE: Acne blemishes begin with pore blockages. This includes milia, small pimples, and large breakouts.
WHAT DETERMINES THE SIZE OF A PORE? Genetics. Yay. Although genetics are the real culprit, there are factors to having large or dilated pores. Think about it; if the oil gland is overactive, the pore will open and stretch. That is how skincare experts determine your skin type, it's all in the pores, Chico. Larger pore, more oil, smaller pore, less oil, and likely, a dry skin type.
When the skin loses elasticity and suppleness/firmness as we age, or because of sun damage, poor diet, smoking, ect., the pores kinda droop, and now these large pores looks worse! Ok, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to freak you out. I hope this is all making sense to you.
OK, SO WHATS THE VERDICT? While you cannot shrink or close a pore, you can definitely make them appear smaller and even control the dilation, but controlling the dilation is a bit of a stretch, no pun intended lol. Exfoliating regularly will help keep the pores clean from the yuckies that clog and stretch them. Chemical peels are great and I personally recommend getting one at least once a month. An exfoliant at home is a must. Something gentle that will not strip or disrupt the skin, thus creating MORE issues. Violets Face Polish is a favorite around here.Protecting your skin from the suns harmful rays will preserve it. Remember that when the skin loses elasticity it no longer appears supple, or taut and plump; this causes large pores to droop and then we have a whole new issue with their appearance. Think of the way other things look when they droop -balloons, flowers, boobs!Last, but certainly not least; a healthy diet and a kick ass skincare regimen. Remember that skincare starts from within, but what you use topically matters a lot, too. Opt for foods that are juicy, high in antioxidants, and fiber; stay away from inflammation inducing foods that are high in sugar and processed. Also, cut the dairy! Dairy is a know inflammation/acne trigger.
Ok, so I tried. This is my simplified guide to pores. I hope this wasn't too painful or confusing to read. I am open to questions and even suggestions on information regarding these beautiful, useful, openings in the skin we call pores.