When I think about the most frequent expectations we have towards our skin, the most prevalent one is: „I wish I had my pores minimized”. In other words: „I want to get rid of enlarged pores”; „I want to remove the comedones”; and, „I’ve got blackheads on my face and I don’t want them”. That is why we keep buying plenty of cosmetic products that offer a tempting possibility of narrowing and minimizing pores so as to make our skin smooth and perfectly even, without any visible comedones. Are we really able to achieve it by using dedicated pore minimizers? Is it possible at all to minimize pores by means of the cosmetic ingredients? This is what today’s podcast will be about.
Every year, in spring and summer,
we are flooded with brand new products designed to help us with treating acne. They are usually accompanied with a wave of products dedicated to enlarged pores or comedones. So, this year we can also come across various products of different brands and of different consistency aimed at minimizing pores, cleansing comedones or narrowing hair follicle exits. Their common goal is to reveal clean and smooth skin. A black mask has been declared an absolute hit that is supposed to remove sebum from pores mechanically („by dragging up blackheads”) as well as a vacuum pore cleaner, which removes sebum by sucking it out.
Are you being constantly persuaded that it is enough to buy the best and the most popular cosmetic product dedicated to pore minimizing and blackhead removing and deal with the problem once and for all? Each cosmetic brand offers at least one pore minimizer but I keep hearing more and more complaints from my Clients that this or that product simply does not work. So, how to tackle with enlarged pores and blackheads…and it is possible at all?
Let’s start from the beginning by explaining how blackheads and enlarged pores are produced.
As you may know, our skin is covered with plenty of tiny hair, almost invisible or hardly visible. Each hair has the so-called follicle exit that we commonly call a pore. Every hair follicle is joined with its sebaceous gland; this gland produces sebum neccesary for, among others, proper moisturizing and nutrition of our skin as well as partially keeping up the hydrolipidic ballance. Our sebum makes its way to the skin surface through hair follicle exits – in other words, these are pore exits. If everything is ok, that is, if a proper amount of sebum comes out to the skin surface by the hair follicle exit, the surface sebum gets oxidized, leaving a tiny black spot. Does this ring a bell for you? That is exactly how those terrible blackheads appear. These are open comedones, known as blackheads, so the ones we want to get rid of the most. So, now you know that blackheads production is a natural process of sebum coming out to the skin surface. In short, if your skin functions well, you have ONLY open comedones (blackheads) and no other problems.
What does all I have just said mean, then?
It means that, first, we keep trying to get rid of something that is a natural process occurring on our skin – and I am speaking here about open comedones. While trying to remove blackheads by cleansing comedones and extracting sebum, we simultaneously make our skin drier. For what happens to it then? Both our skin and our brain operate basing on simple logical conclusions: if a lack of sebum occurs, then some more of it must be produced. That is why it happens so often that only a couple of days after skin cleansing we automatically come up with new open comedones full of sebum. And this is a natural process. Our skin will behave in a similar way after manual cleansing, whether home-made or professional one. Having experienced aggressive treatment, tired and irritated folicle exits (or, pores) will defend in the only way that they know: they will produce more sebum.
So, why don’t we want our blackheads and enlarged pores?
We have been persuaded that blackheads are defects; that they are ugly; and that our skin is expected to look perfect, without any visible flaws. But this is not true. Our skin will NEVER look like straight from the Photoshop because its natural structure is not smooth. From our skin’s point of view, removing blackheads is like constant mutilation that comes to no good.
So, can’t we do anything about it…? Well, in fact, we can – and I will tell you about it in a moment.
Are enlarged pores natural and, hence, are they to stay, too? Well, there are two reasons to enlarged pores. One of them is that our skin has its structure. If yours is thick and oily on the whole surface, hair follicle exits are wider and, hence, your pores are more visible. If your skin is thinner and not oily, or it is oily only in the T-zone, the visibility of pores is reduced or, even, minimized.
Another reason is your skin care routine along with the mistakes that you tend to make.
If you have got oily skin, you usually do everything to make it drier. Then, a very simple mechanism occurs: the more you keep drying it, the more it is trying to get oily. It is due to a common misconception that sebum that goes out of the skin surface should, in our view, be sufficient to moisturize it. This is not entirely so. Sebum produced by sebaceous glands is not 100% compatibile with the lipids in the hydrolipidic barrier. What is means is that the more oily your skin gets and the more you are trying to make it dry, the more it struggles to get moisturized. Can you see this vicious circle?
Now, the most important is not to use the products that only apparently minimize pores so as to achieve the lasting effect. The truth is that pore minimizers make them shrink just for the time of using the product. The true lasting effect requires a bit more effort.
If you do not break the vicious circle your skin has fallen into, you will not change its condition.
It means that you have to change your beauty regimen and stop drying your skin – at least not to such extent as you do now.
When we want to get rid of open comedones – the so-called blackheads, as well as enlarged pores, we make a number of skin care mistakes that cause even more skin problems, while, unfortunately, allowing comedones and enlarged pores still stay with us. We should approach the topic from a completely different perspective.
What to start from, then? Well, first and foremost, from keeping the proper hydrolipidic ballance. Only then will you be able to tackle with absorbing the excess of sebum. With the proper hydrolipidic ballance you will be able to assess whether your problem was related to sebum excess or if it was the effect of disturbed ballance (that is, your over-dried skin has increased sebum production).
And then, we can start delicately cleansing our skin from sebum excess. „Delicately” means here systematically and for a longer period, and not „once and for all”. Our skin usually does not like this second option.
Below, there is some guidance for you to follow:
- Start with bringing hydrolipidic ballance back – this is the basis of skin care.
- The larger the pores are, the larger skin dehydration grows.
- Skin regenerates at night; if it is not moisturized properly, it starts producing more sebum during daytime.
- If your skin is only a bit oily, you can use a sebum excess absorbing product, such as acids that attract sebum – mandelic, shikimic, salicylic or azelaic acids. Just don’t go too far with too strong acid concentration right from the beginning. Start with using lesser strength regularly and the effect will be much more satisfying.
- If your skin is very oily and it requires stronger care action, do it at night basing on acid peelings. During daytime you only moisturize your skin.
- If you have any doubts as to what beauty regimen you should follow, ask an expert. As Skin Expert, during the consultation I will check what your skin really needs. I will provide you with adequate skin care programme so as to ensure proper functioning of your skin and meet your expectations.
During the last 5 years of working with my Clients I have realized that the majority of skin problems emerge from disturbed epidermal integrity. Dryness, sensitiveness, redness, enlarged pores and even some acne problems result from disruption of the skin barrier. Skin care actions aimed at removing the problems often do not take into consideration our skin functioning mode. By treating the effect but not the cause as well as approaching the problem only from one side we do even more harm to our skin. In order to change it, I have created the Skin S.e.n.s.e.i. (scientific evidence navigation strengthening epidermal integrity) system. It is an individual, holistic approach to skin so as to improve its epidermal integrity and remove the root cause of its problems step by step.