HOW TO SHRINK PORES
Our skin’s pores are nifty little temperature regulators releasing sweat to cool us or oil to stop skin getting dry – much like greenhouses that let light and heat in to create the perfect plant-growing conditions. So crucial are they that they cover everyone’s bodies, no matter if you can see them. That said, if you feel like you can’t help but see them you might be a keen bean to hear how to help reduce pore size. Real talk: it’s not possible to close pores like you close a door, but we’re here to show you how to minimise the appearance of pores with our skincare savvy routine and tips.
WHAT CAUSES ENLARGED PORES?
Time for some myth-busting truths. For something so microscopic, lots of people fret about their pores. But these little guys are hardly a problem to be solved, they’re a part of the roadmap of your face and aid skin health. Every inch of our skin, bar the eyelids and palms of hands and feet, are covered in tiny hairs. Zooming in, each has a follicle and, above that, a pore. Each pore, like a dip in the skin’s surface, open into ducts leading to one of two types of glands, either the sudoriferous (sweat-producing) or the sebaceous glands, where your body’s natural moisturiser, a fatty substance called sebum, comes from. So you wouldn’t want the pores to ever close, as you’d become pretty prune-like.
Skin scientists reckon we all have about 20,000 pores on our faces, but their size and shape are as diverse as our bodies. Just like you can thank your parents for your features, your pore size is also often passed down by genetics – for the most part.
While we can usually only peek our pores when we look very closely (or, for the ones on our bodies, often not at all) if you feel like they have become more visible or larger than you’d like, it could be that they’ve been amplified by outside factors.
Just like a greenhouse traps heat, pores can collect oil. On a nitty-gritty level, imagine – when dirt, makeup or oil build up on the skin’s surface, these impurities can easily sink into pores and get lodged there. This clog then effectively stretches the skin around the pore, and so, hey presto, pores appear larger. It follows, then, that if you have naturally oilier skin, your excessive sebum is more likely to weigh down pores in much the same way, causing you to notice them more and want to learn how to minimise the appearance of pores on your face.
Where you live or work can impact what you see in the mirror, too. Drying air conditioning, extreme heat or even sun damage can be culprits in making pores seem enlarged. When skin gets dehydrated, the oil glands can kick things up a gear to compensate, which, not unlike over-watering your plants, can be problematic, creating a fertile ground for pores to get plugged by oil and so appear more visible.
Age, like genetics, is something we can’t alter but may contribute to enlarged pores. The older we get the more we see the skin’s structure organically evolve due to reduction in collagen. If pores resemble greenhouses, collagen is like the bricks that make up your house. Over time, those building blocks aren’t as naturally strong, meaning our skin has less elasticity and pores can look enlarged.
OUR SKINCARE ROUTINE TO MINIMISE PORES
So how to reduce pores? The appearance of pores, that is. It goes without saying, but if you aren’t cleansing your face enough, are exposed to particularly drying elements or wear lots of thick makeup, it’s highly likely that any and all of those particles will bed down into pores, making them seem bigger than they actually are. That means following a skincare routine to minimise pores’ visibility is going to have the best impact.
Skincare myths abound when it comes to pore reduction. Case in point – hot and cold water will only ever temporarily change the apparent size of pores, not permanently. While many people believe steaming will help to shrink pores, this process is actually only useful in dilating the pore enough to soften the oil and impurities that have taken root there. Swot up on how to keep pores clean and free of gunk with our no-sweat 4-step skincare guide.
STEP 1 - CLEANSE
Cleansing is a crucial first step in your skincare routine to minimise pores’ appearance, wicking out whatever has landed in your pores throughout the day. If you have more active oil glands, a water-based cleanser will help to prevent extra oil getting into your pores, all while helping to draw out dirt and debris. Using our Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash helps to unclog pores and purify the skin without drying it out, plus it’s gentle enough for every day and all skin types. With a silky-soft texture, it’s enriched with kaolin clay, Community Fair Trade tea tree oil and bamboo charcoal. This Clay Wash has an instant and invigorating lather, leaving skin feeling mattified and refreshed.
STEP 2 - MASK & EXFOLIATE
The more intense cousin of the Purifying Clay Wash, our mask version is a 1-2 times a week treat for pores in need of something more targeted. Our Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask is enriched with green tea leaves, Community Fair Trade tea tree oil and bamboo charcoal, and is kind enough for faces that need a gentle exfoliation. Slather on an even layer and leave it to set, soaking up the tingling feelings. Exfoliate off with a damp muslin cloth or cotton pad. This buffing mask will help to weed out old skin cells, oil and grime from pores, revealing a more refined-looking complexion.
STEP 3 - TONE
To be sure that pores are as clean as can be, and no nasties are sticking around in there, our Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner is a must. Toners help to remove excess oil on the skin’s surface after you’ve cleansed, so are an integral part of a good skincare routine. First up, you want your skin to be patted dry after cleansing. Shake to activate the toner, then swipe across all contours of the face with a cotton pad. Residual makeup and the grime of the day is helped out of the pores, and skin is revealed to be clearer-looking and feeling refreshed.
STEP 4 - MOISTURISE
Having brushed up on your skin science, you may now think it goes against the laws of good pore care to be talking about moisturising. But ensuring you’re moisturised is, perhaps counterintuitively, a key way to help pores not seem larger than they actually are – it’s all about helping keep your natural oils at a good level, reducing the chances of your sebum production revving up and your pores getting clogged (and so appearing larger). Our Tea Tree In-Control Hydrator is our best face cream for moisturising while helping pores seem less visible. It’s enriched with Community Fair Trade tea tree oil from Kenya and helps skin to feel moisturised for up to 24 hours, helps reduce the appearance of imperfections and oiliness, plus is a non-comedogenic base for makeup to boot – no biggie.
5 TIPS FOR MINIMISING THE APPEARANCE OF PORES
TIP 1: REMOVE DEAD SKIN
How to close pores and get smooth skin? Buffing away old skin cells is integral to ensure you’re helping to block the build-up of all those things you don’t want congesting your pores. Our Drops of Youth™ Youth Liquid Peel is our gentle go-to for just that. It’s an innovative gel-to-peel texture, and is infused with Community Fair Trade moringa seed oil and a blend of three plant stem cells – edelweiss from the Italian Alps, sea holly and criste marine from the Brittany coast. When you massage the sumptuous gel into skin, it transforms into noodles that help to trap impurities and residues, and causing skin to feel like it’s been resurfaced and renewed. Removing the old skin cells helps to reduce the chances of clogged pores, making your pores appear refined.
TIP 2: HELP REMOVE POLLUTION PARTICLES FROM SKIN
Coming up against the elements and urban grime many of us face on a daily basis can make you feel like your skin is particularly grubby – and pores clogged. How to reduce pores on faces was the question we were obsessed with when designing our vegan Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask. It’s enriched with Community Fair Trade aloe vera and dandelion extract alongside matcha green tea, and is best applied with our Facial Mask Brush for even coverage. Using this mask 2-3 times a week can help to deeply exfoliate the pores of everyday impurities and reveal more radiant-looking skin. We can’t all live next to green fields and babbling brooks, but it’s certainly possible to help your skin feel like it’s been kissed by nature’s goodness if you treat it right.
TIP 3: REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE BED
Want to learn how to tighten pores? Simply follow your mother’s advice and always-always-always remove your makeup before bed. It’s essential to ensure makeup particles don’t dig into those small outlets in the skin’s surface while you sleep – a big no-no if you want to ensure your pores stay clean and debris-free. To rid your face of all traces of makeup, our best makeup remover is our Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. It feels so pleasing to use we couldn’t help but put the word ‘sumptuous’ right there in the title. You simply need to massage it into your face, mascara-laden lashes and all, and remove it with a damp muslin cloth or cotton pad. Skin is left feeling cleansed and refreshed in time for bed. Now, that’s snoozing smart.
TIP 4: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN
In learning to reduce pores’ visibility on the face, another unsurprising tip is to always wear SPF (no matter the weather). Sun damage is not just dangerous, but can also dry skin, making pores seem larger. When you’re under the sun’s rays, skin tries to up its barrier function by producing more sebum, which can put pores at risk of becoming clogged. And, UV rays can break down skin’s collagen and elastin, making the skin look less firm and pores larger. Lots of radiance-compromising reasons to use our Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF50 PA+++ religiously, alongside your main sunscreen of course, to help protect skin and re-plump with moisture. This little bottle, designed for dull, uneven skin, helps to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays without any stickiness or comedogenic effects (a fancy scientific word for pore-blocking). Talk about putting you in a sunshine state of mind.
TIP 5: REDUCE EXCESS OIL
For a cleanse specially formulated for faces prone to excessive sebum, our Tea Tree range is the one. Start with our Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash for a refreshing lather, enriched with Community Fair Trade tea tree oil. It’s suitable for everyday use, helping to rid pores of excess oil every morning. Our Tea Tree 3-in-1 Wash Scrub Mask helps to battle blemishes and sebum-saturated skin alike. Use as a foaming face wash, exfoliator or mask as your skin needs to reveal more mattified and clearer-looking skin. Lastly, our bestselling Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask is designed to take care of overexcited sebum production while you slumber. Smother it on pre-bed and let the formula, infused with salicylic acid, get to work on helping to balance skin’s natural oils, reduce blemishes and get skin looking refreshed and purified.