By Madeleine Woon
My adolescence can more or less be summed up by the following three scenarios: Eating hot chips and flicking through magazines on the beach (doused in SPF, of course), watching the O.C. box sets like it was my religion, and spending hours in front of the mirror fruitlessly trying to excavate my pores, drugstore charcoal pore strips being my tool of choice. The latter was not so nice for my rosacea-prone skin—but a necessary rite of passage given how often teenage girls are reminded about pore size.
Big is often better, but as is the case with both Carrie Bradshaw’s long-haul love interest in SATC and the appearance of pores, it most certainly is not. The bad news is that contrary to what we’ve been routinely sold, and because we literally need them for our skin to breathe, there is no way to shrink pores. I repeat: there is no way to shrink pores. Their size is genetic, unmovable, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false. The good news is that by following the skin care methods as laid out to you by us below, you can clear them, which in turn makes them appear (convincingly!) smaller in size. Hoorah!
Chronic sun damage can increase the size and appearance of pores—all the more reason to diligently apply your trusty SPF. In order to not clog your pores in the process, you’ll want to be reaching for non-comedogenic sun protection; in other words, the kind that won’t block your precious pores. We cheerlead for our very own MEGASHADE, of course, a hardworking serum that moonlights as an acne-safe and comprehensive SPF50 sunscreen.
Sometimes pores can become clogged with bacteria, dead skin, and excess oil, all of which are exacerbated with comedogenic (pore-clogging) SPF choices. This leads to comedones, which can be open (see also: blackheads) or closed by skin (see also: whiteheads). Comedones are a type of breakout referred to as non-inflammatory.
MEGASHADE will not only not clog pores, it’s also full of ingredients like Niacinamide, Tea Tree and Colloidal that will selflessly go into battle with your breakouts on your behalf.
Reach for the acids
When it comes to matters of reducing the appearance of your pores, exfoliants are where it’s at. Moreover, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are the holy grail of ingredients when it comes to penetrating and cleaning out your pores—which, in turn, keeps them from stretching.
Our PRESS REFRESH mask is dripping in exfoliating acids—you’ve got your salicylic acids, your glycolic acids and your lactic acids—alongside skin soothers to dial down redness, refine uneven texture and give your breakout-prone skin a much-needed break. Best of all, the mask hydrates as it exfoliates thanks to the inclusion of hydration’s very own MVP, hyaluronic acid, renowned for leaving your skin feeling juicier than a bottle of chilled natty.
Pop a pill
In the good fight against clogged pores, those with oily and acne-prone skin will want to try and dial down their sebum production. For those uninitiated, sebum is an oily, waxy substance produced by the body’s sebaceous glands. It’s a complex mixture of fatty acids, waxes, sugars and other natural chemicals and is essential for skin health, as it helps to minimize water loss via the skin, and help to maintain the skin's flora. Sounds like a good thing, right? Yes. To a degree.
If your skin is very oily, your body may be producing too much sebum, which leads to clogged pores, acne, breakouts and the like. The main cause of an overproduction of sebum is hormonal imbalances, but can also be due to heat, exercise, genetics, dehydrated skin, and/or skin that’s irritated from incorrect products.
Enter SKIN DISCIPLINE. Not only does our cocktail of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and fatty acids help to regulate sebum levels, thus reducing the likelihood of clogged pores, it also improves skin health by easing surface level irritation and balancing skin-supporting bacteria.
Okay, got it. But, what’s the diff between clogged pores and sebaceous filaments?
Similar in appearance to blackheads, “sebaceous filaments are naturally-occurring, tube-like structures that line the walls of your pores. Their purpose is to direct oil flow,” says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. While blackheads have a plug-like appearance when extracted, sebaceous filaments more closely resemble small white or yellow hair-like strands as they are squeezed out. They are flat and come out easily if you pinch the skin, whereas blackhead removal requires a bit more effort. You can leave sebaceous filaments alone, but if you’re out to keep your pores clean, you’ll want to get rid of blackheads.
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