Let's Talk About Pores

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Pores – we all have them yet we are constantly trying to get rid of them, what gives?
A plethora of products exist that claim to shrink, minimise and erase your pores, a very attractive promise that we all seem to buy into in the quest for Instagram-worthy skin. But is it realistic? Erasing pores is not only a ludicrous mission driven by unrealistic beauty standards enforced by the beauty industry to play on your insecurities, it is impossible.
It’s time to change your attitude towards your pores, understand their function and learn how to love them. 

Don’t let unrealistic beauty standards guide you.
Alicia Jackman
I have large pores and oily skin and have been insecure about it for years, until I realised that this insecurity and hyper-awareness of my own pores doesn’t exist anywhere other than in my own mind.
I would inspect my face closely in a brightly lit bathroom under a 10x magnifying mirror. No wonder I was terrified. Luckily for me, not many people see my face under a magnifying glass (other than my aesthetician).
If your pore obsession is as bad as mine, consider this: have you ever looked at someone and thought “pretty girl, but holy crap check out the size of those pores!” Probably not.
Insecurities about pore size only exist in your own head, do not let the beauty industry exploit you. And exploit it does! I spent over an hour browsing the internet to find an un-retouched image of a female face to use on this blog post.
When you see images of models with insta-perfect skin, that give you that uncomfortable feeling of envy and disappointment with yourself, take a moment to remind yourself that it’s not real. Even the model in the picture doesn’t have that skin.
Understand your skin and learn how to work with it, because it’s all you’ve got and you shouldn’t let it be a source of unhappiness in your life.

What are pores and what is their function?
Pores are tiny little openings in the skin that sebaceous and sweat glands use to secrete oil, sweat and dead skin cells on to the surface of your skin.
Together, oil and dead skin cells form a protective layer on your skin known as the hydro-lipid barrier.
This barrier hydrates your skin and protects it from bacteria, viruses, damage and irritation caused by wind, rain and pollution.
We often take this barrier for granted and strip it with harsh chemicals and over-cleansing.
If we didn’t have pores we wouldn’t be able to let out any sebum, which would cause incredibly dry, cracked and painful skin. No thanks!

You Cannot Change The Size Of Your Pores!
Pore size is genetically determined and no amount of pore shrinking products will have an effect on the size of your pores in the long-term.  
If you have big pores, chances are you also have oily skin. You may consider yourself unlucky, when in fact, your skin type ages slower due to the protective and hydrating properties of your skin’s natural oils.
You may be displeased now, but you’ll be thanking your genetics later.

How To Keep Your Pores Looking Their Best  
The best thing you can do for your pore size is to keep them clean and free of obstructions. Build up of dead skin cells in pores can stretch them and cause blackheads making them more visible to the eye.
Don’t mistake those tiny little dots on your nose for blackheads! Those are called sebaceous filaments; they appear because that area of your face has more active sebaceous glands. You cannot and should not try getting rid of sebaceous filaments.  
Holy Grail Beauty Clay Mask
The best way to keep your pores clean from blackheads and also minimise the appearance of sebaceous filaments is mild chemical exfoliation using glycolic and salicylic acid. Alcohol free toners or a weekly clay face mask containing AHA or BHA are a great way to gently exfoliate your skin and keep your pores looking their best.
Retinol is another ingredient, which can have a positive impact on the appearance of your pores. Retinol increases the speed at which your skin cells turn over, improving the overall thickness of the skin and increasing the speed at which the oily plugs are purged from your pores. The less packed the pores = the smaller they look.
In summary, pores are great, they allow our skin to moisturise and protect itself. Bigger pores most likely mean more oil and slower ageing skin. Love your pores, take care of them and be happy. 

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