Pores, those tiny holes on the surface of your body, help to push out excess oil and dead skin cells from your body. They’re a crucial component of your largest organ – your skin! Skincare has become an enormous industry, with one 2018 report estimating its worth at around $135 billion! Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of misinformation about the nature of pores, so we’re here to expose the naked truth!
Can you open and close pores?
A common misconception is the idea that you can use heat to open up pores & clean them out – and then use cold water to close them back up. Although there is a real benefit to using hot and cold water for grooming, pores don’t actually have muscles around their opening, which would be required to allow them to open and close. However, steam and hot water can help loosen any debris in your pores, which is indeed a helpful way of cleansing your skin. Try using a Cornerstone face scrub in the shower – it will soften your stubble, clear away dead skin cells, and release ingrown hairs.
Can you shrink them?
Pop into any high street health & beauty store, and you’ll likely find various creams and treatments that claim to minimise pores. This can lead some people to believe that it’s possible to physically shrink your pores, but this is an idea we should all file under ‘myths and legends’! The reality is that the size of your pores is dictated by your genetics, and there’s no way of changing it.
However, there are ways to make them appear less noticeable. Sebum build up, dirt and dead skin cells can all give pores a darker, more prominent appearance. To combat this, be sure to wash your face each day with a face wash and warm water, and remember to exfoliate regularly using a scrub. The Cornerstone face wash and scrub are your best friends here!
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Are blackheads just dirty pores?
Another mistaken belief is that blackheads are simply pores clogged up with dirt, but this is a bit of a fallacy. Blackheads are actually just small whiteheads (those small, pimple-like spots) that have been through a process known as oxidation.
In the same way a banana will darken as it reacts with the oxygen in the air, the sebum oil in your pores will also darken as it is exposed to the air. Fun fact – whiteheads are actually filled with the same material as blackheads, but the opening in their pore isn’t quite large enough for oxidation to take place.
Although there is something strangely satisfying about squeezing a blackhead or ripping them off using pore strips, these won’t actually solve a blackhead problem in the long run. This is because you’re only removing a superficial layer – your woes will return soon enough! However, a regular routine of cleansing and exfoliating can keep your pores clear of excess sebum oil, and should alleviate blackhead build up more effectively.
Do pores get larger with age?
You might be expecting this to be a myth too, but there is actually some truth here. As you grow older, your skin’s production of collagen slows down, which leads to reduced elasticity. As your skin starts to stretch and sag, the pores are also stretched, making them appear larger. Your skin also thickens as you age, which causes miniscule skin cells to gather around your pores, adding to the larger appearance.
Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about the passage of time, but picking at pimples and blackheads can actually worsen this problem, as it causes pores to lose their shape. If you’re a serial pimple popper, you may want to kick the habit!