Here at LKN Fountain of Youth, we love to help you with everything skincare, injectables, and beauty related. And one question we get ALL the time is about pores. What can I do to make them smaller? Why do they get clogged? What can I do to unclog them? Why does it seem some people have none and mine are huge? Let’s dive into the topic because there’s a lot of debunking.

How do Pores work?

To understand pores, you first need to know how they work. Pores are actually hair follicles that house tiny hairs. They are also where the sebaceous (oil) glands and sudoriferous (sweat) glands live. Pores help protect and lubricate the skin when they secrete oil and sweat helps to detoxify your body. While of course, that doesn’t sound like a positive thing to a lot of people, it’s a very important bodily function.

Pores are also important in skincare in the sense that they are little holes that allow our product to get into and penetrate deeper into the skin. That’s why it’s so important to wash your face every day and night to remove all the dirt, oil, and makeup!

In any case, the primary skincare issue surrounding pores is that sometimes they excrete too much sebum, which can cause enlarged pores. Also, when oil mixes with dirt and bacteria, it can result in acne or can make your pores look darker (more on that soon). There are also cases where pores don’t secrete enough oil, which becomes more common as we get older. This leads to dry skin, which can look dull, flaky, and generally unhealthy (heavy moisturizers and oils can fix that problem)

Basically, they’re finicky as all heck. But getting the facts straight can help you understand them better.

Mythbusting: Pore Edition

Let’s dig right in. These are the three most common myths about pores:

1. You Cannot Shrink Pores
I know, mind-blowing right? We hear it all the time, “this treatment will help shrink your pores”. False. The size of your pores is based on genetics, much like the size of your feet or the color of your hair. You can make them appear smaller by cleansing regularly, exfoliation, and good old manual extractions, however, you can’t actually shrink them.

2. You can’t open and close pores
Pores are not muscles, they can’t open and close. Warm water or steam will not open them up and cold water will not close them. Steaming the skin can help loosen up underlying debris, making blackheads easier to extract, but that’s about it. (Always remember it’s best to leave extractions to the professionals.)

3. The ‘black’ in blackheads is dirt
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to blackheads. Blackheads are a form of acne, and specifically a hardened plug of sebum and dead cells within a pore. It looks black because it’s been oxidized (exposed to the air). An extracted blackhead has a black, waxy head with a white or transparent tail. Those gray, pinhead-sized dots you see on your nose and cheeks are most likely sebaceous filaments, not blackheads. When extracted, they look like fine, white or yellow hairs.

The Proper Pore Treatment

You can start by cleansing your face every single night—no matter how exhausted you are—to remove dirt, makeup, excess oil and anything else that’s setting up camp in your pores and making them appear larger. We recommend a double cleanse (if you wore face makeup) that starts with an oil cleanser and finishes with a foam cleanser to make sure every trace of makeup and oil is removed.

A topical retinoid should also be applied in the evenings. They have been scientifically demonstrated to increase cell turnover, unclog pores, and encourage new collagen growth.