Okay, I am going to admit something… I absolutely hate when people ask me “How can I reduce my pores?” It’s not that it isn’t possible, but it’s more that for most of us…we don’t have an actual issue with our pore size. The issue is that social media and the hundreds of photo & video editing apps have made us as a society think we should have no pores.
Trust me, I love a good filter just as much as the next person…but we need to live sometimes in reality.
The reality is we all have pores! It is just straight-up FACTS! Now, this isn’t to say that some of you may not have larger than average, or a problem with textural issues…and yes, I can help with that…but for a good chunk of you, your pores my friend are normal, and you are beautiful!
Let’s talk about why we get enlarged pores…
We may like to pretend it isn’t a thing…but we are not as young as we once were! As we age the rate at which our body produces a new skin cell to the time that skin cell dies and naturally sheds off the surface of our skin gets longer.
When we are younger this process is much quicker, approximately one month. Studies have shown that for every year over 20, we add a day. So now that I am in my early thirties this process is taking 13 days longer. If you are in your 50s this process is taking 30 whole days longer.
What does this mean for your pores?
The more dead skin cells that sit on our face the larger our pores will look. WHY? Because dead cells have more texture, they make our skin look dull and emphasize our pores.
Now before you go exfoliating your skin like a crazy person…
Let’s talk about the right way to manage this….
1) Embrace your natural skin oils. The natural oils in your skin need to be able to flow freely out of your pores. This means that hydration is always our first step. This goes for the water we drink and the products we put on our face.
I find so many people that struggle with blackheads try using acne products, which can make things worse. Any product that will be drying is going to cause the oils in our pores to harden, and hard oil is…you guessed it…. A blackhead!!! So instead of going for your chemical exfoliants, and acne washes opt to focus on hydration.
Now I know what some of you are thinking…. “I have blackheads and trust me my skin is oily!” Yes, this is a skin type I know very well. It is called oily dehydrated. Your skin is lacking in water and therefore your body is producing an excess of oil to try and hydrate itself. So, drink up and opt for a moisturizer high in things like hyaluronic acid and lower in oils and emollients.
It is all about trying to create that balance. When you wash your face, it should feel clean and fresh but never dry or tight. When you wake in the morning your face should have some natural oil and a slight dewy look to it.
2) Learn your skin. There is no perfect formula for how frequently you need to exfoliate. Sorry, I know, I wish there was, but we are all unique and therefore your routine will be. I work with people all the time to help them determine the right balance, and even for me, it’s my best-educated guess.
For me, if I am honest… I couldn’t tell you when I exfoliated last. My skin doesn’t need it. Every once in a while I will see my skin getting dull and so I will give it a little love with my Vitamin C scrub.
Forget about the 2-3 times a week rule or even that “safe for daily use.” Product companies want you to use their products more often so you spend more money, so they will always tell you the max recommended amount that’s just business. For some of you, you may even need it, but for a lot of you, this is too much.
Listen to your skin. When it’s starting to feel a little rough, look a little dull, get a little greasier throughout the day than exfoliate. This may be once a week, once a month…only you can determine the frequency you need.
3) Speed up your skin’s cell turnover. One of the best ways to do this is to get regular facials, use a chemical exfoliant once a month or start using a retinol.
Now I could, and may, write an entire blog just on retinol but here is my advice. If you are under 30, just avoid it for now, or let’s talk first. If you are over 30 and finding your skin is dull, and the texture is not as nice start with a small dosage like Vivier 0.3%. Slowly increase the frequency in which you use it, once a week, twice a week, every 4 days, every 3 days… you get it.
Watch your skin during this process, add to the frequency if you are seeing continued benefits… smoother skin, better hydration, better oil flow, fewer blackheads and STOP if you start feeling dry, or have redness, etc…
It’s a process, and I wish it wasn’t and really you need someone to walk you through it. This is why I usually tell people to forget about it unless I truly feel it is necessary for them. So many people have this notion that stronger, every day is better and it’s not. For example, even when I use to use it (I’ve stopped, my skin doesn’t need it) I only ever used it twice a week. I tried many times to get to daily use, but it just wasn’t for me.
4) Now if you have the skincare down and we’ve achieved balance some amazing resurfacing treatments can help shrink those pores up. Some of my favorites include laser facial, Potenza, chemical peel…. But this has been long enough and skincare and what we do with our skin every day is always the first step.
If this resonates with you and you’ve been trying on your own and feeling overwhelmed about what to do with your skin, don’t stress it. Let’s talk!