It's all in the name of perfection: Clean pores are part of the perfect skin quotient, along with a complexion free of blemishes, scars, wrinkles and other noted imperfections. The quest to achieve great skin begins at a young age, and it typically grows even more fervent as we age. Fortunately, cleaning clogged pores is a simple process that can go a long way in helping encourage beautiful, naturally radiant skin.
Bigger isn't Better
The size of pores is an age-old concern that seems to plague nearly everyone at some point in life. At their most basic, pores are really quite simple (and quite necessary!). These small hair follicle openings open at the surface of the skin. The sebaceous oil gland also empties through this follicle, so both oil and hair emerge from the skin's surface through the pore.
Large pores are considered highly unattractive, mainly because they're so visible. There are a number of reasons that pores appear this way, including:
- Genetics: Sometimes it's simply hereditary. If you have oily, thick skin, you are probably more prone to large pores than individuals with dry skin.
- Sun Damage: Add it to the list of reasons to avoid sun exposure! Sun damage enlarges pores by thickening the skin, which causes cells to gather around each individual pore. The result is visible pores.
- Poor Skin Care Habits: A poor skin care routine may also contribute to enlarged pores. Simply not cleansing or exfoliating away those dead skin cells can be enough to create the illusion of large pores. Fortunately, this is a habit easily changed.
- Blackheads: Those peppery black dots, or the plugs that form within the pores, can draw attention to pores and even expand them. Formulating a plan of attack and nixing them can help diminish the appearance of pores.
Why It's Important to Clean Pores
No one wants gunk clogging up their shower drain, so why would anyone want gunk clogging up their facial pores? It's a similar effect; the more inhibited the shower drain is, the less tidy your shower's surface appears. Not vastly different, blocked pores contribute to the illusion of untidy, unclean skin. Simply put, clean pores can make an enormous difference in the condition and appearance of the skin.
What Cleansing Does
Cleansing is about more than just removing makeup. It also gets rid of the remains of the day, so to speak. It helps eliminate bacteria, reduce excess sebum (or oil) and remove debris, including dirt and other particles. If you have especially noticeable pores, the right cleanser is the one that contains ingredients targeted toward minimizing their appearance.
Though the market is positively bursting with pore-blasting products, it's still helpful to know and understand each ingredient and its respective purpose. Here are a few that you should keep an eye out for:
- Fruit Acids: Also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), fruit acids include glycolic, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric. These powerful acids exfoliate dead skin cells, resulting in smoother skin and cleaner pores. In turn, the skin looks fresher and brighter.
- Salicylic Acid: Also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), salicylic acid is an effective ingredient in the battle against acne. In pore-clearing formulas, it penetrates the follicle, regulates oil production, tightens pores and stimulates cell turnover. The result is healthier skin.
Products to Try
As mentioned, there are a number of products available to help you achieve a brighter complexion. Among them are:
- The DDF Glycolic 5% Exfoliating Wash is an industry and consumer favorite. As it cleanses, it purifies the pores and melts away dirt and debris.
- Enjoy refined, smooth skin with the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Foaming Cleanser. A versatile product that's essentially great for all skin types, it's mild, removes makeup quickly and refines the skin with its potent formula.
The Bottom Line
If you do nothing else, exfoliate. That's the big to do when it comes to achieving clearer skin. It helps encourage cell turnover, clears up those pores and reduces inflammation. Add an oil-free moisturizer to the mix, and don't forget the always-important sunscreen.