Enlarged facial pores can be unsightly. They create an irregular texture and tone that detracts from the smooth, glowing appearance of attractive skin. Large pores become more noticeable with age. Although the actual size of pores can't be reduced, various techniques can help you minimize their appearance. Dermatological procedures, prescription and over-the-counter creams, and even home remedies, can help make enlarged pores less visible.
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Pores are the openings that surround hair follicles and facilitate the distribution of natural oils, or sebum, onto the surface of your skin. Pores can get larger if they become clogged with dead skin cells, skin oils and bacteria. When these substances are exposed to air, oxygenation takes place and causes them to turn black, forming blackheads. Audrey Kunin, M.D., a dermatologist in Kansas City, explains that blackheads not only enlarge pores, but make them more visible.
As your skin ages, it produces less collagen, the substance that plumps and supports younger skin. Without collagen's firming effects, pores lose elasticity and become dilated. Collagen is further diminished, and pores enlarged, by sun exposure. According to Kunin, sun damage creates a rim of cells around individual pores. Although this accumulation takes place on a microscopic level, the end result is noticeable. The American Academy of Dermatologists also identifies sun exposure as a major factor in enlarging pores, saying that while genetics are 20 percent responsible for pore size, exposure to sun accounts for a whopping 80 percent.
Remedies for Enlarged Pores
The Daily Glow recommends combating enlarged pores with a professional facial to remove debris and bacteria and reduce oiliness. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells to reveal fresher skin underneath, and this can also help improve skin texture. Alpha hydroxy acids -- naturally found in fruits and milk -- include glycolic, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric acids. These can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores from sun-damaged skin. Creams containing antioxidants like vitamin C help loosen dirt while stimulating collagen production. In-office procedures, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, can also treat enlarged pores. The American Academy of Dermatologists endorses nonablative laser resurfacing -- this technique can trigger the production of new, thicker, smoother skin.
To make a homemade facial mask, mix 3 tablespoons of very fine uncooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and the juice from half of a fresh grapefruit, and stir the mixture until it's pasty. If your skin is dry, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Allow the mixture to thicken for five minutes, then apply it to your face and let it dry for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, and follow with toner and moisturizer. This natural recipe, which has exfoliant and pore-tightening properties, contains vitamin C and citric acid, an alpha hydroxy acid. Apply a small amount to your wrist 24 hours before use to make sure you're not allergic.
Disguising Large Pores
If you're still unhappy with the appearance of your pores, you can camouflage them with cosmetics. Opt for a cream foundation, applied with a makeup sponge, rather than liquid. The cream can help fill in pores, and provides better coverage. Dust with a loose, translucent powder to help even out skin tone and give your face a polished, glowing finish.