Singapore’s humid climate is often associated with increased skin oiliness and enlarged pores, which often play a role in the formation of comedones and acne.
So, when it comes to having clear, smooth and radiant skin, achieving healthy pores is usually one’s top main priority Although the condition of one’s pores are often linked to factors such as stress and daily lifestyle habits, caring for your pores is one of the main ways to achieve healthy skin.
In this article, we will explore what pores are and debunk the most popular pore myths, helping you understand your skin a little better.
Pores are tiny openings in the skin that release oil (sebum, our body’s natural oil) and sweat. They are also connected to your hair follicles. Healthy pores are surrounded by keratin and sebum and supported by collagen.
There are two types of pores:
Sweat Pores: These are microscopic openings in the skin that cover our entire body. Overactive sweat pores cause hyperhidrosis, a disorder of excessive sweating.
Oil Pores: Linked to sebaceous (oil) glands, these pores are present everywhere on the body except for the skin on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. This type of pore is large enough to be seen by the naked eye. Typically, skin issues related to enlarged or clogged pores are usually associated with oil pores.
Continue reading to discover the 7 most common misconceptions about pores and understand what you can do about them.
The truth is, your pore size is mainly determined by genes. People with naturally oily skin tend to have larger pores due to active sebum release. While you cannot remove pores completely or reduce their size, you can try to improve their appearance.
Oil gathered at the top of a pore may reflect light making the pore seem larger than it is. To make openings on your skin less noticeable, incorporate topical retinoids and chemical exfoliators for clogged pores in your skincare regimen. These products stimulate cell regeneration, remove excess sebum and dirt from the pores, and enhance an even skin texture. It is recommended to cleanse your skin twice a day, whenever you sweat and not to over-cleanse as your body will work harder to produce more sebum, causing even more clogged pores.
This is one of the most common misconceptions regarding pores. In reality, pores do not have muscles which means they cannot open or close.
Similar to how a camera lens functions, pores can only dilate, going from narrow to wide and vice versa.
Why is it common practice to steam during facial treatments? Steam helps to loosen sebum and dirt clogged in your pores, making the extraction process easier and more comfortable. Furthermore, it allows exfoliators and ingredients in facial masks to penetrate further into the skin for deep cleansing and nourishment. Remember that it is always safer to leave the extraction process to a professional to avoid damaging your skin.
You may have heard that using cold water on your skin can shrink pores. The truth is, cold water or ice can only temporarily make pores appear smaller and soothe the inflammation of irritated blemishes but they cannot fully close your pores for good. When a pore’s opening is blocked, it can become clogged with impurities, resulting in acne or other skin conditions.
Although blackheads do seem like dirt, that is not true. What you see are actually dead cells and oxidised sebum clogging the pores. When not entirely blocked, a pore is open to the air, causing a chemical reaction between oxygen and dead cells inside the pore which turns black as a result. In contrast, when a pore is fully clogged and covered with a thin layer of epithelium (protective tissue), it forms a whitehead. Since air cannot enter, sebum inside the pores is not oxidised and remains white.
Some believe that staying in the sun can help shrink your pores. The truth is, prolonged and unprotected sun exposure does the complete opposite. Ultraviolet (UV) rays tend to penetrate deep into the dermis (middle layer of skin) and damage collagen fibres which are necessary for supple, healthy skin often resulting in enlarged pores.
Many people are misled by the idea that using sunscreen regularly causes clogged pores and frustrating breakouts. Constant exposure to sunlight and UV rays triggers the breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin, weakening its protective barriers. Therefore, it is important to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from sunlight and UV rays. Fortunately, sunscreen formulas have improved over the years, offering non-comedogenic options for every skin type.
Despite the fact that your pore size is largely determined by genes, it does not remain the same throughout your life. One of the factors that may affect pores is your menstrual cycle. Pores typically appear larger at the end of ovulation. During this stage, progesterone levels begin to rise, causing your skin to actively produce sebum and pores to compress. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause can also make pores look larger.
Age is another factor that affects the size of pores. As we get older, our skin produces less collagen which results in decreased skin elasticity. Collagen helps pores stay tight and firm allowing them to return to their regular size after dead skin cells are removed. Without new collagen fibres, pores become more visible on the skin.
You cannot erase or reduce the size of your pores, but there are many solutions you can try to minimise their appearance.
Built-up sebum along with blackheads or whiteheads make pores more noticeable but cleansing and exfoliating your skin with the right products can help you make your skin healthy and firm. Applying a good sunscreen product can protect you from harmful UV rays. Consult a professional dermatologist if you are regularly dealing with pore blockages. They will recommend a personalised treatment targeted to cleanse your pores and remove toxins that can cause blemishes and skin irritation.
Established in 2011, SOG Health Pte. Ltd. (“SOG”) is a leading healthcare service provider dedicated to delivering holistic health and wellness services to the modern family.
With a long and established track record in Singapore providing Obstetrics and Gynaecology (“O&G”) services such as pre-pregnancy counselling, delivery, pregnancy and post-delivery care, the Group has since further expanded its spectrum of healthcare services to include Paediatrics, Dermatology, and Cancer-related General Surgery (Colorectal, Breast & Thyroid).
The Group’s clinics, under its four operating segments of O&G, Paediatrics, Cancer-related and Dermatology, are strategically located throughout Singapore to provide easy access to its patients.
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