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Ah, pores. To some of us, they might be the bane of our existence, but for all of us, they’re actually one of the most important (yet underappreciated) functions of skin health. Keep reading to find out 5 things you probably didn’t know about pores and exfoliation!
1. What you think are pores aren’t actually pores at all….
What most of us refer to as “pores” are actually hair follicles that contain oil and sweat glands. While this may sound like it could cause excess oiliness, EVERYBODY benefits from this natural function since oil excretion is our body’s way of lubricating and protecting skin. Inflammation and irritation to these glands can be one of the main causes of acne, since it essentially causes a blockage of these important passageways by swelling up and trapping in dead skin cells and oil.
2. You can’t change the size of your pores.
A major skin myth is that you can minimize the size of your pores with the use of certain products. While it unfortunately isn’t actually possible to reduce the physical size of pores since they’re determined by hormones and genetics, there are definitely ways to help reduce their appearance. What we perceive as larger, gaping pores can more often be caused by debris filling or clogging pores and making them appear larger than they are. Use a treatment toner like Glycolic Resurfacing Toner to help flush this debris out of our pores and make them appear less noticeable.
3. Pores can’t be opened or closed.
Just like we can’t change the size of our pores, neither can we open and shut them at will with steam or products. Remember what we said about pores actually being hair follicles? These hairs are sometimes very small, which is why you don’t always see it outside the opening, and the walls of the follicle can become swollen, leading to clogged pores. Using steam or a hot compress on the face can help loosen debris clogging up the hair follicle channel, and help usher it out to the surface, leading to smoother, clearer skin.
4. There’s more than one way to fight clogged or large pores
Clogged pores can be caused by a variety of factors, including the buildup of oil and dead skin cells, sweat or bacteria due to not having a proper skincare routine and even hormones or genetics. There are a few key ways to help fight back against clogged or large-appearing pores, some of which you may have never thought of or tried.
Double cleanse: Oil-based products help attract oil within the skin. Starting with an oil-based cleanser and following up with a foaming cleanser can help draw out any excess oil that might be causing problems with your pores. Pair Essential Cleansing Oil with any of our cleansers, or use Hydrating Gel Cleanser by itself for an all-in-one double cleanse.
Don’t forget to exfoliate: Use alpha + poly hydroxy acid-based Hydra-Bright Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant to help flush out and unclog your pores, salicylic acid to help fight overproduction of oil or a vitamin A product like Retinol Smoothing Serum to help encourage cell turnover to help clear out follicles. Sunscreen is key: Sun damage can cause a variety of skin issues, one being the breakdown of collagen and elastin that can lead to the appearance of stretched out or large pores. Using a broad spectrum product like Oil Free SPF 40+ or Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+ is an ideal way to help keep skin protected against damage.
5. Skin technically doesn’t “breathe” through pores or hair follicles
A common myth in skincare is that certain products (or not wearing makeup at all) helps the skin to “breathe.” Physiologically, our bodies do not get oxygen topically through the skin, rather through the circulation of it through our blood internally from our lungs. Taking care of our bodies by eating healthy, staying hydrated (both with drinking enough water and using the right moisturizer for your skin type) and using a proper skincare routine (including SPF protection) are all effective ways to achieve our best skin ever.
Remember, pores (or hair follicles) are an incredibly vital part of our skin function and health. Without them, our skin wouldn’t be able to secrete natural oils and sweat, which help us detoxify skin and regulate temperature. While there are definitely measures you can take to help reduce their appearance and keep them clear of debris, try to remember to appreciate them for how important they are...to all of us!