Facts About Pores: Why Are We So Obsessed? (Updated Feb. 16, 2021)

I often avoid discussing pores on social media, as I don’t wish to perpetuate further obsession. After having a conversation with a friend, it dawned on me that facts about pores are not widely known, and it needs to be addressed. Without further ado, here are some things I’ve learned about pores since becoming an Esthetician:

• Pore size is determined by genetics. You cannot change the size of your pores. Attempting to alter the size of your pores through aggressive at-home treatments and remedies can and will damage your skin.

• Pores do not open and close. I repeat: PORES DO NOT OPEN AND CLOSE. In order to actually open and close, pores would need to be surrounded by muscles, which they just don’t have. They’re always open.

• On a similar note, steam and hot/warm water do not cause pores to open, but they can aid in softening the impaction inside the pore, providing a deeper cleanse. This also makes it easier to extract blackheads. Cold water does not close pores. (Please never use hot water. It can cause damage to your skin over time. Use lukewarm water instead.)

• Pores can become permanently distended or dilated after being clogged over extended periods. Loss of elasticity can also contribute to pores appearing stretched or more prominent.

• Brands that claim their products can shrink pores are using this as a marketing tactic. Please don’t buy into the hype. Some ingredients, such as niacinamide, can regulate oil production to a normal level, and therefore make your pores appear less noticeable (if you’re experiencing overproduction of oil), but they will never shrink.

• Pores can appear larger when your skin is oily. The cause of oil production has many factors. One thing to consider is hormones. As our hormones fluctuate, oil production can increase. If you’ve ever noticed your pores looking huge during PMS, this could be why!

The moral of the story: Pores are normal whether they’re visible or not. Pores are needed for your skin to function. Everyone has them, in all sizes. Pores are not an imperfection, they are a part of life and a part of you. I hope this was helpful. I will do a separate post on pore maintenance in the future.

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