If fashion’s recent fixation with fresh, bare skin has left our faces more exposed than ever, there’s never been a better time to focus on achieving a polished, supernatural complexion. According to a Harris Poll/L’Oreal Paris survey on 2000 adults, nearly half of the women wished they could downsize their pores; 1 in 3 women were more concerned about their pores than wrinkles; and half of them would give up booze, dessert, or even social media for one entire year just to minimize those eyesores!
While a healthy diet and exercise can shrink your waistline, a different set of measures is required to whittle those plus-sized pores. Here’s a problem-oriented strategy to get yours into shape.
PROBLEM #1: GENES & GREASE
Majority of those who have known pores since high school years are likely to have genetically thick, oily “orange peel” skin (that’s more wrinkle-resistant. Thank goodness for that!).
Gaping pores also have an annoying propensity to set camp right smack in the central face, where you least want them – the area that runs between your brows, nose, the adjacent inner cheek, and chin – due to a higher density of sebaceous glands. Oil pooling in the pits, especially when clumped together with dead skin cells, pollution or makeup to form blackheads, stretches the pores out and causes them to appear more prominent.
Your Pore-Fect Solution: “Regular exfoliation and sebum regulation are the first steps you can take towards a fresh, refined complexion,” says Dr Kenneth Lee, Medical Consultant from The Sloane Clinic.
Bathroom Stars For Oily to Combination Congested Skin: (From left)
Dr Jart+ Black Label Detox Pore Penetrator is a herbal-extracted solution with natural salicylic acid to unplug pores, gently exfoliate the thick dead skin cells and restore sebum balance in those with combination or more sensitive yet oily skin.
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment mask is armed with Activated-X Charcoal to perform a vacuum-worthy pore degunking, along with a blend of BHA and AHAs to nix unwanted shine, zits, pimple marks and enlarged pores.
Sloane Inc. Crystal Clear Scrub is a creamy luxuriant exfoliant powered by ultra-fine bamboo crystals and skin-healing aloe vera to leave you feeling ohh-so-fine.
“If you are in need of more heavy-duty solutions, microdermabrasion is a simple and well-tested clinical exfoliation that can be done alone or in tandem with other treatments to fight pores, comedones and uneven skin tone. An example is the Deep Deep Clean facial, which combines microdermabrasion with ultrasonic deep pore cleansing to purify pore-magnifying debris and dead skin cells, and pave your way to a silky smooth clarity,” says Dr Lee.
Pro Pore Shrinker for Oily to Combination Congested Skin: The Laser Peel
“Laser treatments such as the Laser Peel goes a notch deeper to challenge the notion of pores “born this way”. Unafraid to get down and dirty, this smooth operator infiltrates into the depths of congested pores with the help of a specialized pre-laser Pore Matrix mask to clear the channels, bring overactive oil glands under control and re-strengthen walls of expanded pores with collagen, hence giving you closure from stubborn open pores.
PROBLEM #2: AGEING & SCARRING
If you’ve cruised through your early decades smoothly only to be seized by the horrifying sight of pore on your 30th birthday, it’s a clear sign that your skin needs a collagen top up. Early loss of skin elasticity often leads to open pores, undereye fine lines, dullness or a general blah-ness that you cannot put a finger on.
While you are trying to figure things out, keep your fingers off those pores – harsh extractions can traumatize skin, causing tiny, albeit deep, icepick scars that look and behave like seriously pesky pores.
Your Pore-Fect Solution: “Sun damage, a less-than-desirable lifestyle and other extrinsic skin agers can exacerbate enlarged pores, since they can accelerate damage of the collagen and elastic tissue which is the structural support for the skin,” says Dr Kenneth Lee. “Without the support, the pore expands.”
Bathroom Stars for Ageless Pore-Fection: (From Left)
Shiseido Ibuki Multi Solution Gel’s skin-conforming texture delivers a concentrated combination of pore-clearing salicylic acid and cell-plumping ingredients that boosts skin’s resistance against roughness, visible pores and breakouts.
The best-selling Lancome Visionnaire sérum is newly revamped: in addition to wound-healing plant extracts called jasmonates, it now contains skin-smoothing ingredients and micronized polymers that blur the appearance of pores.
Why choose between improving your pores or the lines? Sloane Inc. Age Defy is a global anti-ageing moisturiser with active vitamin A that all derms swear by to give sluggish cells a motivating kick, enhancing cellular turnover and collagen spinning whilst regulating excess pigment and sebum production for the legendary retinoid glow.
L’Oreal Youth Code Pore Vanisher cosmetically masks the appearance of pores and soaks up unwanted shine in an instant as skin-exfoliating LHA and pore-toning Perline P works over time to refine the skin texture.
“Besides being a powerful treatment to deliver more refined pores and supple skin, a resurfacing laser is an excellent choice for an all-round complexion overhaul in ageing, prematurely damaged or scarred skin,” explains Dr Kenneth Lee.
The new SmartX Lite laser is armed with state-of-the-art fractional resurfacing technology to reset your dermal clock by erasing sunspots, repairing lines and old scars, as well as adding spanx to pore-stricken, slackened skin with instant collagen contraction and continuous intense collagen regeneration and dermal remodelling over weeks that follow to tune up skin’s youthful sparkle and lift years off your face.
Pro Pore Shrinker for the Ultimate Complexion Makeover: Fractional Skin Resurfacing Laser
PROBLEM #3: HAIRY ISSUES
You know: Pores are small openings in the skin where sebum produced by oil glands is released onto the surface. But in case you haven’t realized: Pores are also home to hair follicles sprouting on your face and body, too. Dark, stubbly facial fuzz can sometimes masquerade as “resistant blackheads” around the nose or on the face, accentuating the appearance of pores and even turn the dimmer switch on your complexion.
Read more: Are You Sweating Too Much?
Your Pore-Fect Solution: Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor, both known for being absolutely beautiful, share the same unusual beauty secret: They both shaved their faces!
Their motivation for shaving was quite different than a man’s though. Instead of trying to prevent 5 o’clock shadow, these screen sirens took a page out of Cleopatra’s book to remove the baby hairs and the surface layer of skin cells, which gives the skin a facial-like glow (almost identical to the process of dermaplaning).
Although shaving does not make your hair thicker or darker, but it does leave the hair with a blunt edge as opposed to the tapered end it would naturally have. As the hairs grow, the blunt edges will feel rougher to the touch than hairs with their natural tip. So if you have dark hair (especially if they are relatively thick on certain parts of your face to start off with), you definitely will not enjoy the feel or look of a stubble on your face. Not to mention the possibility of causing ingrown hairs with regular shaving.
Perhaps we’ll stick with commercial pore strippers or our trusty DIY Milk Gelatin Pore Peel to target blackheads and fine hairs on our strawberry noses in one fell swoop for the time being.
Read more: Why Some Women Look Younger Than Others
There must be a better way to start your day.
Or you could uproot your trouble stubbles with laser or IPL hair removal. “The latest trend is to combine laser hair removal with treatments that perfects the underlying skin and removes brown discolouration, skin roughness or ingrowns that commonly come with frequent shaving” says Dr Lee. “A good example is our Removal & Restoration Program, which consists of a dream team of Hair Removal Laser, Laser Toning and Professional Chemical Peel to disable unwanted facial hair permanently, tone stretched out pores gently, and exfoliate surface dead skin to pull off a pore vanishing act, whilst adding a brightening punch for a polished radiance.”
– By Libby Tanada
*This article has been selected Article of the Month for Jun 2015*