Set the scene: Inside a brightly lit bathroom, complete with a 3x zoom mirror, stands someone squinting, inspecting, and judging the appearance of the pores that reflect back at them. We've all been there, done that. We try shrinking them, unclogging them, and probably squeezing them, but what exactly is their purpose?
What Is a Pore, Exactly?
The average adult body has over 5 million pores, teeny tiny openings in the skin that contain hair follicles and allow particles to pass through. They’re small but mighty, playing a major role in the overall function of our skin by releasing oil, sweat, and impurities. Conversely, pores are what allows your skincare products, to reach the lower layers of your skin and deliver results.
What Causes Clogged, Enlarged Pores?
When pores are functioning properly, they do a great job at keeping moisture in and dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells out. Sometimes, however, pores can become blocked from a lack of cleansing/exfoliation, fluctuation in hormones, or more, trapping impurities inside. For sweat pores, this can result in a heat rash. For oil pores, it can turn into a pimple.
So how do we shrink our pores? Technically, we can’t. “Pore size is determined by the inheritance and some specific genes which determine them. While pore size is genetic, there are a few reasons why they may become enlarged. Because oily skin types produce more sebum, their pores tend to look bigger than those on the dryer side.
Hormones can play a role too, which is why pregnancy, menopause, and puberty can make pores appear larger. Aging skin can be another culprit; collagen (the building blocks of our skin) breaks down over time, loosening pores’ structure and increasing their width. A similar effect can happen when skin is damaged by the sun, whose UV rays deplete collagen levels (a sign of premature aging).
If none of this applies, your pores may be simply clogged. If you're seeing what looks like large pores on your face, this likely means your pores are clogged, whether it be with oil or dead skin. Trapped impurities stretch out their structure and make them appear larger.
Luckily, you can minimize their appearance by using a toner!
Toner removes any last traces of dirt, make up, grime and impurities stuck in your pores after using a cleanser. Since too much cleansing can disturb the natural pH balance of the skin, applying a toner helps balance the scale back to normal. Toners add a protective layer to the skin and prevent dirt and oil from getting into it thereby preventing acne, skin irritation, dark spots & dull skin.
Additionally, if your skin is lacking essentials vitamins and nutrients, a toner, depending upon its ingredients, may prove more beneficial for a healthy looking, moisturized, soft & supple skin!