Folks who are into makeup and skincare will know that having small pores is in vogue right now. But, is making your pores smaller healthy? Or could the search for smaller pores be damaging your skin? Smaller pores may look more "attractive," however if the price you pay for forcing them to shrink comes at a high cost, it's definitely worth weighing up the risks.
Unfortunately, large pores are seen by many as undesirable. Visible pores are looked at (by some) as flaws and as a problem that must be fixed or minimized. Thus, to cater for the perfectionist inside of us all, there are a ton of pore minimizing products on the market. Let's face it, if you do have large pores, you've still got to get pretty close to a mirror in order to spot them. Other people need to get up close and personal with you in order to notice your pores and chances are, if they're that close to your face, they're probably not going to be focussing on your pores. Unless they're a dermatologist.
However, if your pores are constantly on your mind and they're making you feel a little self-conscious, you may want to hear what the experts have got to say about whether making pores smaller is a healthy venture or not.
Dr. Janet Prystowsky, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Livad Skincare, tells Bustle over email, "There really isn't a way to make pores smaller. As one ages it is normal for pores to gradually look larger, especially on the nose."
"Skin's natural oil is produced by sebaceous glands attached to pores under the skin" she explains, "these oils oxidize when exposed to air. This oxidation turns the oil black which visually makes the pores look more obvious and resemble black heads. No one likes this look so pore minimizing products and treatments abound."
"It would be unhealthy to permanently make our pores too small because it could impede human oil from getting to the skin surface where it functions to help moisturize our skin, by impeding evaporative water loss," Dr. Prystowsky elaborates.
"Sweat pores are less visible than oil gland pores but making them too small or destroying them would impede sweating," she continues, "which is important for temperature regulation. If they are thermally destroyed or inactivated by Botox in the armpits, sweating will occur on other parts of the body to compensate." This sounds like a less than ideal situation.
However, if you are hell bent on having smaller pores, Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist at NYC's SKINNEY Medspa, says there are ways to make your pores appear smaller.
"Retinoids can make pores appear smaller by decreasing the clogging of pores and increasing collagen. As long as you are not pregnant or breast feeding and you can tolerate the retinoid without irritation, retinoids are a safe and healthy option," says Dr. King in an email to Bustle.
"Prescription Accutane makes pores smaller by shrinking the oil glands," explains Dr. King, "Accutane is a prescription medication used for severe acne. There are possible side effects and therefore candidate patients must be selected and monitored carefully. In appropriate patients Accutane can be a safe and healthy option. Please see your dermatologist if you think you may be a good candidate." Although she adds, "Often the pores return to their original size after the patient stops taking the medication." So this likely isn't a long term solution.
Although there is a method that's more permanent, "You can shrink pores permanently with resurfacing laser treatments like Fraxel by increasing the production of healthy collagen. Laser resurfacing is a safe procedure with possible risks. Again, a dermatologist must carefully select and monitor patients for optimal outcomes," says Dr. King.
It appears that whichever route you take to make your pores look smaller, there are risks involved. Besides, as Dr. Prystowsky says, it would be unhealthy to make our pores too small on a permanent basis.
But, if you're really desperate to minimize your pores, have a chat with your dermatologist to discuss which method is right for you.