PORES Pores… those tiny ter­rors that ei­ther con­firm skin per­fec­tion or give you a ner­vous break­down. We bust the myths and find out how to tackle them

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - TRENDS -

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Pores are the tiny open­ings of hair fol­li­cles all over your skin. Each one con­tains a se­ba­ceous gland, which ex­cretes se­bum (oil) to the surface of the skin to pro­vide nat­u­ral mois­ture. Pores can’t open or close and your pore size is ge­net­i­cally de­ter­mined, so it can’t be changed. The pores on your nose and fore­head are also nat­u­rally larger than on the rest of your body, which is why they seem more no­tice­able.

While you can’t shrink your pore size, it is pos­si­ble to im­prove its ap­pear­ance, says Pas­cal Pied­i­monte, in­ter­na­tional train­ing man­ager for French skin­care brand Bio­derma. ‘ Imag­ine pores like a tube,’ he says. ‘If you put more liq­uid in this tube, there will be ex­ten­sions in the di­am­e­ter of the pore. For peo­ple who pro­duce an ex­cess amount of se­bum, this ab­nor­mal amount in the tube is what cre­ates di­la­tion of the pore.’ Pas­cal says testos­terone can cause the se­ba­ceous glands to pro­duce more oil, as does melanin, which is why men and peo­ple with darker skin tones tend to have oilier skins. Black­heads are caused when the ex­cess se­bum in pores ox­i­dizes, caus­ing the se­bum to turn dark.

A com­mon mis­take made by peo­ple with oily skin is try­ing to re­move se­bum with a very strong cleanser. This only makes mat­ters worse as it causes the se­ba­ceous glands to pro­duce even more oil. The best man­age­ment for en­larged pores is to con­trol the ac­tiv­ity of the se­ba­ceous glands and strengthen the pore’s wall. Pas­cal rec­om­mends us­ing prod­ucts with zinc glu­conate and vi­ta­min B6, as they de­crease the ac­tiv­ity of se­ba­ceous glands. ‘In­gre­di­ents like al­pha hy­droxy acids (AHA) and sal­i­cylic acid act as a sponge to ab­sorb the se­bum while agaric acid helps to strengthen the wall and re ne pores,’ he says.

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