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Truth and Lies About Your Pores

Portrait of woman

Do you practice pore hygiene? Chances are that if you are concerned about your skin, you probably do. But how do you really know about these little holes on your face? While many truths about pores are known, there is still so much that remains so “porely” misunderstood. But now, it’s time to get down to the truth about what’s behind your pore health. Here are some truths and myths about your pores.

What Is A Pore?
Basically, pores are small opening in the surface of the skin that secrete liquid. Our bodies hold millions of them.

Two Kinds of Pores
The term pore can be confusing, because there are actually two kinds of pores that serve different functions:

Pilosebaceous Unit (Hair Follicles That Hold Oil Glands)
These are the pores most often associated with clear, or unclear, skin. The purpose of these pores are to lubricate the skin. They are located all over the body, except for on the palm and soles of the feet. When they get blocked, which happens often , skin conditions like acne can, and often do, occur

Sweat Pores
These are the ducts for our sweat glands which serve to cool our body. They are located all over, but are more highly concentrated on the groin, under the arms, and on the hands and feet. They do not normally become blocked.

Although we often associate oily skin with sweaty skin, they are not the same thing. This means a sweaty workout should not cause acne. This also means that it is impossible to “sweat out toxins” because toxins are not found in the sweat glands.

Woman in mirror

Myth 1: Pores Can Change Sizes
Pore size is determined genetically. However, sometimes stubborn blackheads can resemble large pores. When enough material accumulates, as is the case with blackheads, an invisible pore can expand to many time its size until it looks like a blemish.

Myth 2: Heat Opens Pores, Cold Closes Them
This is not only untrue because temperature does not cause pores to open and close, but also because pores do not open or close at all. This is what’s really going on.

Firstly, heat from a shower or sauna may soften debris that causes clogging of pores, making it easier to remove with extraction or exfoliation. Secondly, moisture and heat soften the skin’s connective tissue fibers, stretching the pores, and making debris easier to extract and exfoliate.

A word to the wise: While warm, moist skin is more conducive to extracting debris, it is also more prone to tearing. At home exfoliation is fine, but leave extractions to the professional. Also, avoid touching your face after exfoliation until after you wash your hands.

Porely Enough
The sad news is that pores can become more visible and larger over time because the skin stretches and slackens as collagen and elastin break down.

Surely Enough
There are a lot of things you can do to reduce pore visibility. Deep cleaning and exfoliating will decrease the look of pores and a deep cleansing facial or light peel done by a professional can remove debris without skin damage. There are also dermatology laser and light devices available to restore elasticity to skin and minimize the appearance of pores.

How do you explain your pore health? Let us know!