Purge your pores

Seema Nanda offers a list of the best pore-minimising treatments

Clay masks can help keep pores clearer.

How I wish I could make my pores smaller.” Pores are a vital part of the skin and getting rid of them completely is impossible. When pores are tighter, light reflects better. You get an overall appearance of vitality, youthfulness and health. Genetics determine pore size, so do skin type and age. Thanks to age and a lot of sun exposure, one loses the collagen and elastin that support the pores. Pores begin to stretch and sag around the edges, which can make them look bigger. If your skin is oily, and that oil gets trapped inside the pores, it oxidises and turns dark. While we can’t shrink our pores permanently, the right use of products and treatments can assist in keeping pores less noticeable:

Laser treatments

Laser treatments reduce the size of pores in a more invasive way than topical treatments. Lasers like Fraxel and Halo are more aggressive than topical treatments. Lasers create little microchannels of damage in the skin, in turn, stimulating a healing process that creates more collagen. Collagen is a protein in the skin that gives it its structure. Boosting its production causes pores to close up. Lasers cause the epidermis to shed — they will smooth the skin around the pore, leading it to look smoother and less noticeable.

Microneedling

A time-tested procedure, microneedling is used to rejuvenate skin and treat scarring. During the procedure, a pen-like device with 25 to 30 tiny needles on its head is carried across the skin. Each needle is extremely fine and creates micro-punctures that trigger the skin’s wound-healing response, stimulating collagen production. Over a roughly six-week period following the procedure, the skin starts looking smoother and more radiant. Injected antioxidants protect the skin, fruit acids encourage cell turnover, and diluted hyaluronic acid moisturises and plumps. Added benefits of microneedling are brightening and tightening the skin, reducing fine lines, and improving acne scars. It takes three months to get glowing skin and tighter pores through this process.

Chemical peels

Ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid in chemical peels dissolve and remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil from pores. They help stimulate collagen production which avoids sagging of pores. Deeper peels such as TCA peels can actually peel off surface layers of skin, so the new skin heals in more smoothly. Gentle peels can be done as a part of facial frequently as once a month, whereas stronger peels can be done quarterly and yearly under expert supervision.

Quick tips

• Exfoliate regularly with mild exfoliants.

• Use a water-based foaming cleanser.

• Try a low-level salicylic moisturiser.

• Clay masks can help keep pores clearer.

• Skip fabric softener on sheets and see if you notice an improvement.

• Use a primer beneath your foundation. Many primers use silicones such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone to fill in pores and make the skin smoother.

• Look for ingredients in skincare: caffeine (which can constrict the skin and make pores look tighter), retinoid (which strengthen the skin that supports pores by boosting collagen production) and niacinamide (which improves elasticity and balances oils).

(The author is cosmetologist & founder, Estetico - The Facial Bar)

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