Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert) on 13th Oct 2020

Enlarged pores and blackheads - How to minimize them? 

Enlarged pores and blackheads

Let's pause to think about pores! 

The small openings in the skin which release oils and sweat are known as pores. Pores are of two types, one which releases natural oils, i.e., sebum to provide moisture to our bodies, and the other one releases sweat. Some people have small pores, and some have more noticeable pores. It all depends on your skin type.

Pores are necessary to balance healthy skin, but if you have large pores and you want to get rid of them, then sorry to break it to you, but it is not possible, but the good news here is you can minimize their appearance by using and keeping some simple things in mind.

What are enlarged pores?

Enlarged pores are elevations or lowering into the skin's surface that comprises one or more openings to the ducts that carry sweat and oil from eccrine glands and sebaceous glands, respectively.

Enlarged pores can be seen within all age groups and among different ethnicities. Certain ethnic groups, like African and Indians, tend to have enlarged pores. 

What are enlarged pores?

What are the causes of enlarged pores? 

1. Age: 

The skin loses its collagen and elasticity as you grow older, causing the skin to become saggy, stretched out, and making the pores appear larger. The thickness of the skin also increases as you age, causing minuscule skin cells to assemble around the pores, making it appear bigger.  

2. Sun damage:

As described in the previous point, skin thickness makes pores appear larger. Constant sun exposure can result in skin thickness that results in bigger pores. More time in the sun can also pull out water, collagen, and elastin from your skin that shrinks the tissue under your skin.  

3. Blackheads: 

Blackheads occur when sebum makes the pores to clog up. The trapped oil inside the pores oxidizes and leaves black spots on the skin's surface, mostly on the nose. Blackheads work by expanding the pores' area, making it look larger and more significant by drawing attention to a particular site. 

4. Genetics: 

The determining factor in your pore size is majorly dependent on the genetics. There are high possibilities that people with large pores have family members who also have enlarged pores. 

5. Clogged pores: 

Excess amount of dust, oil, and dead skin cells collect around your pores is also one of the main reasons for larger pores. Washing and exfoliating your face can help you minimize the appearance of pores. 

What are Blackheads?

The small bumps that appear on the skin due to clogged hair follicles are known as blackheads. These bumps are named blackheads because of the fact they look black and dark on the surface. Blackheads are a standard form of acne that typically form on the face but can appear all over the other body parts like the neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and back.

We know how satisfying it is to pull out blackheads or whiteheads from the skin or even popping out a pimple, but it can lead to scarring and a lot of damage to the skin. 

Did You Know:

The medical term for a blackhead is known as "OPEN COMEDO." 

What are the causes of blackheads?

1. Too much body oil:

When your body starts producing too much oil, it can break down the skin and cause acne or blackheads. Body parts like arms, face, back, chest, and shoulders tend to be more oily than the rest of the body and are more prone to acne and blackheads. 

2. Bacteria on the skin:

The build-up of bacteria called propionibacterium acnes, which are relatively slow-growing, can contribute to the inflammation by multiplying with each other, resulting in acne or blackheads. 

3. Hair follicles: 

Sometimes dead skin cells do not shed regularly, creating irritation in the hair follicle, forming blackheads.

4. Hormonal changes:

Everyone goes through hormonal changes all their lives. Still, the hormonal changes lead to an increase in the oil production that happens around the teenager, along with menstruation or while taking birth control pills.  

5. Your diet: 

There is no strong backup for this, but people believe that eating and drinking dairy products or foods that increase blood sugar levels, like carbohydrates, can be a significant reason for triggering acne. 

How to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and blackheads:

1. It is beneficial to use a face wash twice a day: 

Don't you think it would be awesome to remove all the unwanted debris like dirt, oil, and the dust layer from your face and not just once but twice a day?

It should be a crucial part of your routine to wash your face both morning and evening. Our skin cells pile up with many pollutants, bacteria, and dirt throughout the day that clogs the pores.

Cleaning your face twice will ensure removing all these impurities, leaving your skin feeling fresh and allowing your pores to breathe.  

2. Choose your cleansers wisely: 

People with enlarged pores and acne have more sensitive skin, and using oil-free and gentle cleansers can minimize the appearance of large pores. It would help if you had cleaning agents that can remove all the dirt and impurities without stripping away the moisture from your skin.

If you have a combination of large pores and oily skin, consider gel-based cleansers as your best friends, and if you are more on the normal to dry skin side, you can benefit by using creamy cleansers. Avoid cleaners containing scrubbing agents and soap. 

3. Exfoliation: 

As recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliating once or twice a week can promote healthier skin. It helps remove dead skin, excess flakes, and dirt that clog the pores without stripping the skin.

If you are currently dealing with acne, then exfoliation is a big no-no as scrubbing particles can rub against your acne, making it even worse. Exfoliants can be classified as:

Physical exfoliants: These are face scrubs that are formulated with tiny scrubbing particles. Physical exfoliators contain ingredients like salt, sugar, coffee, and nuts.

Chemical exfoliants: These contain AHAs and BHAs. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are made from natural ingredients like lactic acid from milk, citric acid from citrus, glycolic acid from sugar cane, malic acid from apples, and tartaric acid grapes. At the same time, Beta Hydroxy Acids are salicylic acid, ideal for oily skin type. 

4. Clay mask is the way to go: 

Using clay masks can be an excellent option for people with large pores as it works by reaching deep inside the skin, pulling out all the dirt, oil, and dead skin from the pores, which helps make them look smaller.

Clay masks can be used once or twice per week. Avoid using it on the same day when you exfoliate as it will be tough on your skin to take all of it at once and can cause irritation. 

Did You Know:

Blackheads will only appear at the places where you have hair follicles. Areas like the palms and soles of your feet that do not contain hair follicles can not have blackheads.  

5. Moisturizer creates a balance: 

Doesn't matter what skin type you are, we can't stress enough as to how important it is to moisturize your face whether you belong to an oily skin family or dry skin.

People with oily skin make the mistake of thinking that they don't need a moisturizer because they have so much oil on their faces, but that's just the opposite.

Oily skin lacks moisture and to make up for this, your skin continually tries so hard to balance out the moisture by creating excess sebum, which results in what you call "oily skin." Using a light water-based moisturizer will help the natural sebum penetrate deeper into your skin layers. 

6. Never skip on sunscreen: 

You must never skip sunscreen whether you are inside or outside your house, whether you have oily, dry, normal, or combination skin, sunscreen is a must for everyone.

Constant sun exposure can increase the risk of so many skin diseases, leading to damaging your skin, causing wrinkles, pigmentation, and dry skin, making your pores look more prominent.

Sunscreen should be used/applied 15 minutes before you step out in the sun and should contain an SPF of at least 30. There are many moisturizers and cosmetic products that contain SPF in them so that you don't have to put an extra product on your face. 

7. Don't be too lazy to remove your makeup before going to bed:

It is a disaster to fall asleep with your makeup on. Cosmetics can mix up with all the dirt, oil, and bacterias that your skin has attracted throughout the day & clog up your pores, which can make them appear more prominent and more extensive the next day.

We know it's a hell lot of work to come home after a long day at the office and then remove all the gunk from your face, but while it may seem like a lot, it is also essential to get rid of it healthy skin. 

8. A chemical peel could work: 

The main benefit of using a chemical peel is related to anti-aging properties to minimize the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. These peels are formed by AHAs and BHAs, which are considered helpful for exfoliating the skin. While it is not the most popular treatment for blackheads, it can remove the dead skin cells and shrink enlarged pores. 

9. Stay hydrated, ALWAYS! : 

You must have heard this at least a thousand times, but this works. Water is a good-old method to keep your skin healthy. Water is irreplaceable.

You can get several advantages out of it like, it deeply hydrates the skin, improves overall complexion, and helps remove impurities from the pores.

You should determine to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. You can even add lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves to add more taste to it. 

10. See if you need help from your dermatologist: 

This can take up to 6 to 12 weeks to notice any significant changes from your regimen in treating blackheads or pores. You may want to book an appointment to avoid further damage to the skin and take help from your dermatologist if you continue to see the new formation of blackheads.

They may suggest you go through a professional tool to extract the blackheads or a prescription of retinoids to avoid blackheads' future appearance.

Did You Know:

On average, an adult has more than 5 million hair on their bodies and as many pores. 

Leaving You With A Tip!  

In case you are making any changes in your skincare routine, diet, or lifestyle, you may want to research thoroughly about what you should and shouldn't use to keep your skin in a healthier state.

Always take advice from your skincare specialist to figure out the right kind of treatment. In severe cases, specific procedures like laser treatments and microneedling may be suggested for enlarged pores and blackheads.