Is your skin more perforated than perfect? Lucy Slight looks at options for shrinking those saucers down to size
Pores: we don’t often love ‘em. In fact, many of us would rather they disappear completely. But did you know that pores are fundamental to skin health? A pore is basically the top portion of the skin’s pilosebaceous unit, a gland which secretes sebum to lubricate and waterproof the skin and hair, and protect it from bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants.
This sebum plays a huge part in preventing what is known as ‘epidermal water loss,’ says Lauren Harding, skin specialist at The Face Place. “[Without sebum production] skin can become dull, sallow, exhibit fine lines and become sensitised to its environment. We should love our pores, they are the gateway to keeping our skin healthy.”
That’s all well and good, but when you’re faced with scores of veritable sinkholes, it can be hard to find the will to show the suckers any mercy. Enlarged pores can be tough to treat and often can’t be eliminated completely. However, with a consistent skincare regimen of at-home products and professional treatments, you can achieve the best results for your skin.
The biggest contributor to enlarged pores is ageing; when the area around the pore loses its integrity, the pore looks larger because the skin around it begins to sag. “To treat enlarged pores we need to increase the thickness and quality of skin. This is done by decreasing sun exposure, applying antioxidants and sunscreen, increasing the level of antioxidants in our diet and decreasing sugar intake,” says Lauren.
People with oily skin tend to have larger pores, too. If your oil glands are producing too much oil, the pores can become congested, causing them to enlarge. Using products that help to balance the skin and regulate sebum production will be beneficial.
For maximum pore-minimising ammunition, combine daily skincare with these professional treatment options:
Collagen induction therapy
Also known as micro-needling or dermal needling, this treatment stimulates the body’s own natural collagen repair and growth processes to significantly improve skin tone, texture and eliminate impurities. A sterile roller, with hundreds of one millimetre micro-needles, makes tiny pin pricks when passed over the skin. This causes skin cells to produce new growth factors – collagen and elastin – which in turn make skin smoother, firmer and more radiant.
Cost: About Face offers a course of six weekly treatments for $1800, with a $55 redeemable consultation required prior to treatment.
Laser / IPL treatments
“Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) stimulates collagen production, which helps to combat the sagging that is an inevitable part of ageing,” says Louise Highet, registered appearance medicine nurse at the Skin Institute. “When it comes to common concerns about facial skin – from unwanted lines and wrinkles to pores and freckles, IPL treatment is a safe and effective way to address these issues.”
Cost: The Skin Institute offers a full face package of three IPL treatments for $1200, with individual treatments priced from $150 for small areas. A free 30-minute consultation is required first to identify skin concerns.
A peel using a blend of AHAs and BHAs can reduce shadowing and swelling of the pores through salicylic acid exfoliation. An Asap Reveal Peel uses a blend of 35 percent AHA/BHA, with salicylic acid (BHA) working to penetrate sebum-filled follicles to dissolve blockages and improve skin tone and texture. Glycolic Acid (AHA) helps to stimulate collagen production and promote cell renewal. As visible peeling can occur after treatment, a Reveal Peel is not recommended within 7-10 days of an event.
Cost: Exquisite Laser Clinic in Parnell, Auckland, offers the Asap Reveal Peel for $150 per treatment.
Mask: Swisse Manuka Honey Face Mask, $19.99; Minimising: Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, $182; Oil absorbing: La Mer The Oil Absorbing Lotion, $160; Tonic: Sukin Oil Balancing Clarifying Facial Tonic, $13.99.
Smoothing: Bobbi Brown Skin Smoothing Pore Perfector, $65; Perfecting: Priori Advanced AHA Perfection Facial Gel, $89; Vitamin A: Environ B-Active Sebugel A, $45.80; Mattifying: Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue, $49; Blurring: Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer, $58