The Pore Issue – Everything Essential At a Glance

Flawless, glass-like skin would be a lot easier to achieve if it weren’t for issues with our pores. When they are enlarged, skin looks bumpy. When they get clogged with dirt, blackheads appear. When infected with bacteria, acne happens. I could go on, but let’s skip the groaning and get to the nitty-gritty helpful stuff that will make you feel ready to tackle one of skincare’s biggest issues.

What are pores, really?

Pores are openings in your skin for hair follicles. Each pore contains a hair follicle along with a sebaceous gland, which produces oil that serves as natural protection for your skin. According to research conducted by L'Oreal, you have approx. 20,000 pores on your face, and 5 million pores/hair follicles over your entire body. And if you’re about to ask me what’s with all this hair all over our bodies, that’s a question for evolutionary biologists, and not this gal, k? 

Why are they such an issue?

As with any opening, stuff can get in. And when that happens to your pores, what you get is less than pretty. Blackheads, acne, and otherwise clogged pores can result in an overall look that is far from the pore-less finish that most of us are trying to achieve.

What causes these common pore problems to occur?

When pores get clogged with dirt and debris, they are more noticeable on your face. Then there are factors that enlarge pores, which include age—our skin loses its firmness as we age, which makes the pores appear more noticeable. As well as sun damage because it contributes to aging skin issues, which further exacerbates the appearance of enlarged pores.

Is there anything that can be done to reduce pore size?

You can clear out clogged pores and restore them to their original size, and then after that, you can diminish their appearance and troubleshoot, but there’s no such thing as reducing pore size entirely because, well, that’s how our bodies are.

Beauty tips that will get those pores less noticeable? Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. A deeeeep, pore-cleansing, cleanse. Warm water or a steam bath will help to open your pores up, so do that first before using whatever product you choose.

As part of your regular weekly skincare routine, incorporate a charcoal mask or a clay mask, as both have impurity-drawing ingredients that will pull the gunk out, leaving your pores super free and clear. Pore strips for your nose and forehead do the same, like this one from Tony Moly, lifting away impurities quickly. Another step you’ll want to add twice weekly to your routine is exfoliation, a handy move in your arsenal to keep your pores clear of gunk.

On a daily basis, do the following for your best chance at unclogged pores that are less noticeable than before.

  • Stay clear of the sun. Always wear SPF when going out, or even if you’re inside, but are around lots of windows.
  • Stay hydrated. This will plump out skin, reducing pore size.
  • Healthy foods in = healthy skin. Sebum output is hormone regulated. And an unhealthy diet can cause a hormone imbalance. It’s all connected.
  • Do the double cleanse every day.
  • Cleanse with effective ingredients. Use cleansers with salicylic, glycolic, tartaric, citric, malic, and/or lactic acid. These ingredients are well-known to help with flushing out impurities from pores.
  • Moisturize with skin-plumping ingredients.

What are the best makeup products for blurring out pores?

If you’ve got the skincare portion down pat, the next move toward skin that has a glass-like finish is in choosing the right beauty products to go in your makeup kit. Using a pore-diminishing primer before your foundation can do wonders in giving your skin a smooth surface. Laneige has a built-in pore-minimizing BB cushion that combines both color correction with pore control. Other skincare brands, such as Etude House, have created SPF products that not only serve as a skin protector but also refines skin texture and minimize pores.

There’s help out there, ladies! If writing and researching this article has done anything, it’s given me a new appreciation for all the ways that cosmetics companies are stepping up to meet the need. And that gets a definite two-thumbs-up from me.


—Eun-Ha Park


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