Acne and working out do not have to be synonymous. Check out this detailed post from the Drug Store Princess on how to keep your pores on point.
Pores - everybody has them. And more often than not, we’re fighting with them… trying to make them appear smaller, tighter, cleaner, or just trying to get them to disappear! Well there are a lot of myths surrounding your skin, and I’m here to try to get you to see through some of them! I’ll attempt to explain everything in simple language (no scientific terms) so that everyone can easily understand and uncover the truth.
So what are pores? They are the small openings in your skin, where oil and sweat reach the surface, from where they are produced in the glands below. Sounds icky, but really it’s not - skin creates it’s own natural oil, called sebum, which is essential for healthy, radiant skin! Yes believe it or not, we do need these oils, and sweat, so it’s not good to try and eradicate oil completely from your face!
Pores are all over your skin, not just your face, but people mostly complain from “enlarged pores” on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. Pores can also be called “oil pores”, or hair follicles. Yes, we also have hair ALL OVER OUR BODIES… gasp… because we’re mammals. It’s natural. A hair follicle is the root of the hair, where it grows from underneath the surface of your skin. Hair follicles allow the oil to reach the surface of our skin, making it supple and soft.
Issues with Pores:
Often, pores can become blocked, with an excess of sebum, dead skin, or dirt and makeup. These will darken the surface of the pores, giving us those lovely things we call blackheads. It is much easier to prevent blackheads than it is to treat them! Keeping a regular skincare routine will really help keep the surface of your skin clear.
People often complain from enlarged pores, that seem to be visible even through makeup! There are lots of reasons for this, but the most common is that your skin is producing an excess of oil. When pores are constantly filled with sebum or dirt, they can stretch out slightly. As long as you keep them clear and help balance out your skin, with time they will go back to normal. HOWEVER you cannot reduce the natural size of your pores.
Pores are also the root of acne - whiteheads and those little stubborn red bumps. In acne prone skin, when the hair follicle becomes blocked, acne bacteria begins to thrive, because oxygen cannot get into the pore. The bacteria will cause swelling and inflammation - eventually the wall of the follicle will rupture, and white blood cells will naturally rush to the bacteria and attempt to heal the follicle. This is what creates the redness and pus. Gross, I know.
Products to Use and Practices to Avoid:
+ Washing your face is a necessity if you want to keep your pores and skin clear and fresh. Using a gentle cleanser twice a day (in the morning after you wake up, and before you go to bed) is ideal. It’s important to remove the day’s dirt, makeup and sweat, and to get rid of the excess oil on your face. Use warm water and gently massage the cleanser onto your skin, rinsing thoroughly.
- DO NOT over-wash your face! When you see a pimple, it might seem like second nature to try and scrub it away. But if you wash your face too often you’ll be stripping your skin of those essential oils, which will make your skin feel like it needs to produce MORE.
+ Exfoliating is also an important practice, but you definitely don’t want to over scrub your skin, either. Use a gentle face scrub once every other day to remove dead skin from your face, preventing blocked pores.
- DO NOT use pore strips too often! Although they can be quite effective at getting rid of current blackheads, if you use them too often they could actually be inviting more blackheads to form! When you rip the blockage out of the follicle, you are leaving the pores open without any treatment, allowing more debris to block the very pore you just cleaned. Once in a while is fine.
+ Toner is equally important for acne-prone skin. Toners balance out the pH level of your skin and get down into your pores to prevent blockages. Using an alcohol free toner after you cleanse your face will help your skin from producing an excess of oil, or from over drying.
- DO NOT pick your face! Blackheads, whiteheads, or anything, keep your hands away! You’ll only rupture the follicle more, creating more redness, and you will also be spreading the bacteria around - it’s like asking for more pimples.
+ Masks are great tools for keeping your skin happy and clear. Clay masks will dry up oil and tighten the surface of the skin. Using ones infused with sulfur will help fight the acne bacteria!
- DO NOT believe everything that skincare companies tell you! You can’t change the shape or size of your pores, and no scrub or cleanser alone will get rid of blackheads instantly. Getting clear skin is a long, steady process of keeping with a regular routine. Once you get a routine in place, and keep to it, you’ll start seeing quite a difference! Makeup companies usually say if they’re “non-comedogenic” (don’t block pores) or not, but since the term is not regulated by the FDA, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. All makeup will clog pores, so it’s best to remove your makeup as soon as you can!