We’ve heard it all, from Instagramable pink clay masks, pore corset elixirs to “charcoal” peel-off masks – all which promises to make pores appear smaller. Truth be told, none of these have actually worked.
If like me your suffer from combination skin, you are bound to have what seems like a never-ending oily T-zone, clogged with black and whiteheads (comedones) and the dreaded open pores. There’s something very unappealing about open pores. It sort of reminds me of the surface of a strawberry.
For the past two decades I’ve been searching for a remedy that would once and for all sort out my open pores. With some trial and error I can confidently say that I have figured out a combination of things that will be able to help makes your pores appear less visible.
Here are the Top 8 Most Effective Methods to get Rid of Open Pores:
Both IPL and Laser help with skin pigmentation, sun damage, thread veins, collagen and minimises the appearance of pores. However, as a rule of thumb if you have issues closer to the surface of the skin (i.e.: hyper pigmentation, sun spots, rosacea then IPL would be more suited for you) if you have issues that has to do more with skin tightening, fine lines/ wrinkles, scars and even pores then Laser would be more suited for you. Both treatments help with pores, however, some clients have vouched that laser is more effective for pores as it targets “black” pigments (i.e.: blackheads). However, if you have whiteheads this may be less effective.
If the IPL option is above your budget, fret not. Skin Icing is considerably the Best Kept Secret in the Beauty World. Celebrities such as Kate Moss and celebrity facialist, Ole Henriksen are avid fans for this cost-effective treatment.
Here are some of the benefits of Skin Icing:
- Make pores appear less visible
- Increase blood circulation
- Reduce puffiness
- Banish eye bags
- Gives skin a healthy glow
- Prevents wrinkes
- Chill angry breakouts (relieve pain and decrease inflammation by constricting the blood vessels)
3. High frequency*
Out of all the treatments that I’ve done, in my opinion high-frequency is the most effective treatment to tighten your pores. Some may say otherwise, but I love how this treatment gives me an instant gratification when it comes to making my pores appear smaller. Of course this treatment would be most effective when combined with facial extraction.
Here are some of the benefits of High Frequency:
- Makes pores appear smaller
- Aids desquamation (exfoliates dead skin cells)
- Aids lymphatic drainage
- Improves blood circulation
- Reduce appearance of fine lines
- Eliminates acne causing bacterias (blue electrode)
- Improve skin care product absorption
4. Retinol/ Retinoids
If you have been following my blog, this will come as no surprise. I absolutely love my retinols! Not only does it boosts the production of collagen and elastins but it also promotes skin turnover (as this diminishes as we age), improve skin texture, make pores appear smaller and decrease fine lines. However, if you feel that the whole peeling/shedding scenario is a little too much for you, then you can opt to use cold-compressed/ C02 supercritical extracted Rose Hip Oil which is rich in Vitamin A and does the same thing as Retinol does but at a much gentler setting.
I would recommend starting with the lowest percentage of retinol 0.1% and then gradually working your way up (i.e.: 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, 2%) to avoid from over-sensitising your skin. The reason being if you’re new to retinol you may start peeling, or even cause your skin to flare up or look a little insane. It may also cause “tightness”/ dryness, therefore it is best to start with the lowest potency to build up your skin’s endurance.
It is advised to do this weekly at home. Of course for the stronger kind of chemical peel you would need it to be administered by an aesthetician/ dermatologist and would require some “downtime”. However, if you’re new to peels and you’re planning on DIY, then I would recommend that you practice with caution to avoid an possible chemical burns.
I recommend a chemical exfoliant either salicylic acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)), or glycolic/citric/lactic/mandelic acid (Alpha-Hydroxy acids (AHA’s)).
AHAs derives from sugar, milk, nuts and fruits. AHAs are great for skin that is sun damaged or dry as it can treat the dermis without drying out the skin. It also boosts collagen production and makes skin thicker and firmer. They are however, not the best for blemished skin.
I would say that BHA is more effective for blemished skin as they help to tend tend to penetrate deeper, unclog pores and has anti-inflamatory properties. BHAs derives from willow tree bark. How it works is it helps to shed the top layer of dead skin cells and remove excess oil, which prevents pores from clogging, and also decongest pores that are already clogged.
For beginners, I would recommend Ren’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which is gentle enough on the skin and still effective. If you are a seasoned chemical exfoliant user/ have tolerable skin then I would advise you to use The Ordinary’s AHA 30% +BHA 2% Peeling Solution.
Hydrafacial is an advanced microdermabrasion. It not only helps get rid of dead skin cells but also helps by “sucking out” the gunk that clogs your pores but also plumps up the skin with peptides and antioxidants. Once the skin is rehydrated with active ingredients pores would diminish in size and fine lines would appear less pronounced.
Here are some of the benefits of Hydrafacial:
- Lessen fine lines and wrinkles
- Increase elasticity & firmness
- Improve skin tone evenness & vibrancy
- Improve Skin texture
- Lightens hyper-pigmentation
- Decrease the appearance of pores
I absolutely love this treatment and it’s a definite game changer.
7. Salicylic Acid/ Willow Bark
I actually use Urban Decay’s B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Priming Spray (found in the bottom of my beauty stash) as an additional step in my skincare routine. I even use it when I’m not wearing makeup. This product contains vitamin B6 helps to normalise overactive proteins to help control oil production, whilst vitamin E provides antioxidants. The other significant ingredient, willow bark (rich in natural salicylic acid) aids cell turnover (rid of dead skin cells), and minimises blemishes/ breakouts.
After a couple of days, I noticed my pores becoming smaller, my skin felt smoother, and the roughness (usually from blackheads and whiteheads on my nose) has almost completely disappeared. Of course, I would need to combine this with the rest of my routine to see a significant difference.
8. Rehydrate with a Sheet Mask
Normally your pores will become more evident when your skin is dehydrated, therefore it’s always important to replenish your skin. Doing a facial mask at least once a week is always a good idea. That way, you are treating your skin to much needed hydration.
Notice how refined your pores look post sheet mask? That is because your skin has become hydrated from the mask. Also, make sure to not leave a sheet mask on for longer than the duration as indicated as the mask will start absorbing moisture from your skin. In turn, skin would end up being more dehydrated that it was pre-sheet mask.