How to Open Your Pores

By Marc Peterson

How to Open Your Pores

How to Open Your Pores

Dealing with blackheads and whiteheads is frustrating. Most of us would do anything to figure out a way to open those pores, dig out the gunk that’s accumulated inside, and rid our skin of its acne woes forever. Unfortunately, skin care isn’t that simple.

Unsure of how to keep your pores clean to keep your skin clear? BioClarity has the answer.

Find out how

While many believe it’s important to use steam or hot showers to open up their pores, this widespread practice is based more in fiction than fact. If you’ve researched how to open your pores, you’ve likely discovered that your pores don’t open and close. However, this belief continues to permeate the skin care community. Why? Pervasive myths, including the following:

  • - Myth #1: Steam facials open pores
  • - Myth #2: Cold water closes open pores
  • - Myth #3: You can shrink your pores

Unfortunately, none of the above are true. Understanding why is as simple as defining a pore.

A pore is simply an opening in the skin, and essentially acts as a funnel. The pores on your face serve as a path for the body to push out excess oil and dead skin cells—they don’t have muscles, therefore, they can’t open or close.

Why are the pores on my face more noticeable than the rest of my body?

You have pores covering the surface of your body, but the ones on your face are considered the troublemakers.

Your facial pores tend to be larger than the pores found elsewhere on your body, and these pores are connected to sebaceous glands, which are responsible for the body’s production of sebum.

Sebum is a waxy substance that keeps your skin soft and supple. When the sebaceous glands overproduce this oily wax (due to hormonal fluctuations or just plain old genetics), the pore becomes clogged—this can stretch out your pores, making them appear larger.

Does everyone have different-sized pores?

While pores on your face can’t shrink or expand, you’ve likely noticed your pores look smaller or larger in comparison to your friends.

This difference is largely a result of genetics. Pore size is dependent on hereditary factors; if your parents or grandparents have large pores and oily skin, it’s likely that you do as well.

However, being genetically predisposed to larger, more noticeable pores doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to keep them clear.

Will my pores get bigger as I age?

The firmer your skin is, the less visible your pores will be. Unfortunately, time doesn’t treat our pores well, and the loss of firmness that occurs over the years can cause the appearance of large pores.

While they won’t technically widen, your pores do tend to look bigger as you age. This is due to the loss of collagen, which is responsible for keeping your skin tight. As you age, your body’s storage of collagen and elastin fibers start breaking down.

Gravity also plays a role, pulling the skin in a downward motion. As this continues, your pores begin to stretch, distending and taking on a more oval shape.

So there’s no way to make my pores smaller?

You can’t physically reduce the actual size of your pores. However, that’s not to say you can’t make your pores look smaller.

Reducing the appearance of your pores is accomplished through a regular skin care regimen that incorporates daily cleansing and steaming facials—and doesn’t see you picking at your pores.

Want to find out the best way to treat your skin type? Figure out what type of skin you have by taking our personalized skincare quiz below.

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How do I clean my pores?

  • - Cleanse your face twice a day

clear clogged pores

Thoroughly cleansing your pores can make them look smaller. Use a gentle daily cleanser that contains naturally derived ingredients and exfoliates. Avoid harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and AHAs, as these are apt to irritate sensitive and dry skin. Instead, look for products that contain salicylic acid, a natural exfoliator that can help clear your skin of debris, dead skin cells, and sebum.

  • - Steaming your pores

While we’ve confirmed that a steaming facial doesn’t help open pores, it does play an important role in clearing out clogged pores. Steaming the skin can help break up the debris that collects in your pores, which makes it easier to clear your skin of dead skin cells and bacteria. Some experts also contend that facial steaming induces sweating, which benefits your skin health by flushing out the pores even further.

However, those with skin conditions like rosacea should be careful with their steaming practices. After exposing your skin to heat repeatedly, your blood vessels may become dilated. This can increase the severity of rosacea symptoms, causing inflammation and red flushing. It’s also not a good idea if you’re struggling with dry skin or conditions like eczema, as this heat can strip your skin of the oils it needs.

  • - Don't pick at your pores

You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again: Whatever you do, do not pick at your face in an effort to unclog pores. Using your fingernails or another sharp object to poke and prod at your face can cause trauma to your skin, which may cause your pore to widen.

  • - Don't rely on pore strips

pore stripsThere are plenty of brands touting pore-clearing strips. These pieces of sticky tape are applied directly to the skin, then ripped cleanly away, pulling out the contents of your pores along with them—at least, that’s what’s promised.

While you may be able to see blackhead remnants stuck to the strip post-extraction, these strips are only removing the top layer of the gunk in your pores. The rest then works its way to the surface of the follicle, and once it oxidizes, you’re right back where you started. Repeated use of these pore strips can actually rob your face of its natural oils, resulting in excessive dryness.


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You can’t open and close your pores, and unfortunately you can’t shrink them down. There is good news, however—with the right skin care regimen, you can keep your pores from clogging and stretching. Invest in a great cleanser, be gentle with your delicate skin, and exfoliate to leave your pores looking their best.