Why Cleansing Alone Won’t Fix Enlarged Pores

Toners, exfoliants, clay masks, peel-off strips. All these products ignore one key reason for enlarged pores: lack of moisture.

Posted on 10/20/2019 4:50:22 AM

If you’d like to diminish the appearance of your pores, cosmetic companies offer a large menu of products.

You can wash your face with deep-cleansing foams, gels, and soap bars. You can exfoliate with abrasive creams, sponges, brushes, and even electrical devices. You can apply astringent toners that shrink the pores.

You can use clay-based masks which, as they dry to a brittle crust on your face, remove and absorb excessive oil. You can peel sheet masks and nose strips off your skin to manually extract impurities from your pores.

When it comes to minimizing the pores, we have a wide range of choices. But you see a theme here: pore-focused products all rely on some form of cleaning and/or shrinking. While this approach certainly helps, it is not the whole story.

Pore size and appearance depend on another factor that none of those clay masks, pore strips, cleansers and toners address: moisture.

That’s it. Dry skin can be a contributing factor to apparently enlarged pores and blackheads.

Because of cosmetics companies’ marketing, we have learned to associate enlarged pores with skin conditions typical of our teenage years and early 20s: acne and oily skin. The same products that target those issues are marketed for anything having to do with our pores.

But seemingly enlarged pores do not always correlate with oily skin and acne. Older women may have them, even if they haven’t experienced acne in years.

You may well have both dry skin and enlarged pores. In fact, dry skin is precisely one of the factors that contribute to this issue.

Think about it: as dry or aging skin loses its thickness and elasticity, it pulls away from the pore openings, making them that much more visible.

On the contrary, supple skin ‘cushions’ the pores better, making them appear smaller and tighter. It makes sense, right?

The issue with all those deep-cleansing, oil-reducing, impurities-extracting products is that they can be very drying. They may also exacerbate other issues typical of dryer skin, such as redness and visible capillaries around the nostrils.

It is debatable whether you are doing yourself a service with peel-off nose strips if you have dry skin and redness. Harsher products that forcefully pull on the skin are not a good idea particularly if you experience burst capillaries.

If you are relatively close to your teenage years and dealing with excessive oiliness and acne, those pore cleansing products are for you. But if you are noticing enlarged pores and your skin is dry and irritated, rather than oily, you may need a different strategy.

And that strategy is moisture, moisture, moisture.

You can try going easy on all the cleaning products: a daily cleanser plus exfoliating once a week is enough for most people. 

Instead, focus on giving your skin all the moisture it needs – especially now, as colder weather and hot showers dry it out even more. Apply generous amounts of moisturizer twice a day. If you feel like having a spa moment and doing a face mask, you can choose a moisturizing one, not a clay-based one.

You can check out our recent post on the healthiest oils for your skin – the ‘superfoods’ which nourish and soften it. 

As you restore the skin’s suppleness, pores will appear smaller, too.

Finally, remember that pores are natural. Nobody appears in real life like a plastic Barbie doll. We are human beings and our skin has texture.

While pores won’t disappear, you can minimize them – just remember that moisturizing is at least as important as cleansing.

Want skincare suited to your particular needs? Build your routine with products curated for you by Pick N Dazzle’s experts.

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