A pore is basically the top portion of what is known as the pilo sebaceous unit. This unit contains structures such as the hair follicle, hair, sebaceous gland, arrector pili muscle, eccrine sweat gland and apocrine sweat gland. It is a fundamental part of your skin and its health, as it secretes sebum to lubricate and waterproof the skin and hair. Sebum is composed of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene and metabolites of fat cells. This wonderful concoction helps protect our skin from bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. It plays a huge part in preventing what is known in the industry as ‘epidermal water loss’, which creates dehydration and a subsequent deficiency in cell messaging and activity: in other words your skin can become dull, sallow, exhibit fine lines and become sensitized to its environment. So we should LOVE our pores, they are a gateway to keeping our skin healthy!
Of course most of us don’t love our pores and would like to eliminate them completely. This is not possible unless we are destructive to the skin and create scar tissue. There are different reasons for enlarged pores. In an oily skin, the unit beneath the pore can contain a larger sebaceous gland, with more secretions creating a slightly larger opening; this is great for the skin but not appreciated aesthetically. The biggest contribution to enlarged pores is ageing and basically we lose the integrity of the skin including the area around the pore. As we accumulate sun damage it breaks down collagen and elastin fibres, the skin starts to sag and thin, and loses support. The pore looks larger because the unit underneath remains the same but the skin sags around it.
To treat enlarged pores we need to increase the thickness and quality of skin. This is done by decreasing exposure to sun through anti oxidants and sunscreen, to reduce further breakdown of these collagen and elastin fibres. You also need to consider your diet, in terms of antioxidant intake sugar intake (carbohydrates) as this creates stiffening of these fibres.
If we introduce appropriate doses of vitamin A and C (at a minimum) to the skin topically, we can encourage the skin to increase collagen production and reduce its breakdown. Eventually the skin will thicken and ‘pad out’, reducing fine lines, scarring and pores. To further enhance the reduction of pores a series of vitamin A peels can make a significant change, as could collagen induction therapy (E-Dermstamp) or laser/IPL treatments. If you are considering treatments for pore size, you must be using home care with topical nutrients C and A, as this will always be in deficit if not applied to the skin. Basically anything that increases collagen deposition will help reduce pore size, but from my experience the largest contributing factor is regular use of relatively high dose vitamin A and antioxidants, complemented with in clinic treatment.
To book a consultation with one of our Medical Skin Therapists contact the clinic on 0800 COSMED