Plus, the number one thing you should avoid if you want tighter-looking pores. All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Join the editors of Allure as we ask the tough questions at the intersection of science and beauty, and get straight answers from dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, and at least one expert on climate change (we said the questions were tough). It’s all going down on The Science of Beauty , a new podcast hosted by editor in chief Michelle Lee and executive beauty director Jenny Bailly. ( Available on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or wherever you listen to podcasts.) This episode made possible by Olay. But because we can only get so nerdy over the airwaves, here we take the conversation one step further by breaking down our findings and adding more crucial facts — so you too can become an expert. Today, we’re setting the record straight about pores.
If you’ve ever picked up a magnifying mirror, chances are you’ve spent time examining what look like craters scattered across your skin. No, you can’t make them disappear — nor would you want to. Those craters are actually tiny openings known as pores — and if you didn’t have them, you’d be dead.
But our collective fixation with pores goes much further than simply their size. Just take a look at the videos posted by dermatologist Sandra Lee (also known as Dr. Pimple Popper ), which have become so popular, they spawned a reality TV show.
Lee often records herself tackling all kinds of pore woes, from extracting blackheads the size of a pebble to popping ever-growing pustules — and people go crazy for it. “For some reason, for many people, [my videos] actually relax them,” she says during the third episode of The Science of Beauty . “A lot of people watch them as bedtime stories.“
Even if you don’t have a blackhead that could land you a starring role on Lee’s TLC show, most of us know what it’s like when our pores turn on us, resulting in a pimple.
So, in this episode of The Science of Beauty , co-hosts Michelle Lee and Jenny Bailly take a deep dive into the world of pores. Spoiler alert: Nothing will change the fact that you can see your pores, but there are more ways than one to keep them looking (and acting!) happy and healthy.
What are pores?
In order to understand how to treat pores and the skin issues that come with them, it’s important to know what they are and how they work. But first, let’s get one thing straight: pores are not the enemy. In fact, pores play a vital part in our body’s natural processes.
To put it simply, pores are a pouching of skin. Some of these tiny openings contain oil glands which secrete oil to keep the skin from drying out. Others secrete sweat, which helps to regulate the body’s temperature. It’s for that reason that if you didn’t have pores, “you would be dead,” says dermatologist Shereene Idriss during our episode. “You would overheat, go nuts, and basically pass out.”
What determines pore size?
As with many other skin characteristics, genetics play a role in pore size. However, the greatest determining factor of how your pores will look in your 50s is how much sun you’ve gotten in your youth. That’s because years of sun exposure can permanently dilate the pores. The more sun exposure you get, the more the collagen and elastin supporting each pore […]