Pore minimizing myths Episode 12

Do pore minimizing products really work? What causes enlarged pores in the first place? Find out all this and more in this week’s episode.

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I opened the show with a discussion of “50 Things We Know Now That We Didn’t Know This Time Last Year” which includes Super-Lice! Then we answered an audio question from Julie, a listener who asked “What do I use to clear my pores?”

At first glance, you may think that pore control products offer to make your pores smaller, but if you read the label carefully you’ll see that in most cases they just claim to reduce the appearance of large pores. That may sound like a subtle distinction but it’s really not. There’s not much you can do to physically make your pores smaller but you can avoid making them look larger. Instead of looking for “shrinking” products, try avoiding these 5 factors that can make pores look plump:

5 Factors that make pores appear larger

1. Skin debris…
…like dead skin cells can collect in pores making them appear bigger. Good facial cleansing is key to staying debris-free.

2. Excessive oiliness…
…can keep pores filled with a layer of oil that accentuates their appearance. Consider using oil-absorbing makeup or more frequent cleansing or blotting.

3. Bacterial growth…
…contribute to blackheads and make pores appear freakishly huge. Exfolliation can help.

4. Sun exposure…
…can thicken the skin cells around the edge of pores making them appear larger. Using a sunscreen or limiting your sun exposure is a good idea.

5. Genetics…
…determines your skin type and if you`re unlucky enough to be born with oily, thicker skin your pores will probably be more noticeable. Changing your parents could help this but is probably not a very practical solution.

How do pore minimizing products work?

This is a case where we’d recommend looking at reputable brands who have the budget to formulate and test their products appropriately. Smaller brands either don’t do enough R&D or they rely on stock formulas from contract manufactures that also aren’t extensively tested for efficacy.

We reviewed the claims, ingredients, and cost of 5 different products. The first two are OTC drugs that use acne active ingredients to keep pores clear. These will work and are not that expensive.  One product looks good but even though it claims to contain sal acid and other “actives” it is NOT a drug product and doesn’t appear to contain a functional level of anything that will help. It is also more expensive. The fourth product product uses the same “natural extract” approach and it is even MORE expensive. And the fifth product The last product is also expensive but uses a different approach. Read the claims carefully and you’ll see that all it says it does is “hide” pores. It does that with titanium dioxide and pigments. This is a valid approach if you don’t mind wearing foundation but there’s NO need to spend this much money to get this benefit.

The bottom line to the consumers is that nothing REALLY makes pores physically smaller. You can keep them clean with an acne type product or you can conceal them with a foundation type product but don’t bet tricked into spending a ton of money on lentil or bamboo extract.

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Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:

  • Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
  • The straight scoop of which beauty myths are true and which are just urban legends.
  • Which ingredients are really scary and which ones are just scaremongering by the media to incite an irrational fear of chemicals.
  • How to tell the difference between the products that are really green and the ones that are just trying to get more of your hard earned money by labeling them “natural” or “organic.

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