Published: Thursday March 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 2:07:48 PM

Are pore minimisers a must-have or a marketing gimmick?

IF someone tells you, “Your face reminds me of the moon,” it could be a gratifying compliment ... But not if it’s a comparison between the large gaping craters on your visage and those on the moon!

Unfortunately, for those of us afflicted with large facial pores, this can be a very real, and often distressing, concern.

Of course, the beauty industry is nothing if not proactive, and pore minimisers are already a staple in many a skincare brand’s tool kit.

The question is, do these products, which promise everything from deep cleansing your pores to shrinking them, actually work?

The key to determining how and if a pore minimising product works is to understand what causes enlarged pores in the first place.

Pores are actually tiny openings in your skin that allow your skin to “breathe” and provide the passage for the oil glands beneath to lubricate the skin’s surface. Enlarged pores, which are often particularly common on the nose and upper cheek areas, can be caused by several factors.

Some of these are beyond your control. Puberty, for instance, can cause pores to enlarge because an increased amount of oil (sebum) being generated by the skin. And genetics can play an important role in determining the size of your pores, your predisposition to enlarged pores and your skin’s natural oil production.

Facial pores, however, can also appear larger when they are clogged by dirt, dead skin, make-up residue and bacteria. Clogged pores become irritated and swell, making them appear larger and more prominent. Pores also naturally enlarge as we age.

Some beauty experts say that any product that claims to minimise, shrink or close up pores is being disingenuous. David J. Goldberg and Eva M. Herriot, authors of Secrets Of Great Skin: The Definitive Guide To Anti-Aging Skin Care, say that pores cannot shrink or disappear. Beauty researcher and author Paula Begoun agrees, saying consumers should be sceptical of beauty products that make such claims.

What a good product can do, though, is help make large pores less visible. Begoun points out that products that do work include cleansers and exfoliators, which help clean pores and remove dead skin cells, while toners can tighten pores, and lotions, creams and serums can refine them.

Choosing an effective oil regulating product and exfoliator, or using a deep cleansing mask regularly can further help manage the appearance of large pores without having to resort to expensive products that make grandiose claims.

Clinique’s executive director of skin physiology and pharmacology Dr Tom Mammone points out, however, that if one’s main skin concern is enlarged pores, a toner or moisturiser with pore minimising properties may not be sufficient.

“Most of these products would also have other skin benefitting ingredients besides refining qualities, and the concoction therefore is not intense enough to address the core issue. It is recommended to include serums in your regimen as these have higher potency and are specifically formulated to address a core skin issue,” he says.

Clinique, for instance, has a line dedicated to pores called the Pores Refining Solutions, which includes the Correcting Serum, Stay Matte Hydrator, Instant Perfector and Instant Perfecting Makeup. The serum, Dr Mammone explains, helps address major causes of enlarged pores by supporting natural cell maturation, balancing oil production, providing gentle desquamation and lightly hydrating. Without having to change one’s entire skincare regimen, he says the serum can easily be incorporated after using a toner and before moisturising.

Estee Lauder’s Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, meanwhile, works by eliminating the build up of material inside the pore.

“This reduces the visibility of the pore and also its real dimension by one-third, because when the pore is emptied of its contents, it will naturally shrink, appearing less visible than before,” says Estee Lauder senior education manager Audrey Ang. Pore minimisers, she adds, are recommended for those with normal or combination skin types.

The most popular products when it comes to minimising pores, are those which can be seamlessly integrated into one’s usual skincare and make-up routine.

Australian make-up artist Nicola Burford, for instance, swears by Dr Brandt’s Pores No More collection, which offer a whole range of products that work to minimise pores, including primers that can be worn under your foundation.

Dior’s Skin Perfect Pore Refining Perfecting Moisturiser, is claimed to have moisturising and pore refining qualities, while Murad’s T-Zone Pore Refining Gel provides targeted T-zone treatment. A weekly deep-cleansing mask like the Origins’ Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores may better suit those who prefer a fuss-free approach.

BeneFit Cosmetics’ The Porefessional, on the other hand, is a pore minimising balm that works double-duty as a primer and touch-up that also provides translucent coverage and helps make-up stay put.

The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Pore Minimiser is another addition to its popular Tea Tree range and also doubles up as a primer with anti-bacterial organic tea tree oil, thereby refining and mattifying the skin.

Smashbox’s Photo Finish Targeted Pore And Line Primer is another popular product that online users seem to love, thanks to its ability to minimise the appearance of large pores and other blemishes while also absorbing shine and providing a smooth finish for make-up.

When looking for an effective pore minimiser, Ang recommends seeking out a gentle formula that is non-acidic to avoid irritating the skin. Dr Mammone adds that a good product should present a multi-prong approach to treating the appearance of enlarged pores.

Common ingredients that are known to have pore refining or exfoliating qualities include azelaic acid, vitamins A (Retin-A) and E (Retin), alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy.

Whether you need a specific pore minimising product, or perhaps need to rethink the way you cleanse and exfoliate, the best thing you can do for your skin (and wallet!) is to do some research first and identify the core problem before forking over your cash.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, pore minimisers, Beauty


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