Wash your face with hot water to open the pores and finish off with cold water to close them. This is one of the first things we learn when we start getting into skincare. It’s used to sell millions of products, it’s repeated by magazines, aestheticians and, sometimes, even our moms, and… it’s dead wrong.
Pores cannot open and close
Yep, pores cannot open and close. They don’t have muscles. They aren’t doors. Instead, their size is genetically determined, but can also be affected by the activity of our oil glands. Sebum, which is just our skin’s natural moisturizer, is produced by the sebaceous glands and then flows to the surface through the pores. When these glands are too active (usually on the nose and forehead), they produce too much sebum, which gets trapped into the pores together with dead skin cells, comedogenic ingredients, and other impurities, stretching the size of the pores and making them look bigger.
What hot water really does
Hot water cannot open pores. But it can dry out your skin, causing it to produce even more sebum. But there is a kernel of truth in this myth. Introducing a bit of heat in your cleansing routine can help pores look smaller. How? Heat can help melt the oils and fats that are clogging up the pores, allowing them to flow out more freely. And when the pores are cleansed of all impurities, they look smaller.
The best, and safest, way to make your pores look smaller, though, is by using an exfoliant with salicylic acid. This acid can get inside them, removing all the gunk that’s clogging them.
Do you ever use heat to make your pores look smaller?