can cold water close pores

If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say you have to finish cleansing your face with a splash of icy cold water to close your pores, I’d be stinking rich.

As it is, I’m just stinking frustrated.

This is one of those beauty myths that just won’t die. Here’s why it’s false:

Can Cold Water Really Close Your Pores?

Pores aren’t doors. They can’t close (or open, for that matter) because they have no muscular attachment.

And what does “close the pores” mean anyway? It’s not like you want to completely seal them. That’d just clog them like crazy.

When it comes to pores, closing is usually synonymous with shrinking. You freeze your face with ice cold water hoping those large pores will get smaller.

But, it doesn’t work that way. You see, the size of your pores is genetically determined. Nothing you can do can ever change it.

But, pores can get larger. When too much gunk, (think excess sebum and dead skin cells), accumulates inside the pores, their walls stretch, making them look larger.

If you want to fix this, you have two choices:

  1. Use exfoliants or moisturizers with salicylic acid to unclog the pores. It’ll make them go back to their original size.
  2. Use serums or moisturizers with retinoids to speed up cellular turnover and stimulate collagen production. This tightens skin. And tight skin = smaller pores.

Oh, and don’t forget to pile on the sunscreen. UV rays deplete collagen and elastin, and without those, pores stretch and sag. That makes them look bigger too.

Related: How To Shrink Large Pores: 3 Treatments That Really Work

Need help creating the best skincare routine for you oily skin? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Oily Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).

Is Washing Your Face With Cold Water Useless?

Not really. Cold water can help prevent the production of excess oil. Something to do with regulating the temperature of the skin.

When it’s too hot, those pesky sebaceous glands tend to go into overdrive and produce way too much sebum than usual. That always leads to breakouts.

But if your skin isn’t prone to breakouts and you’d rather slap your face than wash with cold water (is that just me? Brrr!), don’t bother. Just use lukewarm water. It’s gentle and does the job well.

The Bottom Line

So, there you have it. To reduce the size of your pores, use exfoliants, retinoids and sunscreen. Cold water just won’t work, no matter how much you splash on your face.

Have you ever tried cold water to close pores? Share your experience in the comments below.