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:
- Use exfoliants or moisturizers with salicylic acid to unclog the pores. It’ll make them go back to their original size.
- 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
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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.
I just exfoliate with salicylic acid.
Ana, that’s my favourite exfoliant too.
Oh to think this myth is still considered as true, I cringe everytime I see it. To help maintain my skin’s texture I use Avène Eluage. The retinaldehyde helps a lot and it’s milder than Rx retinoids.
Icaria, it’s incredible how many people still believe in it, isn’t it? And I like retinaldehyde. It’s a great alternative to retinol, especially for those with sensitive skin.
This is so interesting! I totally thought this beauty myth was true, although I do use sunscreen everyday and exfoliate twice a week. I will continue washing my face with cold water every morning though because it’s the fastest way to wake myself up haha!
Makeup Morsels, I do that too lol. It wakes you up straight away. Too bad it doesn’t have any other benefit.
I used to think pores could close because every beauty video I watched would always recommend steaming the face to open pores and then wash and rinse with cold water to close them and wow I am so glad I decided to do my own research after those methods doing nothing for my skin!
Janessa, unfortunately, this is a very popular myth. I used to believe it too when I was younger as magazines shared those same tips too. Luckily, we know better now!
Sticking to the regular routine (cleansing, moisturizing, always removing makeup, etc.), but about 2 months ago my dermatologist suggested adding a 10% vitamin C serum which seems to be working great. She also convinced me of wearing spf 50 sunscreen every day even though I´m inside, and this has really improved the texture of my skin in general.
BONUS, a night out with lots of alcohol and no sleep is a guaranteed huge pore fest on the next day, so avoid this.
Monica, that’s great advice your dermatologist gave you. Sunscreen and vitamin C do make a huge difference, don’t they? Thanks for sharing your experience.
I have heard about this cold water splash as well but didn’t paid much attention to it…I did it a few times but not any more.
Thelma, no point in it, is there?