common pore myths busted

Ready to bust some pore myths?

Like it or not, your pores are here to stay. There’s no way to get rid of them completely – unless you Photoshop them away.

That’s a good thing. You have pores for a reason. Their job is to allow sebum (your skin’s natural moisturiser) to reach the surface of your skin and keep it soft and healthy. Without it, your skin would be a mess.

But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to large pores. You can make them look smaller… if you know how.

Here are some common pore myths that get in the way of flawless skin (and what to do instead):

Pore Myth #1: Cold Water Can Close Pores…

Pores aren’t doors. They can’t open and close at will.

So why do pores look smaller after you splash your face with cold water? Simple: the colder temperatures make your pores constrict so they look smaller.

You’ve guessed it, the effect is only temporary. If you’re trying to shrink pores, this ain’t the way to go about it.

Related: 3 Ways To Shrink Large Pores (That Really Work)

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that absorbs excess oil, banishes acne, and shrinks large pores? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Oily Skin” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

Pore Myth #2: …And Hot Water Can Open Them

These two myths go hand in hand. And why not? If cold water could close pores, it’d made sense for hot water to have the opposite effect.

But you can’t close pores… and you can’t open them either. Not with hot water or with anything else.

All hot water (or better, the steam from hot water) does is to melt away the impurities lodged into your pores, so it’s easy to remove them. That’s why aestheticians often steam your face during facials.

Before you rush to steam your face, hear this: heat and hot water can dry out skin. If you like to take boiling hot showers in winter (or is that just me?), you know what I’m talking about.

Steaming your face may be ok in moderation. Just don’t make it into a regular habit.

Related: Steam Facials: Do They Help Or Harm Skin?

Pore Myth #3: Your Pore Size Never Changes

The size of your pores is genetically determined. Nothing you do can make them smaller than that.

But if your skin pumps out way more oil than it needs, you use products with comedogenic ingredients, or don’t remove makeup at night, all that gunk can end up in your pores and clog them up.

Overtime, these clogs get so big, they stretch your pores wide, making them look bigger than they naturally are. That’s a job for exfoliation. Doing it regularly can keep your pores clean and small.

Your pores can get larger as you get older, too. When your skin’s natural production of collagen slows down, your pore walls can slacken and look bigger.

Retinol’s your BFF. This form of Vitamin A fights large pores on two fronts: it boosts collagen production and speeds up the skin’s exfoliating process. While it’s at it, and it reduces wrinkles, too.

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Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It

Pore Myth #4: Blackheads Are Dirt Stuck Inside Your Pores

Blackheads ain’t dirt. Unless by dirt you mean the mix of excess sebum and dead skin cells that’s stuck in your pores.

When this sticky mix reaches the surface of your skin and comes in contact with air, it can oxidise (i.e. turn black). It usually happens on the t-zone (you have more sebaceous glands there), but if your skin’s very oily, they can pop up anywhere.

You can wash your face all you want, but you’ll only manage to dry it out. Your blackheads will stay put, as if nothing happened.

The only way to get rid of blackheads is to use a salicylic acid exfoliant. Also called BHA, this exfoliant gets inside your pores to remove all the gunk from within.

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The Bottom Line

Pores aren’t doors. They can’t open or close. They don’t change size either. But you can make them look smaller by keeping them clean.