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The ABCs of Healthy Pores

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pores Skin Clogged Enlarged Temperature

The skin is the largest organ in our body, with some experts estimating that the average amount of skin we humans have encompasses an astonishing 19 square feet.

Skin not only is the body’s first line of defence against disease and infection, it’s also the first thing most people look at when they see us for the first time.

Those are the two main reasons it’s so vitally important to keep our skin healthy – which also means keeping our pores healthy as well. But few people know exactly what pores are, let alone how they function…

What Are Pores?

Pores are, quite simply, tiny holes in the skin – the opening of the hair follicle - that allow both perspiration and oil to be released onto the skin. They are the openings of our skin’s sweat and oil glands, and their size varies from individual to individual.

Pores are extremely important because they allow the body to regulate its own temperature. When sweat is released through a pore, for example, it allows the body’s temperature to cool down. People who cannot sweat properly can suffer a great danger to their health.

The oil glands, or sebaceous glands, help secrete the right amount of oil to keep hair, skin and nails healthy. When the oil glands become clogged, this can pose a problem.

About Clogged Pores

The most common result of chronically clogged pores is acne. When there is an over-production of oil, the pore can become clogged with dead skin cells and other debris.

This can result in a pimple, or spot, a blackhead or a whitehead. Blackheads, also known as comedones, are clogged pores are pores that are not completely clogged and topped with blackened debris, such as dust or dirt. Whiteheads are pores that are completely clogged.

Here are several ways to unclog pores:

  • Wash face with warm water, avoiding any types of soaps or oils that can exacerbate the situation. Then exfoliate the face with a grainy exfoliator, but one that is soft and gentle without any artificial fragrances or colours.
  • Have micro-dermabrasion to get rid of the dead skin cells that can clog the pores.
  • Use a special solution to unclog pores, such as alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids. You can buy this from your chemist or, in a stronger form, get it prescribed from your GP.

About Enlarged Pores

Many people are also concerned about what they perceive to be enlarged pores. Often, pores appear larger as we get older, especially around the nose area.The size of our pores is largely determined by genetics, but when they become clogged they appear larger. The best way to make them appear smaller is to practice good facial hygiene.

That means exfoliating regularly – but not too often – and using a moisturiser only when needed, so as not to clog pores even further.

Also, make sure you choose skin care products that are right for the type of skin you have – either normal, dry, oily, sensitive or combination skin.

Healthy Habits, Healthy Pores

Having healthy pores is something we should all strive to attain, as it will make our skin function better and look better as well.

Implementing a good skin care regimen is vital, and keeping out of the sun is also important, as sun damage can make pores appear larger. Using the right sun cream during the warmer months is vital as well, and keeping your skin hydrated – in part by drinking plenty of water – also will help.

Beauty begins with the skin, so making sure it is cleansed, toned and refreshed should be a daily goal for all of us. When you take care of your skin, your pores will naturally look better - visibly.

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