THE SCIENCE BEHIND LARGE PORE FORMATION:
In the past, enlarged facial pores were regarded as an irreversible aging process rather than a correctable cosmetic problem. However, with significant advances in dermatologic devices, we are now able to treat them. But, how are these nuisances formed in the first place? Read to find out:
1. HIGH OIL PRODUCTION
Previous studies have shown that pore size is associated with high levels of sebum output. Our visible pores (we have many more that are invisible) actually represent enlarged empty funnel-shaped or cylindrical-shaped openings of pilosebaceous follicles. Pilosebaceous follicles secrete a substance called sebum to protect and waterproof our skin and hair. The majority of these follicles exist on the face and scalp. Individuals who tend to produce more sebum have larger openings to release this more of this oily substance.
Both facial pore size and sebum production are linked to the genetics we inherited from our parents. Variation in pore size is also correlated with ethnicity. Asian women have smaller pore sizes when compared with other racial groups. African Americans demonstrate substantially larger facial pores than any other racial group.
Females are predisposed to larger pore size than males are. Why? This is believed to be a result of the monthly menstrual cycle when hormones influence sebum production. Sebum output level becomes elevated during a woman's period and thus the pore size becomes larger in the ovulation phase.
4. SUN DAMAGE
Repeated exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun will damage the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, which will decrease collagen density, damage the elastin structure, and increase the size of pores.
NOW, HOW TO SHRINK PORES:
No pore strip, face mask, or facial will ever minimize pore size; these modalities simply disguise the appearance of pores. To truly shrink pores, follow these steps:
1. Use a retinol
Use a retinol or retinoid such as tretinoin every day or every-other-day. This will increase collagen synthesis to minimize pore size. At SLK we recommend the Neocutis Nouvelle retinol to our patients because the formulation is the most gentle form of medical-grade retinol and won't result in redness or skin flaking.
2. RADIOFREQUENCY MICRONEEDLING
Undergo periodic radiofrequency microneedling to shrink pores rapidly. The energy waves will stun the sebaceous glands into producing much less sebum, resulting in smaller pore openings. Treatments every 8-12 weeks (4-6 times per year) will keep the sebum at bay all year long. Our favorite RF microneedling device is Vivace because it has the least amount of pain and downtime.
3. MICRONEEDLING PEN with PRP TREATMENTS
Use SPF 50 or higher every morning to block UV radiation from further widening of pores due to collagen degradation. We recommend La Roche Posay Ultra Light Fluid daily.