Back to the basics – The lowdown on pores

The size of pores is one of the most predominant concerns people have about their skin. How large they are and how they look. What are pores, and what do they do for the skin? Can they open and close? Can pores be erased? In the day and age of various filters, it is easy to think that an airbrushed look is the norm. But, it is the opposite. Visible pores are normal!

What are pores?

Pores are small openings on our skin. On our bodies, there are over 5 million pores with different functions. The majority of the pores on our faces are the openings of hair follicles.

What is the function of pores?

Pores drain oil and sweat from the glands to the surface of the skin. While that might sound a bit icky, the fact of the matter is, pores serve a vital function in keeping our skin healthy and functioning as it should. For example, sebum is an essential part of the outermost layer of the skin. It keeps the skin hydrated and protected against environmental stressors.

Do pores open and close?

No, pores don’t open and close since they have no muscles to contract them. Or aren’t doors, for that matter.

What is the regular size of pores?



The size of pores depends on numerous factors, the primary being genetics. Skin type, age, and lifestyle all contribute to how the pores look. People with oily skin might have pronounced pores. As we age, the skin loses some of its elasticity, and pores can look larger.

What can we do about our pores?

No matter what a brand or a product might promise – pores can’t be erased. Again, repeat after us, they are normal! What we can do is clear them and minimise their appearance. A consistent skincare routine goes a long way to tackle the problem.

What to do if your skin gets easily congested?

  • A regular cleansing routine is imperative for healthy skin and a simple way to keep the pores clear.
  • Incorporate Beta-Hydroxy or Alpha Hydroxy acids into your routine. A Beta-Hydroxy acid (Salicylic acid) is oil-soluble and penetrates the pores to clear out oil and bacteria. Alpha-Hydroxy acids work on the skin’s surface to gently exfoliate and dissolve the bonds holding the dead skin cells together. In turn, this means cell turnover speeds up, and there is less chance for congestion. And remember – you don’t necessarily need to apply acids all over your face, only to problem areas.
  • If your skin doesn’t tolerate acids well, look for gentler alternatives like enzymes. Our Trizyme Pore Refining treatment combines three types of enzymes to gently exfoliate, scavenge dead skin cells, and clarify pores.
  • Retinol is another active ingredient that boosts cell turnover. The added benefit is retinol aids collagen production, minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and can tackle acne.
  • Another type of product to try is a clay mask, which can speedily clarify pores and minimise oil production.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen! Daily application of SPF protects the skin against photoaging. Sun damage leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and the skin loses its elasticity. Loss of elasticity can make the pores more pronounced.

Read more about products we recommend to tackle congested skin.

How do you keep your pores clear? Is it something you obsess about?

Roberta Striga