Skin Myth: Can Pores Open and Close?

can pores open and close?

When I started a proper skin care routine back when I was 13 years old, I first heard about this skin myth when my mom told me that I should finish washing my face with very cold water, to “close” the pores. However, this is a really big skin myth – probably one of the biggest ones – and is used to sell hundreds of products, but unfortunately…

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no – pores cannot open and close. For them to actually open and close would mean it would have to have muscles. In fact, pore size is genetically determined!

From Society Hill Dermatology:

There’s no magical process or product that will cause your pores to “open” and allow impurities to rise to the skin’s surface.
By the same token, splashing cold water on your face – or doing anything else for that matter – won’t cause the gates to slam shut on your pores.

Simply put, “pores are pretty stationary,” says Susan C. Taylor, M.D., a dermatologist in Philadelphia and author of Brown Skin: Dr. Susan Taylor’s Prescription for Flawless Skin, Hair, and Nails (Amistad, 2004).

What you’re doing when you steam your face is causing the blood vessels to dilate and the skin to swell slightly. Similarly, “astringents and toners slightly irritate the walls of the pores and make them swell, causing the pores to look smaller,” Baumann explains. But they haven’t actually changed in size. Even in the best-case scenario, their diminished appearance won’t last for more than 24 hours.

That being said, with pore minimizing products, don’t expect miracle results; especially those that claim to make your pores smaller. Though they clean your pores out, making them appear smaller, the size of your pores haven’t changed one bit. Think of your pores as a “V” shape. The only real thing you can do is to exfoliate your skin. If you exfoliate it scrubs off a layer of the ‘V’, they will make your pore appear smaller, but again, your pore size really hasn’t changed size.

Sad but true, but this skin myth has officially been debunked! Any thoughts?

P.S. One great product that is used in my household that diminishes the appearance of pores is Benefit’s Porefessional – highly recommended!

5 responses to “Skin Myth: Can Pores Open and Close?

  1. Myeah, I know this. And it sucks :-( I have a lot of enlarged pores on my cheeks and it bugs me so much. I know pore minimizers don’t work so I resort to primers that reduce the appearance of pores. But so far I haven’t found one that REALLY works.

  2. The pores not really shrinking was a bit of a let down. But I’ll still use my witch hazel to do a deep clean and refresher on my face.

  3. Great post! I really believe that pores open up and then gets smaller. Now its clear to me and thanks to your post. thanks for sharing.

  4. I have huge pores and generally agree with what you’re saying, *but*…
    1) If pore size predominantly genetically determined, why do my parents not have large pores? I think that that mine are due to stretching of the pores due to past acne and being chronically blocked in the regions where they are now largest. Perhaps keeping pores as clean as possible, preferably from when you’re young, may prevent the development of large pores? I have found that a skin lightening cream available in the UK (Fade Out – Active ingredient: niacinamide, 1.2%) is excellent for getting rid of and preventing blocked pores, for my skin anyway. Only problem I had when using this is that all the blocked pores I that had before starting first became spots before disappearing…

    2) Derma-rollers (small wheels covered with a multitude of tiny needles, which you can buy cheaply to use yourself) may be one thing to look into if you have very large pores in specific regions. I tried for a while: The skin damage followed by healing seemed to reduce the size of some pores, but joined others together to make large but shallower looking dents (Ouch!). I read somewhere that you need to continue past the joined-up stage to get an overall smoother appearance. However this would take *TIME*, and can leave you with slightly red skin that does not take to make-up well during the process. I consider it risky from a long-term skin appearance perspective, and from personal experience; don’t use on your chin!

    While I’m posting a long comment – Tip for applying porefessional + coverage:
    1) Apply a small amount of regular primer all-over the face (optional).
    2) Apply porefessional to large pores by dabbing on. Leave to dry slightly. Smooth over with finger. Leave to dry properly.
    3) Top with a fine, translucent, minimal coverage powder, all over the face, to ensure that no regions are more inclined than others to take-up the powder foundation from the next step…
    4) Apply the best powder foundation you can find.

    P.S. Love your blog Renee!

  5. I think your right on this and that is my opinion too. The best way I think is to always clean our face twice a day to remove the dirt and use a toner, serum and moisturizer. I am always exfoliating my face at night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *