Pores: Unfortunate Souls
By Julien Sauvalle
Louis, 30, from Seattle, WA, asks:
"My pores can be seen from space.
I have an oily T-zone, and I also get blackheads. How do I reduce them on my nose and my forehead?"
Pore size is hard to deal with because it's mostly due to factors beyond one's control, namely genetic heritage (thanks, mom and dad!), sun exposure, or age. Blackheads are the result of excess sebum and impurities lodging in your enlarged, space-detectable pores. But don't lose hope, Louis, there are ways to fight those tiny, yet resilient imperfections.
To reduce pore size, the most radical method would be to consult a dermatologist and follow a laser treatment. Your pores will appear smaller, but it also involves some time commitment and money. For less extreme alternatives, I would recommend adding a few easy steps to your skincare routine and choosing the right products to refine your complexion.
Cleansing your skin daily is fundamental, and you should always wash your face before bed. Use a soft, balancing cleansing gel like REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel ($32, 5.1 fl. oz), specifically designed to help combination skin. Follow by applying a few drops of Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner ($7.49, 8.5 fl. oz) on a cotton ball, and roll it over your forehead and nose. Used religiously, toner tightens the pores and clears out imperfections.
It can be satisfying to use pore strips and see big blackheads come out when you rip it off from your skin, but they will leave out the smaller, more tenacious ones. I find that using a scrub once or twice a week gives better results. My favorites: Action Face Scrub ($14, 6oz) and Malin+Goetz Jojoba Scrub ($38, 4oz), because their small beads are particularly gentle to the skin. It may also help to treat yourself to a clay mask once a week. Try Avene Cleanance Mask ($22, 1.69 oz), very good for blemish-prone skin.
Once your skin is clean, apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer with SPF to keep your pores unclogged and protect your skin from the sun. Two products that would work for you are Neutrogrena Tone-Correcting Moisturizer ($18.99, 1oz) or Dermalogica Oil-Free Matte SPF30 ($48, 1oz).
Lastly, it may be tempting to pick your own blackheads, but it's best to leave that to hands of a professional (or skillfull partner) who will be able to squeeze it out without damaging your skin.
Besides, everybody likes a facial from time to time. Right, guys?