Tricks of the Trade – How to deal with pronounced pores and oily skin

t0718beauty-kelly_1 Hello, I am a 32-year-old female who had wonderful skin, until last year when I began battling with oily skin and enlarged pores. I don’t know where I got the idea to pop open vitamin E capsules and apply them on my face at night. I saw how oily it was making my face but thought nothing of it. I thought it was helping me. Well, no—all it did was cause my pores to enlarge and now I have a super oily face. I have tried every pore-minimizing cream out there and nothing is helping. Please help! I hear microdermabrasion can help but I’m scared to try it. Thank you. —Bernice

Skincare can be a bit tricky at times. What works for one may not necessarily be effective for another; in your case, a seemingly good idea like applying vitamin E on your skin did not produce the desired results.

Skin usually reacts to its environment. When there is a shift in weather or temperature, you will surely see a change in your skin. The same goes when you apply a new cream or serum. Skin types can change, and it’s possible that your skin shifted from being normal to oily. Some people go on for months, even years, not knowing what is making their skin dry, oily or, worse, break out. Don’t worry, it’s good you were able to pinpoint the cause so you won’t do it again.

The problem with oily skin is not just combating shine or melting makeup, since pronounced pores usually come with it. You said you’ve tried just about every pore-minimizing cream out there and it has failed you. I believe you, but I need to ask, how long did you use the product? Beauty products usually take some time before they produce significant results. But with consistent use, there should be improvement.

Pore-minimizing creams do not necessarily make your pores smaller. They work by tightening the skin and improving collagen production, making pores look and feel smaller, which is mainly what you are after. Look for ingredients like vitamin A, retinoic acid or tretinoin when shopping for a pore-minimizing cream. But if you are done with this (understandable when you feel like you’ve tried them all) and want to try something new, try these other tips.

Use a makeup primer. I know, this is purely cosmetic, but it’s worth a try, especially when you want an instant fix. A makeup primer or base does wonders for your foundation, as it smoothens skin and minimizes pores by allowing your makeup to adhere better to skin. It also keeps skin looking fresh by inhibiting oil production, but without blocking pores or causing breakouts. This is a crucial step if you have oily skin but want to wear makeup.

Don’t pop that pimple. What does touching your face have anything to do with minimizing your pores? Well, if you happen to pop a pimple incorrectly, you may end up damaging the pore and enlarging it. Worse, you can end up infecting the area. If you really want that pimple out, the best way is to go to a dermatologist.

Use sunscreen. Sun damage affects skin’s collagen and elastic tissue, and both are important in lending structural support to skin. If this support is weakened, skin tends to sag and pores expand. Protecting skin with a healthy dose of high SPF sunscreen everyday will do the trick.

Opt for a laser resurfacing treatment. These days, many dermatology clinics have machines that change the structure of your skin from the inside in order to tighten and firm it. These are called non-ablative laser treatments (Fraxel is one of them), and they make pores look smaller as skin underneath becomes taut. Ask your dermatologist about this option.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 18, 2014.

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