Growing up, I felt like the only thing I knew about skin care was to wash my face and avoid oily pores. I had more blackhead removal products than I could count, and I made sure I had oil-blotting sheets in my bag wherever I went. There was always so much negative connotation whenever anyone talked about their pores in real life or in all the teen movies I grew up with. Now, that I’m older and wiser, I’ve realized that there are a lot of misconceptions swirling around the rumor mill when it comes to oily pores. In reality, oily pores are totally normal, and we shouldn’t get riled up with worry if we have an oily skin mood. Instead, it’s time to put the rumors to rest and face the facts about oily pores.
- Fact: Not all of the “blemishes” on your nose are blackheads
Ever heard of a sebaceous filament? It might be what you see on your nose, and it’s not a fancy word for blackhead. Sebaceous filaments come as a package deal with your pores, so you can’t get rid of them. Don’t worry, though, they’re only harmless, small pockets of sebum (oil) that keep your skin naturally moisturized. They’re so harmless they’re not even classified as acne, so don’t go picking at them. Even if you do extract one, your body will just replace it with another sebaceous filament.
- Fact: Your pores can’t open and close
Have you ever taken a hot, steamy shower to “open your pores”? Or how about using cold water as you wash off your cleanser to “close your pores”? Turns out, it’s not doing anything. Your pores can’t open and close, but they can stretch. When your pore becomes clogged, it will stretch to accommodate the oil still being produced and backing it up. While streaming your face can’t open your pores, heat can cause excess pore building to rise to the surface. That’s not permission to go put a lot of hot water on your face, BTW. You wouldn’t want to damage your skin barrier.
- Fact: Wearing makeup doesn’t clog your pores or make them oilier (if you’re careful)
This fact comes with a disclaimer because it all depends on the products that you’re using. Typically, dermatologists recommend that makeup-lovers purchase powder makeup instead of liquids if they can, as some make-up products can be comedogenic. Basically, the term ‘comedogenic’ refers to any ingredient or product that can cause blackheads by clogging our pores. Makeup and lotions are notorious for clogging pores, but if you’re careful, you can find oil-free and non-comedogenic makeup products to avoid clogging your pores. Plus, you should always be cleansing your skin every night to get rid of dirt, oil, and makeup from the day.
- Fact: Sunlight can’t dry up your oily pores
We get it, you’ve tried everything to dry up your oily pores and now you’re hoping the sun can do the trick, too. However, this is just another myth. Sun exposure can’t shrink your pores by drying up the oil. In fact, sun exposure can actually cause your pore size to appear larger by damaging your collagen. It’s so important to make sure you’re using SPF every day, and using a non-comedogenic sunscreen would be even better.
- Fact: You can’t reduce the size of your oily pores
Nope, you just can’t do it. Not even with those pore strips or face masks you just bought. Nothing will be able to entirely shrink your pores since your pores are partially determined by genetics. Nose strips may be able to make your pores look smaller, they don’t actually change their size. To be able to really look like you have smaller pores, you would most likely need professional treatments to promote your collagen production.
- Fact: Exfoliators can’t entirely clean out your clogged or oily pores
A lot of beauty products on the market today use phrases like “deep clean” or claim that their ingredients will “let the skin breathe” in order to make more sales. Usually, it’s just B.S. But it especially doesn’t apply to exfoliators. While exfoliators can’t seep down into your skin to remove all of the debris in your pores, it can clear up dead skin cells. Just make sure you’re using either a chemical or a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliator.
- Fact: Over-cleansing your face won’t prevent clogged or oily pores
Did you just wash your face and you still see oily pores? Hold it right there! Having clogged pores does not equal a dirty face. Blackheads aren’t made up of dirt or environmental debris, but rather dead skin cells and sebum. Don’t let this myth trick you into over-cleansing your skin. If you over-cleanse, you might risk drying out your skin and causing it to flake off. That’s a big no-no.
- Fact: Those suction tools on TikTok are not the solution you’re looking for
If you’re active on TikTok, or especially #SkinTok, then you’ve might’ve already seen those suction/vacuum tools that people are using to extract blackheads. While these tools seem too good to be true, it’s because they are. Sure, they might remove excess oil and debris from the surface of your skin, but it will end up damaging your skin barrier too. These tools, along with harsh scrubs, can irritate the surface of your skin. In other words, save your money.
- Fact: Moisturizing doesn’t make your skin oilier (if you’re careful)
It’s true that some moisturizers can be comedogenic, but if you stay away from them, you should be out of the woods. You wouldn’t want to entirely skip out on applying moisturizer because it’ll cause your skin to become dehydrated. Depriving your skin of hydration will only make you become oilier since your skin produces excess sebum to overcompensate for the moisture it’s not getting.
- Fact: You can’t get rid of your oily pores permanently
Your pores are with you to stay. Despite all of the products out there that market themselves as “pore erasers”, it’s not possible to get rid of your pores without a trace. Instead, you can try methods to improve the appearance of your pores, such as using chemical exfoliators or retinoids.
If you have pore problems, keep in mind that all of the rumors you’ve heard about pores aren’t true. Don’t worry so much about clearing, shrinking, or getting rid of your pores – they’re just myths! The more you mess with your pores, the more likely it is that you’ll cause harm to your skin barrier. Focus on meeting your skin’s needs and you’ll see significant changes in your skin’s health and appearance.