For something so small, the pores of our skin can sometimes make us anxious. And with good reason, because unlike our other organs, we see the condition of our skin on a daily basis, and yes, that includes dilated “pores”.
Clarification of Terms to Use
To begin, it is important to note that pores are connected to the sweat glands and ostia are connected to the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. So, we speak wrongly about pores that are dilated because in fact, it is the ostia that are dilated. The pores are invisible to the naked eye.
The Anatomy of an Ostium
These tiny surface openings are part of the skin structure that allows microparticles to pass through the epidermis. They are connected to the hair follicles and each ostium is normally lined with keratin and sebum. Their size and quantity are predetermined by our genetics. They are usually most visible from puberty onwards or during hormonal imbalances when the skin begins to pump more sebum. You will notice that these small holes tend to tighten in areas such as the nose and forehead, but they can be present anywhere on the skin. People with oily skin tend to have a less tight skin texture.
Causes of Ostium Enlargement
So why do some ostia seem visible to us from miles away while others are almost imperceptible? In addition to DNA, two main problems can change the appearance of the skin texture: dead skin and aging.
Many people believe that sebum can “clog” the ostia, but the problem is more complex. One of the main purposes of these orifices is to bring sebum from the sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin to moisturize it; the presence of sebum is important on a daily basis. What causes “blockages” is the accumulation of keratin lining the cavity. Usually, when the skin renews itself, we get rid of this dead skin, but when there is an excess, it combines with the sebum and creates a “plug”, called a pimple. When the top part of this plug is exposed to the air, it oxidizes and becomes a blackhead. This, combined with the stretching caused by a solid plug of dead skin and oil, creates larger orifices.
A less known cause of ostia enlargement is aging. The skin is supported by a subcutaneous network of collagen and elastin that makes the skin firm and elastic. As we age, the skin becomes less plumped and less moisturized and we lose collagen and elastin. Without these support fibres, ostia cannot maintain their shape and slowly succumb to gravity, stretching a little more over time.
3 ways to refine your skin texture
Nº 1 Exfoliate
Since plugs can enlarge the ostium, exfoliating to minimize accumulation in the ostia will greatly help to decrease their visibility. Peel-Perf 100 is a super skin resurfacer.
Nº 2 Moisturize
Good hydration is also essential to minimize the appearance of orifices, as plumped skin looks firmer and fuller. Hyaluronic acid products from Réponse Corrective are phenomenal in this regard, as hyaluronic acid is a light molecule that does not disrupt your skin’s natural oil balance.
Nº 3 Supporting Collagen
With regard to aging, products that will help maintain collagen and keep skin firm longer will tone the pores. Réponse Densité is a precious ally in this respect.