According to dermatologist Dr. Mary P. Lupo in the January 2007 issue of Allure magazine, pores cannot open and close because they have no muscular attachment. So when people say that cold water will close your pores, it isn’t true. According to Lupo: “Cold water can keep your pores from producing excess oil, but they will never close. Alternately, steam won’t cause them to open, but it will stimulate the oil glands.”
So why do pores appear to have different sizes?
Lupo states pores are pouches of skin into which the sebaceous gland excretes sebum (oil) to keep the skin from drying out, and which also regulate the body’s temperature. Their size is often determined by genetics, but pore size is also affected by the sites in which the oil glands are the most active, which is why pore size appears larger on the nose and forehead in many individuals.
My blog entry from December 14, 2007 states that retinoids/retinol, Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refresher ($46.50 for 1 oz., EsteeLauder.com), 2% salicyclic acid, and photodynamic therapy may help, and provides appropriate support for each. In addition, Lupo suggests daily sunscreen application, as she states, “Years of sun exposure can permanently dilate the pores…And over time, as you start to lose the collagen and elastin that is supporting the pore, it begins to stretch and sag around the edges. That’s why pores and acne scars often appear larger after age 45.”
As a result…
Don’t believe the myth that cold water or alcohol-based treatments (which dilate the skin around the pore) actually shrink the size of your pores. Instead, use SPF daily, and if pore size is especially bothersome, consider talking to your dermatologist and looking into retinoids/retinol, Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refresher ($46.50 for 1 oz., EsteeLauder.com), 2% salicyclic acid, and photodynamic therapy.