Pore-fect Skin

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Are clients complaining of visible pores? They are not alone. Large pores rank as one of the most common frustrations for clients. Requests for facials that tighten, shrink, unclog, and minimize pores are received on a daily basis. Some clients even ask to get rid of their pores altogether. While pores are essential to skin’s survival and can never be completely eliminated, there are several ways to make clients happy and their pores less noticeable.

First, it is important to understand and explain to clients that those tiny dots on the surface of the skin are actually the openings of hair follicles. Each of those follicles contains a sebaceous gland – the well that produces facial oil and maintains the hydration of the skin. The pores around the nose and forehead tend to be larger and more visibly prominent.

WHAT CAUSES LARGE PORES?
Insufficient Cleansing
Pores are a magnet for dust and bacteria. When they are not well cleaned and exfoliated on a regular basis, they can appear larger then they are.

Picky Fingers
While it is hard for most people to keep their hands off them, touching, picking, and popping clogged pores and pimples without the correct technique will only worsen the look of the pores.

Ethnicity
Pore size is not only affected by daily habits and lifestyle choices, but by one’s genes. Thickness, pore size, propensity for oiliness, and skin sensitivity are all inherited. Ethnicities such as Latino, Filipino, Native American, and Middle Eastern can be more vulnerable to large pores.

Gender
Hormones play a central role in the skin’s “mood.” While men and women have the same types of hormones, they do not run at the same levels. Men have more testosterone and women have more estrogen – both of which can cause issues. Also, men tend to have larger pores compared to women, whereas women’s pores can enlarge during periods of hormonal change.

Sun
Too much sun exposure is another cause of larger pores. When people receive an excess of ultraviolet rays, the collagen in their skin begins to break down. This, in turn, weighs on the pores and causes them to increase.

Age
Age plays a factor in pore size. While clients might have floated through their teenage years and 20s without a pore in sight, with age, collagen and elastin breaks down, causing pore size to become enlarged. Also, certain life stages can increase the amount of sebum the pores produce.

SOLUTIONS
First and foremost, it is important to educate clients about the differences in homecare versus regular professional aesthetician visits. Regular facials with skin care professional are key to keeping pores clean and regulating oil flow. A well-trained, clinical skin care professional will target the problem area effectively by removing all the debris without damaging the pore. In addition, a lymphatic drainage massage, which is performed as part of a cleansing facial, also works wonders for de-clogging pores.

Use Acids
Exfoliating products containing alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, glycolic, salicylic and fruit enzymes (like pineapple and papaya) can naturally smooth the skin and reduce acne-causing bacteria, general build up, and oil.

Bask in a Mask
An effective way to soothe pores after extraction or exfoliation is to use an antibacterial or cleansing mask containing clay, honey, or charcoal. These masks can also serve as a spot treatment for blemishes. Masks with clays, such as bentonite or kaolin, naturally draw out the toxins in pores, keeping them clean, minimized, and free of pustules. Products containing charcoal can minimize the appearance of enlarged pores due to its oil-absorbing properties. Honey contains a mild version of glycolic acid and natural enzymes that help to rid pores of dirt and debris.

The Big Guns
For clients in need of more drastic and rapid results, try a sustained routine of microdermabrasion to reduce pore clogging and size over time. Microneedling is also a wonderful technique to seemingly shrink pores, reduce scars, and blend sunspots. Pores typically become less prominent after only one or two treatments.
Laser treatments offer comprehensive acne treatments and pore size reduction. Options include Clear + Brilliant or Fraxel for clinical results that penetrate below the surface level and have a long-term effect on the skin. Of course, this solution is pricier than more routine fixing, at $200 to $500 per treatment, depending on the doctor and area of the country.

Consistency is Key
In order to change the behavior of the skin, skin care professionals need to provide clients with an ongoing regimen that combines both in-spa and homecare treatment on a daily basis. After a spa visit, suggest that clients purchase homecare products such as AHA cleansers and face masks they can apply at home. Once professionals find what works for their clients’ pores, help them stick with it.

Bella Schneider, P.M.E., leads a team of more than 200 aesthetic professionals at three premier spas. For more than 35 years, Schneider has traveled the world to bring service providers the best in aesthetic science; as a groundbreaking formulator, successful retailer, and respected educator, her mission is to help professionals enhance their practice and grow their business. Winner of the Nouvelles Esthetiques lifetime achievement Crystal Award for contributions to beauty science, Schneider hosts beginning-to-advanced training in clinical and spa skin care as well as ethnic skin care, peels, and other new techniques at Bella Schneider Beauty’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based training center.

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