What are effective methods to reduce pore size? Are lasers able to minimise pores permanently?Aesthetic Medicine
Do lasers reduce pore size permanently, or does the effect only last for 6 months? Do pores return back to their original size eventually?
Oil glands in the skin secrete oil which open into oil ducts in the skin. The opening of the oil ducts on the skin surface accounts for the pores. Sometimes it gets blocked and infected.
Hence, the activity of the oil glands and the elasticity of the skin is the reason for the pores we see on the skin. So if you want to combat the pores on the skin, we will need to know what causes your problem.
1)If you have history of bad acne, oily skin etc then laser and chemical peels targeting hyperactive oil glands will help. Laser(nonablative, subablative, ablative) and peels do help with pores but its not permanent. You still need a healthy lifestyle, good daily skincare regime and skin rejuvenation therapy.
2)If your pores are due to the poor elasticity of skin, due to genes, lifestyle eg smoking, poor daily skincare regime. Then treatment like micro-botox, skin boosters, RF treatment helps better. Yes, and of course healthy lifestyle and daily skincare regime.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your question. This is indeed a common concern for us all. Dr Ethan and Dr YZ have nicely summarised the options available. I shall touch on a few other points.
What are pores?
Pores are akin to breathing holes for your skin. They grow in size with age.
What causes pores?
Pores are caused by 3 main reasons.
- First, impurities like dead skin, debris, excess oil is trapped inside and causes it to grow like a balloon.
- Second, ageing causes the loss of collagen and elastin, so the pores lose the tautness and distends. Finally environmental factors like smoking and sun exposure speeds up the ageing process via collagen breakdown.
- Your genetic makeup.
So the big question is, how can you minimise your pores?
Treatment can be divided into lifestyle changes and advanced procedures.
- Sun protection. Never leave home without them. Remember my T.C.S principle.
- Exofoliate with your homecare retinoids, AHAs and BHAs. If you require more, the next step is chemical peels, as these remove the dead skin cells and excess oil in your skin, and help your skin to thicken and boost hydration.
- Antioxidants. Here’s where drinking your green tea and considering your Heliocare White Radiance will help. These reduce the photodamage to your skin and the loss of collagen and elastin.
- Cleanse, tone and moisturize, because this will help to reduce the impurities clogging and distending your poor pore.
If after the above measures, you are still unhappy with the way your pores look, you may explore more advanced treatments. Let me share with you some.
3 ADVANCED Steps to MINIMISE your pores
- Lasers and IPL
- Energy based devices – RF microneedling / Skinboosters
The science behind this is NEW collagen production, which helps in tightening your pores. Your pores are minimised. However, with ageing and environmental damage, collagen is lost and thats WHY pores grow larger with time.
As both doctors have touched on these treatments, I shall not go into detail.
So I hope this has been useful. Remember, small pores are possible!
Lasers can be classified into a few types – ablative, and sub/non-ablative.
Non-ablative lasers like the Q-Switched, or a Carbon Laser Peel can help to reduce the appearance of pore size by cleansing and unclogging the pores, but do not shrink pore size permanently.
Ablative lasers, like a fractional CO2 laser, are traditionally used to treat open pores. The fractional CO2 lasers resurface the skin by ‘burning’ away a layer of skin, which results in shallower scars or pores.
Instead of lasers, I would recommend the Venus Viva instead for treating open pores due to its many benefits.
The Venus Viva is a relatively new technology I’ve been using at my clinic for the past 2 years, and it combines both the resurfacing technology of a CO2 laser and also the effect of a conventional Radio-frequency.
The Venus Viva uses nano-fractional Radio-frequency to first resurface and smoothen the skin, while at the same time the effect of the radio-frequency stimulates collagen production deeper into the skin layers to tighten scars and pores from within. The Venus Viva has another benefit over traditional CO2 lasers as it provides ‘ablation coagulation’ control. This means that unlike CO2 lasers, the Venus Viva can be used to specifically set to target open pores by causing more skin coagulation to tighten the pores instead of ablative energy that will increase downtime. Here’s a link to how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dBU5yXRMJA
The results of a Venus Viva is permanent as collagen is stimulated in the skin to tighten pores. I have seen great results from my patients who have done the Venus Viva, and there are many positive reviews worldwide as well.
In short, you experience less downtime with the Venus Viva, and you get better results as well as compared to a fractional CO2 laser.
The pores do not return to the previous size for the Venus Viva or Fractional CO2 Laser. However, take note that aging is unavoidable, and as we age over the years, pore size may increase as sagging occurs.
Before we touch on the available treatments for enlarged pores, let us take a look at the causes or factors that contribute to enlarged pores:
- Acne scarring
- Loss of collagen and elasticity
- Accumulation of sebum and dirt that stretches the pore
With this in mind, we can go on to treatments that can help address these issues (points 2, 3 and 4).
1. Daily cleansing and weekly exfoliation
Keeps your skin clean and helps remove excess dirt and sebum that can enlarge your pores.
2. Skin resurfacing
Personally, I find the Venus Viva Nano-Fractional Radiofrequency excellent at smoothening the skin and reducing pores. Additionally, downtime is kept to a minimum and only slight pinkish-redness is seen by the 3rd day.
If you would like to reduce pores and brighten the skin, I would recommend the BB Laser that has the added benefit of brightening, treating pigment/ uneven skin tone whilst tightening enlarged pores.
The Hollywood Peel aka Carbon Laser Peel is an alternative laser treatment that does not have any downtime.
4. TCA CROSS
For larger pores, TCA acid can be applied to the individual pore to “fill” up the pore to make it less deep. Redness is to be expected with this treatment.
5. Chemical peels
Chemical peels such as Glycolic Acid, Salicylate Acid etc can also help to reduce pores.
All these treatments help to reduce pore size but unfortunately results are not permanent. Nonetheless, these are effective treatments and worth a try if enlarged pores really bother you.
Hope this helps. All the best!
Dr YZ made some excellent points regarding laser treatment, and reducing pore size. As he mentioned, Venus Viva RF treatment is an effective treatment for large pores.
“How do I reduce my pore size” is a very common question.
There are a couple of useful tricks to reduce pore size, depending on how big your pores are.
Pore size is partially determined by genetics – some people are just unlucky, and born with larger pores.
Others who have oily skin or acne also tend to have larger pores. If you have a bad habit of popping your zits, there’s a high likelihood that you will have permanently enlarged pores.
Lastly, aging skin loses it’s elasticity, which can cause pores to appear larger. So avoid sun exposure and smoking, both of which will age your skin.
1. For mildly enlarged pores
You can try topical treatments, such as a retinoid cream at night, and AHA Peels.
Face washes which contain salicylic acid, or other Beta Hydroxy Acid washes may help as well. You can find this at most Watsons/Guardians pharmacies in Singapore.
2. For big and prominent pores/deep pores
Radiofrequency (RF) microneedling treatments, such as the Venus Viva and INFINI RF microneedling treatment are effective.
Chemical peels, such as TCA CROSS, can also be very helpful for such pores, especially deep ones.
What is the best treatment for big pores?
As everyone is unique, the best treatment should be determined after assessment by your doctor. This will depend on your pore size and current skin condition.
How much downtime you can tolerate also helps the doctor decide which treatment is best suited for you.
All the different treatment options are not permanent. Why not? Because our skin is a live tissue and will continue to age with time. So why bother to do treatment? Because it is like exercise. We exercise to keep our muscle and heart healthy.
Laser and other treatments mentioned are what I term as "Skin Exercise". These treatments keep the skin metabolism up and maintain it's youthfulness.
By the way, the pre- and post-treatment (laser or otherwise) skincare regime are very important and would affect the result significantly. Poor skincare might even result in complication such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Sun avoidance and sun protection would the number one concern.
Have a great weekend and an enjoyable journey in looking good & feeling great. Don't be too stressed!