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With high-definition television making the tiniest of skin flaws look larger than life, enlarged pores have never been in such sharp focus. Visible holes can blight any facial complexion, but African-American skin is particularly prone to problem pores. While you can’t erase these annoying little imperfections altogether, you can minimize their appearance so your skin looks flawless for those up-close-and-personal moments.
Pores and African-American Skin
Pores are the little dots on the surface of your skin. Though these openings do the important job of producing skin-nourishing oils, very noticeable pores can be unflattering and a haven for spot-causing gunk. Women of African-American descent naturally have larger pores than lighter-skinned ladies. Often, this is paired with oily, blemish-prone skin, which can make pores look even bigger.
Causes of Enlarged Pores
Besides being born with a tendency to develop enlarged pores, your skin-care regimen (or lack of one) might be making them bigger. Greasy skin encourages oils, dirt and dead skin cells to collect in your pores, making them darker and more visible. Sun damage and the natural aging process weaken the collagen bonds that gives skin its structure, causing pores to stretch.
Keep Pores Squeaky Clean
Put the squeeze on gaping pores by stepping up your cleansing regimen. Cleanse morning and night -- paying attention to problem areas like your forehead and nose -- and after workouts to stop sweat and gunk settling in your pores. Exfoliate daily, or at least once a week if your skin is easily irritated. Sloughing off surface skin cells with a non-abrasive product containing a chemical exfoliant such as alpha-hydroxy acids refines and smooths skin texture.
Wear a lightweight moisturizer that says “non-comedogenic” on the label so your skin can breathe. Swap greasy hair pomades made of mineral oil or petroleum oil for natural jojoba oil or shea butter, which are lighter and less likely to slide down your face and set up home in your pores. Even African-American complexions benefit from wearing sunscreen year-round to ward off the sun damage that ages skin and exaggerates pore size.
In-salon procedures can dramatically downsize enlarged pores, but only temporarily. Exfoliating facials with extractions -- which target individual pimples and blockages -- clean deep down, while light peels slough away clogged surface skin. You can even get your face vacuumed with a suction device that sucks up all the debris in your pores, resulting in smoother-looking skin.
Cosmetic Quick Fix
For a quick fix when you haven’t got the time (or the spare $300) to get your skin vacuumed, disguise enlarged pores with a primer product smoothed on under your foundation. A silicone-based primer will fill in unwanted nooks and crannies to create a perfectly smooth, soft-focus canvas for your makeup.