Thanks to the rise of so-called “Instagram face”, and editing apps like FaceTune and Photoshop, many of us have forgotten what real skin actually looks like.
From expertly chiseled cheekbones to plump lips and flawlessly airbrushed skin, these types of app have a lot to answer for; namely our obsession with wanting to completely eradicate our pores.
Spoiler alert: you can't. While there are hundreds of products and articles that promise to erase them from existence, the truth is they're normal, natural and totally necessary.
That being said, there are a number of things you can do to minimise their visibility and stop them expanding.
Let's start with the basics. What are pores and why do they sometimes appear to increase in size?
According to cosmetic dermatologist Sam Bunting, pores are the visible end of a flimsy funnel – otherwise known as the sebaceous gland duct – that transports sebum, an oily substance that helps keep the skin and hair moisturised, to the skin’s surface and is held in its upright position by the “scaffolding” protein collagen.
While pores don't open and close as some people suggest, there are a number of reasons they become more visible over time.
“Firstly, increased transit of sebum through the funnel makes the pore more visible – this happens at puberty, due to the change in sex hormones, and it happens as we get older, when ageing and UV damage mean collagen breaks down, allowing the pore to flop open more,” Bunting tells The Independent.
“Summer can also make pores look bigger because oil flows more freely when it's at a higher temperature – something we can't really control. And if we lose collagen through sun exposure and sunbed use, we lose the structure around the pores, making them appear larger.”
If the appearance of your pores is getting to you, there are a few things you can do prevent them from getting clogged and therefore becoming more visible; the first of which is a good skincare routine.
“By stimulating collagen production pores can also appear smaller,”Bunting explains.
“In addition, a gentle retinoid at night will help reduce pore clogging and maintain collagen supplies. A daily sunscreen also helps prevent UV related collagen degradation.”
The final line of attack you can try is to use makeup to mask them.