Have you ever been told that washing your face with hot water opens the pores and cleanses the skin? The truth is that pores don’t have muscles around them to allow them to open and close. So why does it seem like your pores are opening and closing, and how should you be cleaning your skin? Don’t worry, I’ve got the scientific reasons and tips below.
To start, we need to understand what a pore actually is. According to Dr. Kucy Pon, a consulting dermatologist for Olay, “A pore is just a route or a channel for these things to reach the skin’s surface,” which in short means that pores are a natural gateway. “Our pores house hair follicles and sebaceous gland, they serve as a channel for sebum, which is a fancy name for our skin’s natural oil.” In order to keep these oils and bacteria in check, you need to know the proper way to wash your face and body.
Everyone has different size pores, but everyone has pores. Genetics and the size of the hair follicle in the given pore are the determining factors of what the size of the pore will be. The size of your pores isn’t determined (and can’t be altered) by the temperature of the water. If the size of your pore seems altered, it is most likely because it is clogged with natural oils or debris.
When oil and debris build up, you may experience a breakout. This is where this myth comes in. Myth: In order to clean your skin, it is understood that we need to “steam the bad away.” A happy/healthy alternative that actually works is a natural face cleanser or a rinse and moisturizer. Make sure you’re washing your skin with natural soap and lukewarm water in the shower or before bed to remove the day’s build up.
No matter what your mother or grandmother told you about steaming your pores open, the pore itself can not adjust in size. Why does it look like your pores are opening up with the heat? It’s because steaming up the skin can loosen the debris, which in turn makes removing the blackhead or gunk out of your skin much easier.
#SpoonTip: Leave the extracting to your dermatologist. You can cause a lot of harm to your skin if the process of removing debris is not done properly.
So how should you be washing your face? You should be washing your face with lukewarm water. That’s right, you should be goldilocksing it. Exposing your skin to the extremes (i.e. too hot or too cold) will cause extreme aggravation and may lead to a breakout, so find a happy medium when washing your face or even taking a shower.
Don’t be mean to your skin and make sure you’re treating it properly. It may be more comfortable to veer toward the warm side of the spectrum, but make sure you don’t over-do it because you don’t want to scald the skin.
So for all you MythBusters fans out there, consider this myth busted.