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You Cannot Shrink Your Pores & Other Myths That Need To Be Debunked

Comedo-what now? Beauty trends are fun, but some should be taken with a grain a salt. Or, perhaps the entire salt shaker.

Not all beauty tips on the internet should be followed. Even if it’s from a brand or a beauty guru that you trust with your life, some beauty tips are just straight up untrue, marketing scheme, misinformation or otherwise. Take charcoal masks for instance. Tarry and gooey at first, but subsequently dries and strips your nose of those darn blackheads and whiteheads? Sounds pretty, well, sound. It is extremely satisfying to see all that guck lifted from your skin. It is hence, also extremely easy to see why no one would’ve thought to be harmful, especially since charcoal, when ingested, has detoxifying and healing properties. All those binge weekends with a side of indigestion, eh?

But, as it turns out after speaking to bonafide beauty experts and subsequently doing our own research, we came to the shocking realisation that charcoal is apparently terrible for your skin. Oh, and you can’t shrink pores. What even is the world anymore?! While there are a slew of skincare myths that need to be debunked, we get you started with five that we’re calling BS on – though not without leaving you with substitutes that are actually good for your precious skin.


1. Vaseline

The magical product that seems to work for anything and everything isn’t as magical as you may think. Vaseline is a very strong occulent, meaning that it traps moisture under a waterproof barrier. Although it’s non-comedogenic i.e. non pore-clogging, it can cause acne on your skin if the layer beneath isn’t clean enough. Plus, you really need to wash it off well every night in order to get rid of any residue Vaseline left on the skin. It is also a by-product of the oil industry and therefore an unsustainable resource. (Read: Not environmentally friendly.) Any good moisturiser will include the use of humectants like glycerin, which attracts moisture, and occlusive agents like jojoba oil or zinc oxide.


2. You Can’t Shrink Your Pores

Splashing cold water onto your face in hopes of shrinking your pores is sadly, a fantasy. Pore size is genetically determined. What labels usually read instead are, “reduce the appearance of pores”. Collagen loss can happen, though, that will come with aging or sun damage, resulting in the loss of pore tightness. Dead skin cells and trapped sebum can also stretch them out. The solution? Exfoliation, non-comedogenic products and avoiding irritants can help keep your pores clear and hence, small in appearance.


3. The Collagen Argument

In Japanese convenience stores, it’s very easy to find a bottle of collagen supplement sitting on a rack. Even though it is true that collagen is an important building block of healthy skin, ingesting it may not help, perhaps at all. This one goes out to all the biology students out there who have been drilled with the concept of polypeptides. According to The Guardian, collagen is a protein and it will be broken down by the digestive system into amino acids, meaning that the collagen itself disappears before anything reaches the skin. As for topical collagen, Sciblogs describes it as “trying to re-spring an old bed by throwing a bag of springs on the bedspread.” What you can do, is to increase your body’s natural collagen production by consuming fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin A, antioxidants like berries as well as Omega-3 fatty acids.


4. Charcoal Masks, You’re Cancelled

As much as we love staring at a used pore strip and pimple popping videos, charcoal masks – especially the DIY kind – are horrible for the skin. Anything that’s got school glue in the formula shouldn’t go anywhere near your face. In many YouTube videos, the mask separating from the skin is a literal ripping sound. That in itself, can’t be good when you have to pull it off your skin with reasonable force. Instead, look to acids and vitamin C for a clear complexion without any pain. Better yet, exfoliants that stay clear of the peel zone. These work better than any pore strip. Consider clay masks as well.


5. Comedogenic Coconut

Oils are amazing for the skin. The trendy and accessible coconut oil? Not so much. Despite the versatility of it, coco oil is comedogenic, meaning that it will 101 percent clog your pores and give you acne. I learned this the hard way. The other options out there like rosehip, sunflower or jojoba oil will give much better results as they absorb into the skin much more easily. We just so happen to have a guide for the oils we love here.


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