pore·fec·tion (n): a nirvana-like state of complexion flawlessness, exemplified by minimized, unclogged pores

They’re small (they just look big); they’re sensitive (they just seem impervious); and yet they’re the biggest skin care concern you’ve got. They’re pores, and for many women the quest for perfect skin begins with porefection. Here’s our fail-proof, three-step program guaranteed to deliver the ideal pores you’ve been searching for.

Step 1: Get Real

Page through the photos spreads in many glossy mags and you’re bound to notice that pores may be larger than they appear on airbrushed images. In the real world, not even those glamazons have invisible pores. 

The first step in achieving porefection is to get real about your expectations. The goal is to minimize pores, not eradicate them. After all, pores do serve a purpose, allowing oil to flow efficiently, thereby, keeping skin soft and hydrated.

Step 2: Keep it Clean

The good news is that clogged pores aren’t permanently enlarged, they just appear larger thanks to surface oil and dead skin cells that collect around each pore’s perimeter. The best way to minimize pores is to keep ‘em clean.  And clean pores begin with a daily routine.

Start with a gentle cleanser; one to try is Juice Beauty's Cleansing Milk ($22). The Cleansing Milk boasts a calming aroma paired with skin-saving benefits thanks to organic raspberry juice and organic plant oils.

After cleansing, daily use of an exfoliant will banish many of the irritants that clog pores. Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant is non-abrasive and safe for all skin types. Simply swipe on the liquid exfoliant and allow it to wipe out dirt and bacteria thanks to key ingredients such as salicylic acid, witch hazel, and lavender ($17 for 5 oz. at Aveda salons locally).  

To maintain those newly dirt-free pores keep fingers away from your face. Fingers harvest not only natural bacteria but other types of bacteria as well, plus dirt and oil that can clog pores and cause acne.

Step 3: Call on the Experts

You may not need a skin care expert every day, but every four to six weeks your skin sure does. The benefits of getting a facial at the hands of an experienced esthetician or dermatologist include customized skin care advice and the arch nemesis of clogged pores--facial extractions, the physical removal of blackheads.

Another reason to visit your local skin care expert is that skin-saving treatment known as microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion involves the skin being "sandblasted" by aluminum oxide crystals, baking soda, salt or cob granules to remove the top layer of skin, made up of dead skin cells. Microdermabrasion also stimulates collagen networking to further even out skin texture and appearance.  Best performed at the hands of a medical professional, microdermabrasion is available at local medical spas for $100 to $150 per treatment.

Follow these three steps, and porefection, a nirvana-like state of complexion flawlessness, can finally be yours.

On the road to porefection, you’ll want to avoid ingredients that are comedogenic, meaning pore-clogging:

  • Cocoa Butter
  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid, formerly common component of sunscreen)
  • Salicylates (acetylated and nonacetylated drugs like Asprin, and Disalcid)
  • Shea Butter

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