"The Skin Coach" column is written by Kimmy Williams, owner of Acqua e Sapone, a skin clinic in San Francisco.
As a skin coach and acne specialist, my job is to fix skin conditions so people can feel better about themselves. Unfortunately, there are certain skin conditions that there really is no permanent long-term solution. If you find yourself hating and obsessing any of these common beauty complaints, read why there is nothing that can currently be done and refocus your energy into a practice of self-acceptance:
Blackheads On The Nose And Chin
The reason those “blackheads” on your nose and chin cannot be permanently fixed is because they are likely not even blackheads at all. If you are one of the many people with lots of little dark dots that resemble blackheads on your nose and chin and none of your numerous attempts to squeeze them or scrub them away seem to be working, they are probably sebaceous filaments. Unlike blackheads which are treatable, sebaceous filaments are not caused by the sludging up of dead skin cells but are actually just a hardened plug of oil that has been secreted from the sebaceous gland. It can be tricky to tell the difference but sebaceous filaments tend to be lighter in color and appear in a uniform pattern while blackheads tend to be blacker and more randomly dispersed.
Pore Size and Oily Skin
The only factor that has any power regarding the size of our pores is genetics. How big or small your pores appear is determined by how much sebum is being secreted from the sebaceous gland because it’s this oil that stretches the pore open on the surface of the skin and makes it appear large. There are plenty of scrubs and creams that promise smaller pores and some may achieve short term results by controlling oil on the surface of the skin or filling in the pores, but the key to actually altering your pore size lies in controlling the sebaceous gland which no procedure or product can do at this moment in time. The inability to permanently shut down the sebaceous glands is also the reason why oily skin is another condition that can only be managed but not fixed.