It’s the most requested cosmetic treatment in the United States for a reason! But Botox has the potential to do even more.
Did you know that many people now turn to Botox to shrink unsightly, enlarged pores? But does the reality live up to the hype or is using Botox for pores just a fad?
Botox is the brand name for onabotulinumtoxinA, the protein behind its many benefits. It was first approved by the FDA in 1991, making it the oldest and most researched injectable cosmetic treatment currently on the market.
OnabotulinumtoxinA is a neuromuscular blocking agent, which is a fancy way of saying it stops the signals that tell the muscles to move or contract. Repetitive motions (facial expressions, for example) are one of the top contributors to eventually developing fine lines and wrinkles — that’s why they call them “smile” and “frown” lines!
During Botox treatment, we inject the drug directly into the muscles. With those affected muscles unable to contract as strongly or as frequently, the skin covering them relaxes and appears more smooth and youthful.
Even though facial pores can become enlarged and more visible, they serve a few essential purposes!
For instance, pores help your body release sweat. Glands make sweat in the middle layer of the skin, a layer known as the dermis. When sweat passes through the pores and reaches the outside of the body, it sits on the skin's surface before evaporating and cooling you down.
Without them, you wouldn’t be able to regulate your body temperature nearly as quickly. Sweat is also vital for helping remove all kinds of toxins from the body.
The facial pores are also the exit route for another crucial product — sebum, the oil naturally produced by the body. Sebum often gets a bad rap as just the main trigger of breakouts. While it's true that it partially contributes to blemishes, sebum is also vital for moisturizing skin.
When the pores are working correctly, they’re mostly invisible to the naked eye (unless you look very closely). However, when things start to fall out of balance in the body, you’ll see them appear more visibly.
A buildup of sebum in and on the skin, especially when combined with dead skin cells and debris (like dirt, makeup, etc.), can stretch them out over time.
We should note that pore size also has a genetic component, so at least part of their visibility can be blamed on your DNA. But that doesn’t mean you just have to sit back and let your genetics dictate everything.
That takes us to how people are starting to use Botox for pores, a cosmetic treatment also known as Microbotox or Mesobotox (meso meaning “middle”). Using Botox to help minimize the pores' appearance was a lucky accident, as people noticed their pore size improved after having Botox performed for their fine lines and wrinkles.
Botox to target pores can help control the sebaceous gland’s sebum production, giving the pores a break and allowing them to shrink back down.
Injecting Botox can also minimize the contraction of specific muscles, the tiny arrector pili, that connect the dermis to the hair follicle. These muscles are also the driving force behind the goosebumps you get when cold or scared!
Unfortunately, when the arrector pili muscles contract and cause the hair to stand on end, it also causes sebum to rise to the skin's surface. Less contraction of these muscles can equal less oil on your skin, leading to less visible pores.
So the theory of using Botox for pores is great, but does it actually work?
So far, the research looks very promising! In a September 2020 study, researchers used Microbotox on 35 patients who complained of wide facial pores. After a single Microbotox treatment, participants were asked to rate their satisfaction from 0 to 5.
The average patient satisfaction was 4.7. But the study wasn’t just based on how people felt about their pores — researchers also performed a dermoscopic exam, which confirmed a reduction in the size and number of pores.
Botox for pores is also being studied as a potential solution for chronic breakouts, specifically in people prone to overproducing sebum.
So far, researchers are looking at it as a safe and effective way to help reduce oil production when injected into the dermis. We look forward to continuing to track the research so that we can continue to provide the most cutting-edge, effective cosmetic treatments possible.
What makes Microbotox different from more traditional Botox injections is where we inject it. Traditional Botox injections are performed in the muscle, while Microbotox is directed superficially at the skin.
The process of these injections is essentially the same, though. Starting with clean skin (this is crucial, especially when trying to shrink pore size), we use precise placement to inject Botox into the arrector pili muscles.
The T-zone (especially the forehead and cheeks) is most frequently targeted, but everyone’s skin is different and will be treated that way.
No matter where we place it, Botox isn’t an immediate fix. Most people start noticing subtle changes a few days after their injections and will hit their optimal results at about two weeks. As the Botox continues to work, the muscles keep shrinking, making the skin look tighter and more flawless.
Botox for pores, like traditional Botox, will wear off on its own after a few months. We recommend scheduling your follow-up appointments every three to four months to keep your results going strong!.
Suppose you can’t have Botox for pores performed, or your needle-phobia stops you from taking the next step. (For what it’s worth, they’re incredibly tiny.) In that case, other options are available to help reduce pore visibility. Here are three of our most recommended alternatives.
Exfoliation is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking and feeling fresher because it encourages much quicker turnover.
Chemical peels can help with deep exfoliation of the skin, removing the built-up oil, dead skin cells and debris that may be causing pore enlargement. Think of chemical peels as a reset button for your skin!
The only downside of getting a chemical peel is the recovery time, as your skin may be red and peeling for up to five days after your appointment.
What’s better than gold? There’s a reason they refer to things as the “gold standard,” after all!
Gold infusion lives up to that and is another excellent option for visible pore reduction. We perform this treatment by creating a customized cocktail of hydrating ingredients and antioxidants that we stamp gently into your skin — some people even prefer to combine gold infusions with Botox! The result is plump, glowing skin and tighter pores.
Downtime is minimal and most people can quickly return to their daily routine after treatment.
For an even less invasive pore treatment, try a charcoal face mask. Charcoal can help absorb excess oil from the skin, helping the pores not work as hard to pump it out.
Many charcoal face masks, like Clay Time, contain other active ingredients like salicylic acid and kaolin clay. These ingredients further exfoliate the skin, diving deep inside the pores to remove impurities and build-up that may be keeping them enlarged.
You should only use charcoal face masks after thoroughly cleansing your skin, which helps them be as effective as possible. We recommend using them as part of your skin care routine, as you’ll see optimal results with regular use!
No matter what treatment you decide to pursue to help reduce your pore visibility, a good skin care routine is non-negotiable. Even a basic routine of just a cleanser and a moisturizer helps tackle two of the biggest contributors to enlarged pores — build-up and sebum production.
When you remove the debris and promote hydration, the pores won’t be overburdened trying to keep up. You don’t have to stop at just a basic routine, though. Adding in products to further support the health of your skin can also create a more youthful-looking, radiant appearance.
Botox for pores is an up-and-coming cosmetic treatment option that can help reduce the appearance of enlarged, unsightly facial pores. When combined with a quality skin care routine, you can take your skin from drab to fab in no time flat. Book a consultation with one of our providers today to get started!