Baking Soda Pore Cleanser doesn't contain much baking soda, but that's OK, because this common household ingredient can be very abrasive and harsh on skin. Interesting note, in Paula Begoun's first book, Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal, published in 1985, she recommended baking soda as a surface manual exfoliant. As Paula has said hundreds of times since then "now that the research shows how important it is to be to gentle to skin, abrasive scrubs are a serious problem and should be avoided."
This minimally fragranced, water soluble cleanser would have been a good, inexpensive option for those with normal to oily or combination skin but as is it's best left on the shelf. Plus you can't scrub away dry flaky skin but you can make it worse because scrubbing causes micro-tears in skin.
Baking Soda Pore Cleanser also contains exfoliating ingredient salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid); however, the amount is likely too low and the pH of this cleanser is definitely too high for it to benefit pores. Even when the right formulary steps are taken, salicylic acid works best when left on skin, not rinsed as you would with a cleanser. And when it comes to unclogging pores a gentle leave-on BHA exfoliant does wonders, as this one does not. Find our list of favorite BHA exfoliants here for better options.
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists for every product on the company Web sit; improved cleansers.
Weaknesses: Known for their pore strips, which aren't as helpful as they seem; lots of products that contain alcohol and/or menthol, neither of which improve the look or function of pores; the sole sunscreen option lacks the proper UVA-protecting ingredients.
This drugstore line wants you to know it is serious about keeping your pores unclogged. They pledge that their products will rid your pores of the dirt, oil, and grime that can cause them to enlarge to "manhole-sized proportions." Although that size is clearly an exaggeration, most of the claims Biore makes also stretch what's possible. For example, neither their products nor the manner in which they function take into account the fact that pore size is more often than not genetic and controlled to a large extent by the oil glands that lie beneath the skin, which are themselves controlled by hormone activity, and none of that can be affected from the outside in.
None of the Biore products can shrink the oil gland or help keep it unblocked, and that is the only surefire way to reduce pore size. One of the bonuses of taking prescription Accutane for acne is that in most cases the patient's pore size becomes remarkably smaller due to the manner in which this potent drug works internally. We are not suggesting anyone should take Accutane simply to shrink large pores. But we do suggest it would be better to stop believing that skin-care products that claim to do so are the answer. Effective skin-care products (including some items in the Biore line) can remove or absorb excess oil, which makes pores less noticeable, and a well-formulated cleanser will remove grime and surface oils without drying skin, which temporarily makes pores look slightly smaller. And believe it or not, sun protection plays a role in pore size. As skin becomes more sun damaged, it becomes thicker and unable to exfoliate normally. The buildup of dead skin cells coupled with thickened skin can make pores expand. This can be remedied by using a well-formulated AHA or BHA product along with daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen—products that Biore lacks.
That's the extent of it, which is why to a large extent (no pun intended) pore size is something that you must learn to live with, because beyond avoiding sun damage and trying Accutane, there is little that can be done to change it. However, the outlook isn't as bleak as it may seem. With conscientious skin care and proper use of makeup, you can successfully minimize the appearance of pores and prevent them from enlarging any further.
For more information about Biore, call (888) BIORE-11 or visit www.biore.com.
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