You hear about them all the time like an old refrain, but have you ever stopped to consider if you know the basics about your pores? No? This intel will come in handy when you’re going through a bad skin spell and have no idea what the problem is. Our primer to pores, without further ado!

1. A pore is actually a teensy-weensy hair follicle. Each pore contains a sebaceous gland that pumps out oil—so you can understand how easily they can get clogged or irritated!

2. Fun fact: Pores are shaped like tiny ice cream cones. They are wider at the top and gradually get smaller the deeper you go into the skin.

3. A pore that is considered “large” is more or less the same size as the tip of a pencil or ballpoint pen. A normal pore is half that size.

4. Pores get a little bigger every time they are clogged. Some of your pores are more obvious than others because they might have been “stretched out“ by bacteria buildup, or worse, a full-blown pimple. The faster you treat that blemish with the right medication and cleanse out that clogged pore, the better.

5. Popping your pimples can make any “stretched” pore look larger. Plus, scarring can be permanent, depending on how bad the blemish. Resist the temptation to poke and squeeze!
6. Pore strips are a big help in the declogging department. How do they work? Each strip uses a gentle adhesive that attaches to any dirt, oil, or trapped sebum left inside a pore. When you peel the strip off, the bad stuff gets pulled out with it.

7. Products containing charcoal and clay are great for unclogging your pores. They’re like magnets for bacteria! Try washing your face with a clay-infused cleanser or exfoliating with a charcoal scrub to get the most out of your pore-minimizing efforts.

8. Exfoliating really helps refine your pores. Why? Because it removes dead skin cells and tough-clinging bacteria that are trapped inside. If you’re willing to splurge, try Clarins’ Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream or Dermalogica’s Clear Start Blackhead Clearing Pore Scrub. If you’re trying to save, we suggest Marilou Bio’s Organic Exfoliating Face Scrub or Leyende’s Clean Slate.

9. A good level of collagen and elastin helps maintain the look of fine pores. The easiest way to get your daily dose besides a special moisturizer? Take Vitamin C!

10. To protect your pores, it’s always best to stick to non-comedogenic makeup. A “non-comedogenic” formula is guaranteed not to cause pore blockage and all the bad stuff (acne!) that comes with it.