March 9, 2017
Enlarged pores stubbornly filled with gunk are the source of most of my skin woes. Open pores that fill up with sebum, which morph into whiteheads, which are the precursor to the dreaded blackheads – it’s a problem that has plagued my skin for more than a decade now. Definitely identified with this Mean Girls scene:
I chalk most of it up to genetics – the highest concentration of enlarged pores is found on my cheek and nose area, a pattern that mirrors my mother’s face – and the rest of it to Singapore’s humidity (my pores truly become about 60% less visible in a cold, dry climate). For sure I’m not alone in these particular skin woes, and the skincare brands know it; hence the endless stream of product launches claiming to shrink pores (note that they can only be shrunk, not eliminated). Like many other females, I regularly welcome a new pore-shrinking serum or gunk-sucking clay mask into my regime.
There are plenty of such products out there, but some stand out more than others. Korean brand Caolion is one of those that has generated quite a bit of buzz – everyone seems to trust Korean skincare – and I got pretty excited too, when I discovered it’s one of the brands to join Sephora Singapore in the recent months. What sets it apart from other pore products is it’s a brand dedicated entirely to pore care; every single Caolion product is made to clear out, shrink, and maybe eventually make disappear those pesky tiny holes that plague so many of our faces.
Paul Kim, who’s the manager of Caolion’s Global Business Department, tells us that it’s all about keeping pore care consistent, i.e. not restricting it to a mere one step of your daily skincare regime. “Therefore, Caolion introduced the new concept of the Hot & Cool pore care system. The Hot system increases the temperature and creates a steaming sensation on the skin, to open pores and cleanse out the impurities, while calming the irritated skin; the Cold system cools down the skin to tighten and minimise pores,” he explains.
He’s referring to Caolion’s bestselling pore duos, which come in the form of two different products stacked on top of each other, one with a warming effect and the other with cooling properties. For example, the Hot & Cool Pore Foam Cleanser Duo, with a warming cleanser on top for day use, and a cooling one below to use at night; and the Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo, which combines a gentle exfoliator with a pore-tightening treatment.
“For maximised and effective pore care, most of Caolion’s products are made of kaolin, bentonite, charcoal, volcanic ash, oat flour, walnut shell powder and other natural and safe ingredients,” Kim tells us. As for these other “natural and safe ingredients”, he lists out the extracts of lavender, rosemary, green tea and chamomile, which all serve to moisturise and calm irritated skin.
After incorporating both of these Hot & Cool products, together with the Pore Tightening Day & Night Glowing Duo (a day and night moisturiser), I’ve subjected my pores to a daily hot and cold treatment. The heat from the “steaming effect” is satisfying for sure; as I apply it I like to imagine all the gunk melting out of my pores – and after rinsing, I do see that those dreaded black dots have been erased from my nose. And at night, applying the cooling products is soothing after a warm day, and they also help to soften the skin texture.
So after about a week, have my pores disappeared? Of course not. But do they look clearer and more refined with each use of a Caolion product? They do. And I know I’ll have to be consistent with it, given the kind of weather we all have to battle on a daily basis – Kim says that sebum levels in the skin can increase by up to 10% with every temperature rise, depending on the individual’s skin condition. Alongside with hormones, stress levels, skin ageing, and not cleaning pores properly, it’s a whole multitude of factors that result in the constant clogging and skin taking on the appearance of orange peel. So yes, it’s genetic, but yes, it’s the weather too. Ah well. Still, we soldier on, better armed with Caolion giving us the hot and cold treatment.