(The Freeman) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Dear Dr. Jen,

How do I make my pores smaller?  Will hot water or cold water be better for my skin?  And what masks can I use to make my pores finer? There are so many to choose from and I don’t know where to start.


Dear Joyce,

Let me cut to the chase: no amount of hot or cold water, or beauty product will ever be able to erase or minimize pores.  The pores on our skin are permanent structural units.  Nose stickers or strips will not relieve them of their wide size; it can even irritate the skin by removing the protective keratin layer of the skin.

The more oil and dirt settle in the pores, the wider it becomes. It then makes sense to try to unclog pores and prevent black heads and white heads to permanently reside in them. There are products that will help with this unclogging. AHAs and retinol creams are go-tos for unclogging pores. Masks containing such ingredients will also be helpful when used weekly. Ablative lasers can also help reduce scarring from previous acne (which are often mistaken as large pores).

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have very ugly toe nails that I feel like I have to use pedicure all the time.  What causes the yellowish stains and thickening of the nails?  I would like to try not using nail polish since it further causes yellowing but I’m embarrassed to show my toe nails.  What is the best treatment for this?


Dear Michelle,

Yellowed and thickened nails may be an indicator of a nail fungal infection. While constant use of polish will lead to yellowing of nails, there should be no irregular thickening. When thickening is present, most likely fungus has entered the nails too.

Are your hands constantly wet from washing clothes, doing the dishes or working in the kitchen? Are your feet always in closed shoes?  Do you often get pedicures prior to the yellowing or thickening of the nails?

Most people are unaware that fungus can transfer onto the nails from infected, improperly sterilized, nail apparatus. Nail cutters and clippers that were once used on infected nails can be carriers for the fungus to spread to other customers in the salon. The only treatment for onychomycosis (nail fungus) is with anti-fungals. This can be administered with a medicated nail lacquer (amorolfine) or oral anti-fungals. Creams and ointments will not work on the nail fungus.

Dr. Tan is a diplomate of Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) and is affiliated with the Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH). Information on PDS is at www.pds.org.ph. Questions or concerns regarding the skin may be sent by text to 0932 857 7070 or emailed to askskinrepublic@gmail.com; or coursed thru The Freeman – (032) 2531276, or thru PSH – (032) 2338620 and 2325929. Inquiries will be forwarded to Dr. Tan.

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