Anyone with open pores, say around the nose, knows the dread of catching a glimpse of their craters in one of those magnified bathroom shaving mirrors. Toners, scrubs and AHA exfoliators can help, but what if there was a solution? And what if I told you it was a lentil?

Thanks to an email the other day from Shannel, I learned about lentils and an ingredient called p-Refinyl. Silab is a French cosmetic ingredient company specializing in botanical actives and p-Refinyl, based on lentil extract, is one of nine organic ingredients it launched at the end of last year.

The term pore refers to the openings of adnexa at the skin surface. Open pores are associated with sweat secretion and oily skin.  However, the activity of the sebaceous glands diminishes with age whereas the number of visible pores appears to increase with age. So something else must be going on.  The theory is that the pore walls are slackening due to decline of the matrix (elastin and collagen).

According to the Silab, dilated pores are also caused by an abnormally accelerated keratinization process, leading to the accumulation of nucleated cells around the pores.

The company claims that lentil extract controls sebum and its oligosaccharide content stimulates the process of keratinocyte maturation, eliminating nucleated cells from around the pores.

Silab’s own tests (there isn’t any independent research) showed a modest reduction in sebum with a 3% concentration of p-Refinyl (9%) on Caucasians with Asian skin responding better (a 29% reduction). With collagen production, our lentil apparently really comes into its own with SIlab claiming p-Refinyl stimulated the expression of collagen I by 100%. Meanwhile nucleated cells were reduced by 20%.

Overall, pore size was reduced in the Silab tests by 61%. I could live with that.

P-Refinyl is fairly new and I haven’t spotted it in anything yet. However, I did find lentil extract listed in Murad’s Skin Perfecting Primer ($35) and Skinn Cosmetics Optimizing Solutions Overnight Pore Reducer ($31.59).