I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I’ve been influenced by magazines, looking for skin as smooth and uniform as the glossy paper the makeup ads are printed on. Pores are so tiny, it seems trivial to be concerned about them, but we all have our hangups so why not try to improve what we’ve got?
I wanted to know whether I was pursuing something impossible. Is your pore size genetically determined and unchangeable or can natural remedies help? After some research, I can safely say I’ve found the answer. Read on for 9 tips to shrink your pores naturally.
What Are Pores?
The tiny (or not so tiny, as the case may be…) holes on the surface of your skin are there to release oil. You actually have pores all over your body but they are mostly the kind which release sweat, and these are much smaller than the oil-releasing variety found on your face.
Your pores are more noticeable in areas that produce more oil, e.g. the forehead and nose. Unfortunately, if you have large pores, it’s mostly due to genetics. Darker skin tones generally have larger pores than lighter ones and those with dry skin tend to have the smallest pores of all as they don’t produce much oil. (source)
9 Tips to Shrink Your Pores Naturally
Although the size of our pores is determined genetically, there are certain factors which can stretch them out and make them look even bigger. These, we can deal with. Some examples are trapped sebum, sun exposure and build up of dead skin cells. Picking at your pores or pimples is also a big no-no. Here are 9 tips to shrink your pores naturally:
1. Keep Your Skin Clean
Anything we apply to our face can enter our pores and can stretch them out. This includes makeup, moisturisers and dirt. If possible, try not to wear makeup all the time. I always take my makeup when I get home from work and cleanse at night before bed. Cleansing after working out is also vital. (source)
Most of us use cleanser and moisturiser as part of our daily skincare routine, but how often do you exfoliate? It’s more important than we may realise, especially when it comes to making our pores appear smaller. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells which can otherwise block your pores.
There are plenty of natural ways to exfoliate – my favourite is with almond meal. It’s not too harsh for my sensitive skin and it’s quick and easy to prepare. Just mix some almond meal with water and combine in a food processor until you have a thin paste.
Apply to your face and gently massage for 5 minutes. Wash off with warm water and repeat 1-3 times a week depending on how your skin tolerates it. (source)
3. Use a Clay Mask
Clay masks are not only a great way to relax once or twice a week, they’re also perfect for those with oily skin and large pores. Kaolin clay absorbs excess oil and helps unclog pores. (source)
4. Try a Facial Steam
I’d previously used facial steam baths as a natural remedy for a blocked nose. It’s also useful for removing oil and dirt from your pores. The heat from steam opens your pores, while the water droplets wash out all the debris.
Add some steaming hot water to a bowl. You can add a few drops of essential oil such as eucalyptus for an antibacterial effect. Put your face over the bowl and cover with a towel. Do this for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse your skin with warm water. (source)
5. Wear Sunscreen
It’s not just a catchy Baz Luhrmann song, wearing sunscreen is an overall great idea. Sun exposure ages our skin, reducing elasticity which leads to loose pores. A high factor sunscreen will protect you. (source)
6. Apply a Yoghurt Face Mask
There are tons of commercial products out there that claim to shrink your pores. However, you may have something in your fridge that’s just as good.
Natural yoghurt can dissolve impurities in your pores and if you get the probiotic type, it also helps balance your skin’s natural “good” bacteria. Apply it directly to your face for about ten minutes, then rinse clean with warm water.
7. Apply an Egg White Mask
As egg whites dry, they shrink to produce a thin film. It follows that putting them on your face will tighten fine lines and pores too.
To make an egg white mask at home, mix one egg white with lemon juice (to mask the egg smell). Wash your face with warm water and then massage the mixture into your skin. Leave for 15-20 minutes and then wash off with warm water. (source)
8. Wash Your Face with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is somewhat of a miracle cure for many health ailments. It helps balance your skin’s pH, keeps unwanted bacteria at bay and cleanses dirt and impurities.
Dilute the apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water. Apply to your face with a cotton ball. Rinse with warm water after a few minutes and then moisturise as normal. (source)
9. Cleanse with Cucumber
Cucumber juice has astringent properties that means it can shrink open pores. Blend a cucumber and then put it through a sieve to extract the juice. You can also use a juicer if you have one. Apply this to your skin with a cotton ball and leave for 15-20 minutes. Then wash with cool water. (source)
Other Tips and Cautions
Try not to touch your skin excessively, especially if you haven’t washed your hands. If you do, you’re adding more oil and dirt from your palms which clog your pores.
Always use high quality ingredients and don’t overdo these treatments to minimise risk of irritation. If you do find your skin drying out or becoming red or inflamed from any of these treatments, give it a break for a few days. (source)
Trying all of these methods seems like a lot of effort, but we’re stuck with the same skin for our whole lives so it’s worth investing time to take care of it. I do a couple of these treatments 2 or 3 times a week and have noticed my pores shrinking. However, they do stretch out again if I go on vacation for a fortnight and stop my routine so you need to build up a long term habit to keep your pores clean and clear.