When it comes to your pores, everyone’s are different, just like our skin. But depending on how we treat our skin, sometimes our pores appear larger. When this happens, it doesn’t give our skin the smooth, glowy appearance we all wish for. Want to learn how to shrink pores naturally? Well, that’s what this week is all about!
Pores are small openings on your skin that you have throughout your body that secretes oils, sweat, and are connected to your hair follicles. So despite how they can look, they’re very important to the natural, healthy function of your skin.
What causes large pores?
When pores become blocked, that’s when they appear larger. Blocked, visible pores are the result of the opening being clogged by dead skin cells, dirt and pollutants, or makeup. The fancy, scientific name for this is called closed comedones, and is what makes your skin feel rough and bumpy. It’s the first form of acne, as closed pores is also one of the causes of blackheads and whiteheads.
How to unclog pores?
As you can probably guess, washing your face regularly (we recommend twice a day!) is the best way to keep your skin/pores clean. This prevents excess sebum and dirt from being built up, but adding a normal, gentle cleanser like our Deeply Cleansing Milk to your skincare routine will help you get a deep clean without harshly stripping your skin of its natural oils.
For a good trick, use warm water or steam on your face before cleansing, as this opens your pores and helps them get a more thorough clean. The opposite goes for cold water, which will tighten things up afterwards. Just remember that hot and cold water don’t actually physically enlarge or reduce pore sizes
One of the most affected areas is typically the nose, where enlarged pores are more visible. For this, you can try a diy pore strip with very simple and natural ingredients, to help you remove blackheads and whiteheads. This will give your skin care a better starting point to maintain your pores clean.
For a deeper clean one or twice a week, look to products that contain clay or activated charcoal. These ingredients can be harsh or stripping, which is why it’s good to limit their use. Charcoal especially can absorb almost anything, including the good stuff (as an aside, this is why you shouldn’t drink activated charcoal lattes if you’re on medication—it can and will absorb medicine). The surface cells of charcoal are highly absorbent and act as a natural magnet that sucks in and traps other carbon-based impurities.
As we preach weekly, pay attention to your individual skin type needs when shopping around for products. If your skin is already sensitive or oily, then look for products that have those specific conditions in mind. Especially with oily skin, you don’t want to accidentally make your problems worse when trying to make them better.
Protecting your pores
Once your pores are clean, it’s time to take preventative measures.
The first thing you can do is the simplest—avoid touching your face frequently. This works on two fronts: it prevents dirt and bacteria on your hands from transferring onto your face, and it also prevents excess oils from clogging your pores. Obviously at some point we all do it, but try and only touch your face with clean fingers.
Using noncomedogenic makeup is also an important preventative step. This is makeup that’s formulated without ingredients that are known to clog your pores. Unfortunately, there’s no single agreement on what is or isn’t noncomedogenic because often it depends on person to person. The research also has a fraught history with animal testing. It also depends on the concentration of the ingredient. Labels often include language that says it won’t clog pores, but the ingredient list will tell you what you really need to know. In addition, use a setting spray that is a pollution protector, which creates a barrier between your skin and potential pore-cloggers in the environment.
We do know, however, that some ingredients are extremely comedogenic, like isopropyl myristate and palmitate, and acetylated lanolin. These are all non-clean and non-vegan ingredients, so we don’t use them in our products. Some natural ingredients, though, like cocoa butter and coconut oil, are also comedogenic when used in high volume (it’s a bit of a different story for your lips, however, which are different from your skin).
How to make pores smaller: minimizing their appearance
Using pre-foundation products like toners and primers smooth out the appearance of pores before your makeup goes on over top. And depending on their formula, they may also do a number of other things like make your skin shimmer. Our beauty editor has rosy cheeks, so she uses a toner that targets inflammation and a green color-correcting primer.
Sunscreen, among its many other marvelous benefits, also minimizes the appearance of pores while protecting it, as sun damage is also one of the things that can make your pores look larger. In addition, while we hesitate to suggest it across the board for everyone, we do believe it’ worth mentioning that products containing witch hazel act as an astringent, which tighten pores like cold water does. However, witch hazel can be extremely drying and irritating for some, so use it only if you know your skin can handle it.
Finally, serums that are brightening and clearing can also minimize pores. This includes the likes of our Radiance Boosting serum that contains natural alpha hydroxy acids and helps clear dead skin cells from building up and getting trapped in your pores, through chemical exfoliation. And if you’ve got happy pores, then you’ve got a happy life.