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How to Shrink Your Pores in 10 Steps

By Lizbeth Perez

Every woman wants to have smooth, beautiful skin. We all search for ways to make our faces look flawless and porcelain-like. There are countless of products (and claims) out on the market that give us (false) hopes of actually being able to attain this ideal. Walk down any beauty aisle, in any store, in any part of the world and you will ultimately find the product after product all claiming to do just that- leave you with the coveted, perfect complexion that you’ve ALWAYS wanted. Unfortunately for all of us, the only people who have porcelain like skin are the cover models on magazines…after being airbrushed.  

Yes, that’s the bad news. If you were to ask almost any (reputable) dermatologist how to make your pores smaller, you’ll get the same exact answer: Once pores are enlarged, there really is no way to reduce their size. 

So what exactly are pores and what causes them to get larger? Is there a way to prevent it from happening? 

Kate Bosworth with Amazingly Small Pores

I’m sure all of these questions are either crossing your mind, or have at some point or another. In short, pores can best be described as dots that you can see on the skin. For some (lucky) woman these dots are small, while for others (not so lucky) these dots resemble the outside of an orange. These “dots” are ultimately the openings of hair follicles where hair basically decided not to grow. In each of these openings you find a sebaceous gland, which is TOTALLY necessary for your body not only produce natural oils but also is the avenue that it uses to release sweat and oil. Some of these pores are more noticeable, specifically the ones on your forehead nose and cheeks where the sebaceous glands tend to be bigger. 

But, those aren’t the only things that separate us when it comes to your pore size. Things like genetics (usually fair skinned people tend to have pores on the smaller side of the spectrum while people with olive or darker complexions have larger ones), your skin type, (if you have dry skin, your skin tends to look more “pore-less” while oily skin tends to show more “visible” pores) and exposure to the sun and age (the sun’s UV rays weaken the collagen that supports pores and keep them tight which is something that also happens as we age, thus making your pores look larger) all ultimately factor into the equation. 

Luckily though, while there might not be a way to permanently shrink your pores, there are ways to make them appear smaller, which is better than nothing. Just a few of the tricks I’ve come across I’m listing here for you all to enjoy a cleaner, more radiant and clearer look to your skin, and who doesn’t want that?

1. The biggest most important thing to remember is to keep your face clean. Wash your face twice daily, I suggest when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Of course, if you work out or do anything that causes excessive sweating wash it as soon as you can afterwards. It’s very important to remove all of the excess oil and bacteria from your skin BEFORE it clogs your pores, which will ultimately stretch your pores (making them bigger) and cause unsightly acne. Remember, it’s easier to prevent than to treat, and if by chance if you do end up with clog pores, under NO circumstance pick at it! No matter how strong the urge, its ALWAYS better to keep your skin clean than it is to cause trauma.

2. In addition to keeping your skin clean with regular washings, you can’t go wrong with exfoliation. Exfoliation ultimately clears any debris that might clogging (or trying to clog) your pores. A very inexpensive tip that I have for anyone who doesn’t want to shell out a gazillion dollars on a fancy skin care routine (yet still wants their skin to look like it’s undergone one) is something that is found in practically everyone’s kitchen: baking soda. Baking soda is one of those home remedies that even some of the biggest celebrity makeup artists swear by. (As for which ones…sorry I’m not telling!) 

Here’s what you do (be sure to do this only after washing your face):

Take equal parts baking soda and either water (normal skin, make sure the water is warm and not hot), extra virgin olive oil (dry skin, will give you a natural glow) or apple cider vinegar (oily skin, the vinegar acts as natural astringent). Roughly use about two tablespoons of each
Using your (clean) fingertips apply the mixture onto your face and massage in a circular motion, no need to be rough!
Rinse with warm water.
Follow this regimen 3-5 times a week once a day.

3. Now that you’ve cleaned your face and exfoliated you’ve got the surface of your skin covered but sometimes you need to get in deeper. This is where you can go ahead and do one of two things: Apply a toner to deep clean (make sure that whatever you decide to use doesn’t contain alcohol, which will dry out your face) another option is to use pore strips. For both of these options, you can go ahead and use over the counter products (Clean & Clear makes good toner while for pore strips you can’t go wrong with Biore) or, if you happen to be more inclined towards all natural products you can make your own in both instances.

For an all natural toner:
Mix about 30mL of apple cider vinegar with dried, crushed mint
Let sit for about a week
Strain out pieces of mint (cheesecloth works well for this part)
Use this mixture about once a day, it will tingle. Word of advice, use in the evening since there WILL be a strong vinegar odor.
For DIY pore strips:
Mix together one tablespoon UNFLAVORED gelatin and one to two tablespoons milk. The amount of milk you use is really up to you and how chunky you want the mixture to be. Try and not make the mixture too thin or it won’t work.
Put in the microwave for 10-15 seconds on High
This is the tricky part; you MUST work quickly for the mixture turns to gelatin REALLY quick! Put the mixture wherever you feel the need to.
Wait 10-15 minutes until the mask is hard. (I promise you’ll know when it’s time) 
Peel it off! You’ll be able to see everything that your pores were harboring.

4. To further open up your pores, try doing a steam bath. The way you do this is simple; boil water in a pot that is slightly larger than your face. Once the water has boiled, put the pot on a hard surface and put your face over the pot. (Be sure not to touch your face to the water or the pot!) While you’re doing this, it helps if you have a towel over your head so that the steam doesn’t escape. Do this for about 10 minutes straight.

5. To further tighten the appearance of your pores, after steaming, take a washcloth and drench it in pineapple and lemon juice. Take this washcloth and apply it firmly to your face for about one minute. Rinse any residue with warm water. I know this might sound strange, but pineapple and lemon juice contain natural enzymes that tighten and firm skin while brightening and purifying at the same time. The best part, both items can be found at your local supermarket. (Word to the wise, don’t buy artificial!)

6. Another simple remedy is to apply ice. Yes, that’s right, your normal run of the mill ice cubes can greatly help reduce the appearance of your pores by (temporarily) tightening the skin. I personally like to use green tea or even peppermint tea as it just feels more refreshing on my skin; and both items have been known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties when applied topically.

7. Drink lots of water! Water is essential to keeping your skin hydrated. Remember, dehydration is makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled. A good rule of thumb to remember when it comes to drinking water is divide your body weight by half. Therefore, if you weigh 120lbs you should aim to drink 60 ounces of water per day.

8. Moisturize. Moisturizer creates a barrier on your skin sealing in the moisture. Look for a moisturizer that’s oil free and has sunscreen. Apply daily.

9. Don’t smoke. This one is pretty self explanatory in my opinion. 

10. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of citrus mixed in. Much like the idea of lemon helping to brighten your skin, it has been proven that eating a diet rich in citrus fruit (specifically oranges and tangerines) helps produce firmer skin and rebuild collagen. 

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