If you've ever wondered what your pores actually are, they are tiny holes all over your body that house hair follicles. Within each pore, there is a sebaceous gland that holds the oil that our body naturally produces. If you've also wondered why it seems like you barely see your pores on places like your arms and legs but sometimes they can seem big as all get out on your forehead, cheeks and nose, that's because our sebaceous glands are larger there (which also explains why we tend to experience more breakouts on those parts of our body).
I don't know about you but, ever since I can remember, I've had some relatively large pores, especially on my face. It used to really annoy me until I discovered that 1) they oftentimes happen when you've got naturally oily skin (which isn't a bad thing if you keep the oil in check because oil can help to slow down the aging process), and 2) one way to prevent them from looking even larger is to not pick at pimples (because that can further damage your pores). Once that information was downloaded into my brain and I started taking better care of my skin, my pores appeared smaller over time.
So, what are some of the things that I do to keep my pores from showin' out? Below are 10 that are easy, all-natural and sure to keep your pores smaller-looking too.
Any time skincare tips come up, you're gonna be hard-pressed to not see exfoliation on the list. That's because exfoliating removes dead skin cells which leads to an even skin tone, a smoother skin texture, skin detoxification, less breakouts and definitely, unclogged pores. When your pores are filled with sebum, dirt and other gunk, not only can it stretch your pores out, it can block your pores and create inflammation which can make your pores look a lot larger too. That's why you should make it a point and practice to exfoliate your skin, no less than a couple of times each week. Click here for tips on how to make your own body scrub and here for tips on how to make your own chemical peel.
2. DIY a Toner
Although some skincare experts consider toner to be an optional tip, I find the benefits to be valid enough that I decided to add them to this list. Toner is simply a liquid-based way to rebalance your skin. When you use it regularly, toner is able to remove impurities, hydrate your skin, soothe any skin irritation you might have, speed up the healing process of pimples and even prevent premature aging. Because it's able to do all of this, your pores can remain healthy which can also keep them looking smaller.
When I tone my skin, I typically use witch hazel; it contains properties that heal the skin as it relieves irritation, reduces inflammation and deep cleanses pores. If you want to give your skin an extra treat, add a half-teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (it's an exfoliant in liquid form) and a few drops of lavender essential oil (it's a skin soother that has antifungal properties in it). Either apply the toner with a couple of cotton balls or put it into a spray bottle to give your skin a light mist.
3. Apply a Clay Mask
If your skin is naturally oily, that can stretch your pores out over time. Something that you can do to keep the sebum that you produce in check is to apply a clay mask once a week. Not only will it reduce the amount of oil that you have, it can also draw out impurities which will prevent your pores from clogging up (which also stretches them). A mask that I personally like is bentonite clay. It's cheap, it's effective and it's something that you can easily apply to your face or your entire body (by sprinkling some of it into your bath water). You can get tips—and benefits—for applying this mask, click here.
4. Moisturize Daily
There are a lot of reasons why it's important to moisturize your skin on a daily basis. It protects your skin from dirt, dust and debris. It seals in the moisture that your skin already has. It makes up for some of the hydration that your skin might've lost too. Another thing that moisturizing does is keep your skin from drying out, which can also lead to larger pores. How? Well, when your skin gets too dry, what your body typically does is automatically produce more sebum. If your pores end up with too much of it, that can cause them to become bigger. This is why you should definitely make sure to apply some moisturizer to your face and neck, every day and evening. Personally, I'm all about using a light layer of sweet almond oil, but if you need a little help picking a moisturizer out (check out the article, "Best Face Moisturizer For Black Skin In 2020". It's got some pretty cool referrals.)
5. Give Yourself a Vitamin C and Aloe Vera Treatment
Aloe vera contains vitamins A and C, antioxidants, enzymes, glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it's made up of between 98-99 percent water which makes it an awesome way to hydrate your skin while soothing your pores at the same time. Vitamin C builds your immune system, detoxifies your body, helps you to produce more collagen and also helps to break down the bacteria that could clog up your pores and ultimately stretch them out. If you grate and then blend a medium-sized orange with two tablespoons of 100 percent pure Aloe Vera gel, it can serve as a pore-protecting remedy. Just apply it to your freshly washed face, let it penetrate for 15 minutes and thoroughly rinse off with cool water.
6. Make Your Own Primer
If you're trying to make your pores appear smaller while you've got a full face of make-up on, something that you might want to do is apply a primer, right after washing, toning and moisturizing your skin but right before applying your foundation. Basically what a primer does is make your skin appear extra smooth so that your make-up glides on like butter.
As far as commercial brands go, a lot of primers contain silicone (which is a good base ingredient). But if you'd prefer to make some of your own, mixing one-part Aloe vera with one-part moisturizer will do the trick. Oh, and you might want to go easy on bronzers too; they tend to draw attention to pores rather than minimize them.
7. Use Sunscreen
It really can't be said enough that, just because we as Black women are blessed to have more melanin in our skin, that doesn't mean that UV rays still can't do a real number to it over time. One of the main ways it does is it causes free radicals to not only break down our skin's natural elastin, but make our pores appear larger than they actually are. That's why it's so important to make it a priority to apply sunscreen; not just during the summer season but all year long.
8. Try a Little Fresh Papaya
If you apply some papaya on your skin, it'll love it! Thanks to the Vitamin A and papain enzyme that's this particular fruit, papaya is able to remove dead skin cells, revive tired skin and keep it hydrated, all at the same time. All you need to do is mash up one-half of a papaya and add three spoons of honey to it (honey is a deep cleanser and a humectant at the same time). After washing your face, apply the mask and let it sit on your face for 10 minutes. Then rinse, tone and moisturize. It will help to shrink your pores while giving you a natural glow at the same time.
9. Eat More Collagen
Something that happens to us as we age is our body produces less and less collagen. Collagen is a protein that produces structure to our bones, ligaments and yes, our skin. When collagen is lacking, it can cause our skin to sag, wrinkles to form and yep, you guessed it, pores to widen. There are collagen supplements that you can take to give your system an extra dose. Or, if you'd prefer, you can add more collagen to your diet via collagen-rich foods. Some that top the list include citrus fruits, berries, bone broth, leafy greens, cashews, chicken and seafood.
10. Keep Your Hands Off of Your Face
If there's any tip that has me out here preaching to the choir, it would be this one. If you're someone who constantly has your hands on your face to pick pimples, not only is that delaying the healing process but it could cause the bacteria that's in one pimple to literally spill over into some of your skin's other pores. In fact, having your hands all over your face, in general, can spread bacteria, fill up your pores and cause them to stretch out and become larger. So, unless you are washing and/or moisturizing your face, be intentional about leaving it totally alone. It's a surefire way to make your pores, not only appear smaller, but so much healthier too.
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