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.
Do you have a beauty, wellness or self-care find that you've tried recently and want to share your experience? Join the xoTribe members community to connect with other beauty lovers and share your wins with the tribe.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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