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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Jada Pinkett Smith is speaking her piece on the status of her marriage with longtime love Will Smith. On the heels of releasing her highly anticipated memoir, Worthy, Jada is gracing the cover of PEOPLE and sharing the truth about her mental health struggles throughout the years, the infamous Oscars slap, and her marriage.
According to the 52-year-old author, though she seemed to "have it all" in life - the riches, the fame, the love, the family, there was a part of her that couldn't escape her past traumas and depression that plagued her early on in her career. "While I was really living the dream, I hit a huge wall — a massive amount of depression. I think that I looked at having outside sources to supplement for the voids that I was feeling inside," she told PEOPLE.
By the time she turned 40, she had encountered her breaking point and spiraled so deeply that she saw no way out for herself aside from death. She went on to say that she heard voices in her head telling her to end her life and that told her of her unworthiness, pulling her deeper into her depression. "I started looking for places, cliffs where I could have an accident because I didn't want my kids to think that their mother had committed suicide.”
Jada credited friends of her son Jaden for putting her on to ayahuasca, a powerful and traditional plant-based brew used for shamanic and healing rituals known for its psychoactive properties. She said partaking in ayahuasca changed her profoundly and "the suicidal thoughts completely went away."
"Ayahuasca helped me, it gave me a new intimate relationship with myself that I had never had before," she told the outlet about her first time taking the psychedelic. Keep reading for more key takeaways from Jada's PEOPLE exclusive.
Jada Pinkett Smith on the status of her marriage to Will Smith:
In what might have been a shocking revelation to most, Jada revealed to the world that she and Will have actually been separated for the past six years, going on seven years. She explained the status of their 26-year marriage to PEOPLE:
“We’re still figuring it out. We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
Jada on how her relationship with Will Smith caused her to abandon her mental health:
As her star in Hollywood was rising thanks to starring roles in projects like A Different World, Jason's Lyric, and Set It Off, Jada revealed that she was taking Prozac and being treated for depression and suicidal ideation. Meeting Will would cause her to develop a false sense of not needing to take care of her mental health.
"Once I met Will, I completely abandoned my mental health. I was so intoxicated by him and our dynamic. I really felt like I'm cured," she said to PEOPLE. "He became the drug."
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Jada Pinkett Smith on the self-acceptance her kids have taught her:
“They love every part of me. The level of love, unconditional love that they have for me and their dad. And it's one thing to want to be the person that gives that unconditional love. And then there's, to be the recipient of that.”
For the full cover story and photos, head over to PEOPLE here.
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In 2023, the dating scene feels like an uphill battle.
Putting in too much effort can make you come off as desperate for love, and being nonchalant can make you appear cold and distant. And some could argue that the lines of communication between dating prospects aren’t just blurred, they’re obliterated by the fear of rejection and lack of clarity. Still, when things fizzle out, there tends to be a mutual understanding of providing the other party with at least the slightest bit of insight into why things won’t be moving forward.
But when that doesn’t occur, one behavior that’s easy to fall back into is that of ghosting.
As many of us have come to learn, ghosting has become a common communication default in modern dating. It’s that sudden and complete end to communication and contact with someone, typically in a romantic relationship, without any explanation or prior notice. To be “ghosted” is to be cut off from texts, calls, and FaceTime calls so abruptly that it’s as if the person pulled a full disappearing act on you.
And let’s be clear: no one likes the feeling.
Ghosting hurts. It’s disorienting and confusing, and it leaves the person who was ghosted with unanswered questions that can lead to feelings of rejection and frustration. And let’s not forget, it’s sort of an immature way of ending a relationship in an effort to avoid confrontation. But what’s worse is when the “ghoster” acts as if it never happened in the first place. And that’s when we have a ghostlighting situation on our hands.
What Is Ghostlighting?
The term “ghostlighting” is just as the name suggests, it’s the melding of ghosting and gaslighting — the act of making someone doubt their own reality — that could send even God’s strongest of soldiers into a mental tailspin. It’s when someone vanishes out of your life for an extended period of time, only to return as if it never happened; no explanation or apologies, just a casual, “Hey, how’s it going?”
You’re probably wondering how someone could even have the capacity to do both gaslighting and ghosting to a person, and well, the reasons can vary:
Communication Skills Are Lacking:
If you’re being ghostlighted, you’re dealing with someone who may be conflict-avoidant. When someone ghosts you, there’s a high chance that they’re avoiding a difficult or uncomfortable conversation, or they may find it challenging to express their feelings, so they choose to disappear instead.
Once their feelings have been processed, days or even weeks later, they could turn up and not think it’s worth rehashing.
They’re Spinning the Block:
Easily the worst reason of all is a ghostlighter could be trying to see if they can spin the block on you or give you another try. When someone ghostlights you and doesn’t care to mention the reason for their disappearance or apologize for the impact it may have caused, it’s a clear sign of emotional manipulation.
In this case, they could have ghosted you to focus on their “number one” choice, and after things didn’t work out, they’re coming back around to see if there’s still an opportunity to “retry” things with you. And if that happens to be the case: run.
Sometimes life’s circumstances can truly get the best of us, and when that happens, we can either face it or run in the complete opposite direction.
Whether they were feeling the pressure from their job, family issues arose, or they hit a bout of depression and didn’t know how to share the news, the needs of their personal life might have taken precedence over that of their romantic responsibilities.
While it sucks to feel like an afterthought in someone’s list of priorities, try your best not to take it personally — after all, it wasn’t you, it was life.
How To Move Forward From Being Ghostlighted
Whatever the case and cause of your ghostlighing experience may be, it’s important to take time to reflect on how it made you feel without internalizing it as a character flaw on your end. Sometimes, a potential match may not work out, but no one deserves to be left wondering “why” or made to believe it never happened in the first place.
When you’ve been ghostlighted, and that person re-enters your life, pause and reflect about how you’d like to respond, stand in your truth, and don’t allow them to fuel any more new feelings of confusion. You know what’s real, and it’s up to you whether you cut them off completely or just need to set proper communication boundaries for what you will and won’t tolerate.
Whatever course of action you choose to take, just remember that no one gets to shape your reality but you.
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