Finding the best home remedies for enlarged pores isn’t easy. First, you need to consider your age and skin type. Second, it’s important to identify and address the cause of your problem. Enlarged facial pores can have a multitude of causes, including skin conditions like acne and rosacea, explains a 2016 review published in the journal Cutis. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role, too. That’s why it’s crucial to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.
Enlarged pores are not a medical concern but rather a cosmetic issue, notes Healthline. Depending on their cause, they may turn into blackheads or whiteheads. For example, if your skin produces excess sebum, your pores can expand and become blocked with oil. “[Pores] can get stretched out when they’re clogged with dirt, oil, dead skin cells, or other debris, or when the skin has lost some of its structural support — collagen — because of sun damage or even just because of normal aging, especially after menopause,” dermatologist Dr. Robert Anolik told Goop.
Facials, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and other treatments can shrink your pores, says Anolik. “A facial makes your skin glow for several days afterward because it exfoliates the skin’s surface, unclogging thousands of pores on your face,” he adds. However, there are a couple of things you can try at home to improve the appearance of your pores. All you need are a few basic ingredients.
Clay or charcoal masks are very effective for unclogging pores
Excess sebum, dirt, makeup residue, and dead skin cells can clog your pores and make them appear larger. That’s where regular exfoliation, salicylic acid, and retinol may help, says the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). The AAD recommends using only non-comedogenic skincare products and cosmetics to prevent your pores from clogging. You may also need to cleanse your skin about twice a day to reduce oiliness.
One of the most effective ways to unclog your pores is to use clay or charcoal masks, according to dermatologist Shari Marchbein (via Women’s Health). Both clay and charcoal are effective at reducing oil production while removing impurities and bacteria. For best results, apply a facial mask at least twice a week to unclog and shrink your pores. Marchbein also suggests using adhesive pore strips once a week or more often. The effects are temporary, but your skin will look better for that special date or photoshoot.
Coarse salt, coffee grounds, and other common ingredients can be used as home remedies for enlarged pores, too. Coffee grounds, for instance, are ideal for homemade scrubs, notes Verywell Health. With their slightly abrasive texture, they exfoliate and soften your skin. Verywell Health recommends mixing the grounds with plain or vanilla yogurt and then applying the mask to your face and neck. Use it once or twice per week to reap the benefits.
Shrink and tighten large pores with apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is best known for its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. You might have heard that it may reduce acne, dry out whiteheads, and improve skin appearance. You can even use it as a natural deodorant or facial toner to dry out whiteheads. What you may not know is that apple cider vinegar can shrink and tighten your pores, reports Vogue.
This natural beverage is rich in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), a group of naturally occurring organic acids. When used topically, AHAs remove the top layers of dead skin cells and increase skin firmness, explains WebMD. In the long run, they may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Vogue recommends swapping your regular toner for a mixture of ACV and distilled water.
Lifestyle writer Courtney Leiva washed her face with apple cider vinegar daily for one week as part of her work for Bustle. Her facial pores started to look a lot smaller after just five days. She recommends using it no more than two or three times per week, though. Due to its acidic nature, ACV can dry and irritate your skin with daily use.
Home remedies cannot permanently change your pore size
While there are plenty of other home remedies for enlarged pores, none of them has permanent results. “Unfortunately, once pores have stretched, they cannot go back to their original size,” Dr. Nina Bal told Glamour. However, “large pores can continue enlarging if you allow them to stretch out and become clogged with whiteheads, blackheads, sebum, and dirt,” says Bal. To prevent these issues, it’s essential to cleanse and exfoliate your skin regularly.
Bal also recommends limiting sun exposure, a contributing factor to enlarged pores. Ultraviolet rays cause elastin and collagen to break down, affecting the skin’s elasticity. As a result, your facial pores may appear larger. Ideally, use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 40 or higher, suggests Bal. Apply it every day, even when it’s cold outside.
All in all, prevention is your best defense against skin problems. As a rule of thumb, always remove your makeup before going to bed and cleanse your skin every morning and evening. Use oil-free, non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products to keep your pores from clogging. Go makeup-free at the gym and avoid touching your face. These simple rules can dramatically improve the appearance of your skin and make the pores appear smaller.
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