Ah, pores. These tiny openings are responsible for many incredible things: allowing hair to leave the body, allowing moisture to absorb into the body, and providing a way for your skin to, you might say, breathe. What happens, though, when these wondrous little workers go from small soldiers to enormous vigilantes? Enlarged pores result, alongside furious adults.
What Causes Enlarged Pores?
There is no single cause for enlarged pores. Some are blessed with genetic markers that include miniscule pores, while others are (arguably) cursed with readily-visible, large pores. For this cause, there is no real cure, apart from keeping your skin clean and healthy.
What about those, though, who enjoy smooth skin for a significant portion of their life, only to wake up to gaping holes in their face? Fortunately for these individuals, there is a likely cause and, consequently, a likely cure.
The most common cause for enlarged pores is a simple lack of cleanliness. Bear in mind that you can wash your face day and night, and still suffer from “dirty” pores. This is due to the nature of oil and pH balance of the skin. Many harsh cleansers actually create problematic skin, as they create imbalances in your skin’s pH level and sebum (oil) production, leading to either dry skin (resulting in sagging and stretched pores) or to excessively oily skin, resulting in clogged pores…which then appear larger and more pronounced.
How Are Pores Reduced?
Pores are reduced through a careful regimen of restoring your skin’s pH balance, regulating sebum production, and maintaining clear, healthy skin. This means implementing a new regimen including:
- Facial cleansing
Although diet and exercise may not seem to be directly related to the size of your pores, they both play an important role in your body’s regulatory systems, and will assist you in balancing the production of oils for your skin and hair.
Although implementing these new routines may at first seem taxing, within 30-60 days, your body will begin to regenerate, and the old layers of damaged skin and detoxing symptoms will fade away, leaving you with clearer, healthier skin and—of course—smaller, less visible pores.
Each type of remedy is divided into the categories identified above: cleansing, exercising, and diet. Although some of the methods may seem counterintuitive, remember this: in order to regulate oil production, your body must receive an adequate intake of oils and fats, lest you risk overcompensation.
First Up: Cleansers
Facial cleansers are going to be among the first steps you take to reduce pore size. Steer clear of any cleansers containing phthalates or sulfates, as both of these ingredients effectively strip your skin of its natural oils, resulting in the over-production of sebum.
Instead, opt for cleansers using oils such as coconut, jojoba, or apricot. All of these provide cleansing options, without harsh, stripping ingredients. You can purchase these cleansers, such as Silk Naturals’ Apricot Cleansing Oil. Typically, store-bought oil cleansers contain emulsifiers that allow you to remove the oil in one fell swoop, rather than having to heat and wipe off homemade oil mixtures several times.
Another excellent option is charcoal cleansers. Charcoal cleansers, such as the Yes to Tomatoes’ Activated Charcoal Bar, are excellent for large pores, as they help balance the skin’s pH levels, detoxify skin, and discourage blackheads from forming. If your enlarged pores are, largely, due to developing blackheads, a charcoal cleanser is likely to work for you.
Implementing a regular exercise program will do wonders for your skin; as your body grows stronger and healthier, its intrinsic systems begin to function properly, and distribute oils and energy properly. Why is this important for your skin? The most powerful cleansing ritual in the world cannot correct internal imbalances; this has to be done through diet and exercise.
Before you run to your nearest gym and sign up for a membership, take a moment to consider your preferred brand of exercise. While many men and women swear by weight lifting and resistance training, many others benefit from more relaxed, natural movement—movement found in activities such as walking, yoga, swimming, and biking. Although these do not pack a large cardiac punch, they all stimulate the body’s lymphatic and nerve systems, resulting in a stronger, healthier, and more efficient internal system.
Be sure to clean your face after you’ve finished exercising; because you will likely be breaking at least a small sweat, you’ll want to make sure you’ve cleared away the dirt and sweat accumulated through exercise. This can be achieved by simply splashing water on your face and dabbing it away with a towel, or can be done through your habitual morning or evening cleansing routine. Whatever the case, be sure to avoid harsh, stripping cleansers.
Last Up: Diet
Diet is, arguably, one of the most difficult areas in which to effect change. Most western nations have diets high in poorly-digested fats, unhealthy oils, processed sugar, and sodium. All of these ingredients can lead to a breakdown in the digestive system and, consequently, the remainder of the bodily systems, resulting in dry or oily skin, and the development of acne and enlarged pores. To combat this unhealthy diet and unhealthy bodily functions, you must implement powerful, antioxidant-rich staples.
To begin, you must ensure your body has an adequate intake of healthy fats. For the carnivorous among us, dairy is an excellent way to receive these fats (think milk, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, and ghee), as well as meat and fish. If vegetarianism or veganism are more your speed, avocados are incredibly rich in their fatty content, as are nuts and seeds. Making these foots staples in your diet will go a long way in providing more youthful skin.
After healthy fats come oils. Although many vegetable oils, such as canola oil, are commonplace in most people’s diets, many of these oils become unstable at high temperatures and are, essentially, rancid. Instead, use olive oil for cool or cold meals, and coconut or avocado oil for meals in which heat is present. This will ensure that you receive the healthy benefits of the oil, without the risk of creating rancid dishes.
Implement fruits and vegetables as much as possible; fruits and vegetables are powerhouses, providing countless vitamins and minerals necessary to creating strong, healthy bodily systems, and essential to the development of a clear, bright, small-pored visage.
Finally, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to flush your system and provide lubrication for your body’s joints and digestive system. A good rule of thumb is this: consume half your body weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, your goal should be to consume 75 ounces of water per day. Many water sources are deficient in the minerals needed to properly absorb moisture, so consider adding a small pinch of sea salt to remineralize your water.
The road to reduced pores is not an overnight journey, but is one well worth your while; in the pursuit of smoother skin, you will not only treat your skin with kindness, but your entire body. As you invest in new products to improve the appearance of your pores, make sure you identify the ingredients within your cleansers, and avoid harsh, chemical ingredients. This rule can also be applied to your food and beverage intake, as well as your exercise regimen; do not invest in fad diets, trendy fitness programs, or fad skincare. Instead, purchase quality, wholesome ingredients that will nourish you from the inside out, resulting in brighter, clearer, smoother skin, and reduced pores.