Once that clock springs ahead, not only do we lose an hour of our precious beauty rest, but we get more daylight—and you know what that means, right? Your skin—and your pores are on full display. Like, all the time.
Now, we know it’s what’s on the inside that really matters, but oversized pores can make us feel self-conscious. There’s nothing wrong with seeking to remedy that even if you can’t reduce pore size without surgery (and even then it’s pretty darn sketchy).
But even though you can’t shrink your pores, you can make your skin look more dewy, glowy, and healthy with a few all-natural DIY tips and tricks, which of course we’ve got for you just below.
How to Make Pores Look Smaller, Naturally
- Exfoliate: It’s kind of our answer for everything, but for very good reason. Exfoliating the with a fruit-acid-based product removes the dead skin cells that can clog your pores making them more noticeable. While our serums are rich in fruit acids, we also offer cleansing grains that can help put a little exfoliating punch into your skin care regimen. You can also try using diluted apple cider vinegar for a little exfoliating action as well. To really notice a difference, exfoliate twice per week.
- Cleanse: The rubbing and rinsing may make it feel like you’re just breaking open your pores but like exfoliating, cleansing is crucial to remove dead skin and debris. And as the weather starts to warm up, your sweaty skin will need regular cleansing a few times per day. While some makeup can effectively cover up pore size, some can just clog them and make it worse. So try to decrease your makeup in warmer months, especially heavy foundations.
- Bump Up the SPF: I know, trust me. Spring is here and you just want to roll around in the warm sun like a puppy. And you totally can. Just dab that sunscreen on ‘fore you get your roll on. Sun-damaged skin will show pores more readily, and over time, it can lead to wrinkling and sagging, too. Hats are super on trend right now, so slather on the SPF and don your favorite bonnet to keep those pores perky.
- Needle: MIcroneedling is super on trend right now. It’s a procedure that can be done by a licensed esthetician or at home. And yes, it does involve tiny needles all over your face. But according to devoted microneedlers, it really works to improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of pores. And compared to laser treatments or fillers, it’s incredibly affordable, too.
- Retinoids: Vitamin A when applied topically in the form of retinoids are like a supersize exfoliant that prevents dead skin cell build-up. They also boost collagen production which keeps the pores firmer and can make them appear less visible. But be cautious when using retinoid-containing products as they may make you more prone to sun damage. So be sure you’re adequately armed with sunscreen.
What’s better than healthy skin? How about luminescent-just-fell-from-the-stars looking skin? Okay. Maybe that’s a stretch, but with our tips for glowing skin, you may find yourself feeling like you descended from the stars, if not the heavens above.
First, though, what does “glowing skin” really mean? No, we’re not talking oily or greasy, although, that can certainly give you a glow of sorts. According to Glamour magazine, “glowing” might be the most overused word when it comes to aspirational skin goals. And we certainly don’t want to glow in a radioactive neon kind of way, either, right?
What most women (and men!) aspire to with glowing skin is not only healthy and clean skin, but balanced, blemish-free, with redness in all the right places (cheeks, lips), and maybe, just maybe, a hint of dewiness—you know, as if your fall from the stars landed you right into a fairy forest bed of damp flowers.
Glowing skin should not be a stereotype or a slant to women who have problem skin—it’s a goal that can be achieved by anyone, anytime. Here are our top tips for glowing skin.
- Glow from within: Yeah, yeah it’s maybe hokey, and we’ll certainly get to some more practical applications in a bit, but if you’re lacking confidence or an inner fire, it’s going to show up on your face if nowhere else. Love your life, even the hard parts, and live with confidence and commitment to achieve that inner glow.
- Eat clean: You knew this one was coming! But how can you expect your skin or any part of your body (inside or out) to glow if you’re eating junk food? Eat healthy whole foods, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course, lots and lots of water.
- Wash and exfoliate properly: Like the food we eat, what we put on our skin matters. Stay away from harsh cleansers that may irritate your skin. Instead, stick with natural soaps with gently ingredients. And instead of using harsh scrubbing cleansers, use gentle fruit acid exfoliants to reveal healthier skin.
- SPF: Of course a little bit of sun will give you an almost instant glow, but without sun protection by way of a strong SPF, you risk serious skin damage that will do the opposite of get you glowing.
- Moisturize effectively: Our skin goes through phases—sometimes we need more moisture than others. You’ll get to know your skin’s signs the more you pay attention. Sometimes you might need a simple, straight moisture treatment like pure argan or jojoba oil. Other times you may need a richer moisturizer based in butters like shea or cocoa butter. Oftentimes though, you’ll need something in the middle, a hydrating moisture product that can keep your skin balanced, and of course, glowing.
Large pores can make even the healthiest skin look lackluster, but do products that claim to shrink pores really work?
Ah, the face. It’s our identity—literally. It’s our personality, our introduction to the world, and yet it’s so delicate and so sensitive. Its fragility is part of its allure, of course, but it can also be its downfall, especially for people with sensitive skin or large pores.
Many try to combat large pores with products or procedures claiming to decrease pore size, but it’s not exactly possible, Natarsha Bimson, an aesthetician at the celeb-approved Spa Sophia in Venice, California told Well+Good.
“One of the cute little phrases that goes around the industry is ‘Pores ain’t doors’—they don’t open and close,” she said. “Even when we steam the skin in a facial, it’s not to ‘open’ anything—it’s to soften the pores [and their contents], so they’re easier for us to extract.”
The reality is pore sizes don’t change—at least, not much after you’ve hit puberty. Once your skin starts to mature, the pores you have are the pores you’re stuck. Blame your parents and their parents for this as pore size mostly has to do with genetics. Just like skin tone and its propensity to wrinkle (or not)—if you want to know how your pores are going to age, spend some time staring at your mother or grandmother’s face.
But regardless of genetics—pore size doesn’t mean you can’t work with what you have to help your pores appear less noticeable and to make skin look and feel its best.
The key for healthy pores is clean skin. No brainer, right?
Those with larger pores may do best to exfoliate more often in order to help remove dirt and dead skin cells that can clog pores and make them appear larger. Don’t overdo it—aggravated pores will appear larger, not smaller.
Work with exfoliating products like fruit acids instead of scrubs, which can irritate the skin and make pores appear even larger. A good fruit acid-based toner or moisturizing serum used regularly can help to keep pores clean and blemish free.
And be sure to use a good SPF. While a tan will give you that healthful glow, what you don’t want to happen is sunburned skin. That can lead to skin damage and increase wrinkles and the appearance of pore size.
Daily skin cleansing is commonplace. Most of us do it without a thought—we wash our face in the shower (morning or evening) and probably do a quick face wash in the sink at the other end of the day. Well, when it comes to how to wash your face, it’s not as simple as you’d think (or hope) it should be.
How to Wash Your Face (the Wrong Way)
Just because you’ve been doing it your whole life doesn’t mean it’s right. Are you washing your face like this?
- Scalding hot water—this can dry out and damage your skin. It’s a no-no.
- Harsh chemical ingredients—soaps and facial cleansers can be made with alcohol and other drying or damaging ingredients (more on the ones you want in a bit.)
- Rough sponges, washcloths, or loofahs–these can also irritate and damage skin.
- Leaving your makeup on may seem like it makes sense, you are washing your face, after all, but it’s not the best practice for clean skin.
- Wetting your skin too much before you apply the cleanser can wash it away leaving to unclean skin.
How to Wash Your Face (the Right Way)
Yes, there is a right way to do it. Give these best practices a shot and see if your skin doesn’t look amazing after a few weeks.
- Use lukewarm or cool water—cold water if you want extra points. Cold water shrinks the pores and is quite invigorating and won’t damage the skin like hot water.
- Use natural ingredients—cleansers need to be strong enough to remove dirt and oil, but no so strong they can strip paint. While many commercial products promise effective cleansing benefits, they may be too harsh, particularly for delicate skin. And if they’re stripping away all of your skin’s natural oils, you can be left with overly aggressive oil glands, that can lead to breakouts.
- Exfoliating is a key component to cleansing the skin, but don’t overdo it with harsh scrubbing products or tools. Try to find a balance between natural exfoliants like fruit acids, and stronger treatments used less frequently. For everyday cleansing, use your hands or a gentle electric skin brush on the softest setting.
- Make sure you remove all of your makeup before washing. Oils are the best at taking off makeup (especially heavy foundation and mascara). Swipe cotton balls soaked in jojoba, almond oil, or another skin-friendly oil (or blend) until makeup is removed. Then wash as usual.
- Yes, starting with dry skin when you wash is ideal. Use a little water to activate your soap in your hands, but apply to a dry face for best results.
- Follow your cleansing with skin toning products to brighten and rejuvenate your skin tone and be sure to apply a hydrating moisturizer and SPF protection.
Image: Lucho Molino