None of us like to have large pores dotted all over the face. It not only feels awful but also makes the skin look dull and aged. Adding to the woes is the pollution and grime that gets collected in them. As a result, these harmless imperfections sometimes evolve into further complications of blackheads, acne, etc. While we blame it on our genes or oily skin and turn to expensive skin care products, some simple home remedies can help us minimize open pores naturally. But before learning about them, we will understand what pores are and what causes them to enlarge. Let’s start.
What are Skin Pores?
Being the largest organ of the body, our skin contains millions of invisible pores spread from the face to the legs. These tiny holes on the surface of a person’s skin are the home of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (produces ‘sebum‘ or body’s natural oil). They allow our skin to breathe by releasing oils, sweat, and other microscopic materials through them. Apart from this, pores cool off our body and detoxify it, thus keeping the skin clean and healthy.
Pores are present in all types of skin. Whether you have dry, oily, sensitive. combination, or even normal skin, it has pores all over it.
What are Open Skin Pores?
Well, pores cannot be ‘closed’ as they are already open. As we said earlier, they are openings of our hair follicles, which also let oils and sweat escape through them. However, some of us may have larger skin pores, especially on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, which are more noticeable than others. Sometimes, they even get clogged with oil, dead cells, dirt, grime, etc., leaving your skin dull and unattractive. That is why many women dislike their appearance and feel concerned about them. While there are no ways to close the pores completely or make them smaller in size, they can be made less prominent on the skin by following the method of unclogging. As you deep cleanse your pores by removing excess oil and debris, they look as if they got shrunk or closed.
What Cause Large Open Pores?
Small pit-like pores all over the skin are caused by several factors. Some of the most common reasons behind these large open pores are (1):
- Genetics: How we look is largely based on our genetics and it may determine the size of our skin pores too.
- Excess Sebum: The over-secretion of sebaceous glands makes the skin oily, which may also enlarge the pores over time.
- Build-Ups: Sebum rises to the top of the skin and collects in pores, which again combines with sweat, dirt, dead cells, makeup, etc. If not properly cleansed, these build-ups may make small pores look larger. They may also clog the pores and lead to several skin problems like acne, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads eventually.
- Thick Hair Follicles: When the pores get clogged, the volume of hair follicles present in them also gets increased. It also increases the size of the pores.
- Aging: As we age, our skin loses elasticity around the pores due to the less production of collagen in it. This makes them appear enlarged.
- Climate: Those living in humid areas (tropics or warm countries) usually have large pores as overexposure to the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun stretches their skin and, in turn, expands the pores.
- Wrong Skincare and Makeup: Following an unhealthy skincare practice and using non-comedogenic makeup products may give rise to open pores too.
The number of sebaceous glands are the maximum in the skin on the face, back, chest, and groin. Hence, the pores on these areas may appear larger than they do on other parts of the body.
Home Remedies to Minimize Open Pores Naturally
A 2015 study concluded that the size of skin pores is purely an aesthetic consideration (2). It can also be said that pore-closing products are nothing but a myth. The only step you can take is to remove all the nasty things accumulated in the pores and keep them unclogged. Here are 10 simple home remedies to minimize open pores naturally:
Give yourself a steamy facial twice a week. You might argue that this opens up pores even more and makes you sweat. Well, the idea is to open them up and clean out thoroughly by eliminating all oil, dirt, and grime settled inside. You can also add some skin-friendly herbs or essential oils (clove essential oil, cinnamon bark essential oil, etc.) to the steam to reap the maximum benefits. Once done with steaming, wash off your face with a mild cleanser and cold water. Then, apply rose water or any toner of your choice to seal the pores and prevent new bacteria from entering. This will remove the discoloration caused by clogged pores and minimize their sizes to make them less visible.
2. Lemon Juice Mask
Lemon juice has excellent astringent properties, which help tighten the skin by unclogging the pores and shrinking them over time. The citric acid content of lemon juice loosens as well as breaks the chemical bond between the impurities and the skin, thus clearing out pores naturally (3). It also regulates the production of sebum in the skin. Being a natural source of vitamin C, it whitens the skin and gives it a healthy glow too. Simply cut the lemon into half, dilute its juice with some water, and apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then, wash off with lukewarm water.
3. Honey, Sugar, and Lemon Scrub
Apart from lemon, the other two ingredients used in this scrub are also effective in reducing pore size. Honey is a natural astringent that shrinks large open pores, especially in areas like nose, cheeks, etc. while the antioxidant properties of the ingredient make the skin look healthy and youthful (4). On the other hand, sugar exfoliates the skin by sloughing dead cell build-ups off the pores. Before starting, you must cleanse your face well. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of brown or white sugar until it forms a grainy paste of medium consistency. Massage it well into the damp face for 5 minutes and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Finish it up with a toner and moisturizer.
4. Papaya Mask
Papaya is not only an amazing exfoliator but it also unclogs the pores and eliminates blackheads by purifying the skin deeply (5). The fruit is also known for its potent antioxidants that help in toning and tightening the skin. So, the next time you cut papaya, save a few pieces for your face. You can mash them into a paste and apply the mask to your face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then, wash it off with cold water.
5. Clay Mask
When it comes to minimizing pores by drying the sebum underneath and pulling impurities out of them, clay masks work wonder. They may even reduce inflammation and the appearance of acne lesions by 54% when combined with jojoba oil (6). Multani mitti or fuller’s earth is known to be the most effective clay mask for minimizing open pores and hence, is widely utilized in spas and skin clinics (7). After cleansing and scrubbing the face, apply the cool mask of Multani mitti mixed with rose water all over it. Leave it on until dries completely and you feel that your pores are tightening. Then, wash it off with cold water. Repeat this twice or thrice every week for visible reduction of pores.
6. Ice Cube Massage
This is probably the easiest and the most cost-effective method you can ever try to reduce the appearance of your pores instantly. All you need to do is run an ice cube all over your face and massage your skin with it for a few minutes. Then, allow it to dry naturally. Ice cube works like magic in shrinking pores because of its cold temperature. Along the same lines, splash your face with really cold water whenever your pores seem too big or your face gets oily. This is an easy and sure-fire way to constrict pores.
7. Cornflour Mask
In worldwide cooking practice, cornflour is used to thicken gravies as it helps absorb water. The same property of cornflour may help it absorb excess oil from the skin and shrink the pores. Combine 1 teaspoon of cornflour with a few drops of honey and lemon juice to make a paste. Apply it all over the cleansed face. With this mask on, your skin will feel tighter, which is a sign that your pores are shrinking. Wash it away with plain water after 15-30 minutes and follow up with a mild non-drying toner and moisturizer.
8. Egg White Mask
Egg white tightens and tones the skin naturally. This makes the pores appear smaller by shrinking them in size as well as treats virulent forms of acne successfully (8). Just crack open an egg and separate the white parts from the yolk. Apply the egg white to the cleansed face and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off. Make sure that you apply your go-to moisturizer afterward to help the skin feel hydrated.
9. Oatmeal Scrub
Oatmeal is a wonderful skin exfoliator that helps in shrinking pores too. Moreover, it is readily available in grocery stores and is very affordable. To prepare the mask, just mix a teaspoon of oatmeal powder with enough plain water or rose water. Make a thick smooth paste and scrub your face gently with it. Make sure that you follow a small circular motion by using only your fingertips. Leave the mixture on the face for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
10. Yogurt Pack
Being easily available at home, yogurt is considered as a quick fix for large pores. The lactic acid present in the ingredient not only helps reduce the size of the pores but also fades away marks and blemishes. Besides, yogurt is also quite effective in eliminating dead cells, impurities, etc. from the skin. Massage your skin nicely with 2 teaspoons of yogurt and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, wash your face with warm water to get rid of oiliness and follow it up with cold water to close the pores and seal in the moisture.
Preventive Skincare for Open Pores
So, how to stop your skin pores from getting larger? Just follow some tried-and-tested preventive measures. Here we go:
- Wash your face twice daily with a gel-based cleanser that contains glycolic acid. It will keep oiliness at bay, prevent large pores, and treat acne effectively. (9)
- Apply topical retinoids once every day as they have been found to reduce the appearance of large pores to some extent (10).
- Exfoliate your skin 2-3 times every week with a gentle facial scrub containing either AHAs or BHAs (11) to get rid of toxins, dirt, oil, and dead cells trapped into your pores.
- Use only water-based, non-comedogenic skincare products to avoid extra oil getting into your pores and making them appear larger.
Our skin contains millions of invisible ‘pores’ or tiny holes that house hair follicles and sebaceous glands while allowing the skin to breathe by releasing oils, sweat, and other microscopic materials through them. They also cool off our body and detoxify it, thus keeping the skin clean and healthy. Pores cannot be ‘closed’ as they are already open. But sometimes they may get clogged with oil, dead cells, dirt, grime, etc., leaving the skin dull and porous. Genetics, aging, thick hair follicles, excess sebum, climate, etc. may also make the pores appear larger. However, they can be made less prominent on the skin through unclogging, which can be carried out with certain simple home remedies. It is also important to follow some preventive skincare tips in order to make the most of your efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Diet is Good for Skin Pores?
A well-balanced diet containing whole grains, low processed sugar, spinach, mushroom, alfalfa seeds, zucchini, seaweed, fresh green juices, and lots of water is considered good for healthy skin pores.
Is Aloe Vera Gel Good for Pores?
Yes, massaging the skin with aloe vera gel may hydrate and nourish the skin beautifully while cleansing the pores and tightening them up.
Which Oil is Best for Open Pores?
Jojoba oil is known to have natural astringent properties, which help in unclogging the pores and making them tighter.
Can Baking Soda Remove Pores?
When it comes to shrinking larger pores, baking soda is found not so effective.
Does Squeezing Pores Make them Bigger?
Continuous squeezing may reduce the elasticity of the skin around the pores, thereby making them appear even bigger.
- “Facial Pores: Definition, Causes, and Treatment Options“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Facial Skin Pores: A Multiethnic Study“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “28-Day Skin Plan: For Clear and Glowing Skin“, books.google.co.in
- “Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey – A Review“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Papaya No-More-Pores Double Mask Treatment“, WebMD.com
- “Clay Jojoba Oil Facial Mask for Lesioned Skin and Mild Acne–Results of a Prospective, Observational Pilot Study“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Aromatherapy for Holistic Therapists“, books.google.co.in
- “Your Best Face Now: Look Younger in 20 Days with the Do-It-Yourself Acupressure Facelift“, books.google.co.in
- “The Effect of a Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin on the Skin Barrier of Subjects with Acne“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Enlarged Facial Pores: An Update on Treatments“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “10 Skin Care Secrets for Healthier-Looking Skin“, AAD.org