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By Cynthia Bailey MD.

Natural Skin Care for Large Pores

How can your skin care shrink the appearance of large pores naturally?

Nothing actually reduces the diameter of your pores, but you can reduce the appearance of your pores with skin care products. To do this you need to understand why your pores appear large.

What causes your pores to look big?

3 reasons why your pores look large:

  1. The actual diameter of your pores may be large. Pores are actually hair follicules. We describe large pores as 'patulous follicles' (patulous means spreading widely from the center). Why does this happen?
  • Your pore diameter increases with sun damage and age due to thinning of the surrounding skin, which causes the pore diameter to gape open more. Over 90% of skin thinning is due to sun damage, which is another reason why sun protection is important. 
  • Conditions such as rosacea and acne can cause the pores to stretch and enlarge due to enlargement of the sebaceous gland, which is attached to the pore.
  • Oily skin also has large sebaceous glands and this will make the pore appear patulous.
  • Dark blockages in the pore canal will cause pores to appear larger. Blackheads are hard plugs of keratin and sebum with a black tip. They can actually stretch the pore opening. Clogged pores filled with soft plugs of sebum, dead cells and microbes will also have a darkened appearance. Dark material in the center of a pore causes an enhanced appearance, much like using darker colors on the background of a painting relative to colors used in the foreground, to enhance the appearance of depth in a scene.
  • Thickness or engorgement of the skin surrounding a pore will make it appear deep and large.
  • Everyone wants a satiny smooth facial complexion. Often the biggest thing that stands in the way of achieving that goal is the appearance of large pores. There’s even a trending name a pore-free skin appearance called 'Glass Skin'.

    What is the Glass Skin Trend?

    It is a Korean skin care trend. Glass skin is a clear, poreless, dewy, luminous complexion that looks like glass. Like other aspects of the Korean skin care movement (K-Beauty), the result is achieved by first ultra cleansing your ski, followed by using a toner as a second cleansing step, and then deeply hydrating the skin to shrink the appearance of pores. You can do the same thing in less than the typical 10+ step Korean skin care routine. You can even do it by using primarily natural products too.

    Dermatologists 4 steps to smaller appearing pores naturally.

    Complete skin care gets you the result. A Complete Skin Care Routine involves the 4 essential steps of:

    1. Cleanse
    2. Correct
    3. Hydrate
    4. Protect

    A natural routine to shrink the appearance of large pores would look like this:

    CLEANSE: Use your favorite cleanser or a natural alternative such as my Naturally Best Bar Soap. This removes product, makeup, oil, dirt and debris from your skin surface. Exfoliate excess surface dead skin cells using an Exfoliating Facial Sponge with your cleanser or soap. Consider using a Clarisonic Skin Cleansing Brush system to sonically clean deeply into pores.

    CLEANSE AND CORRECT: If you have excessively oily skin consider using a salicylic acid cleanser such as my Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser. Salicylic acid is uniquely able to penetrate deeply into oily blockages inside pores for deep cleaning. Twice weekly use an exfoliating clay scrub such as my Bamboo and Clay Thermal Exfoliating Scrub. The clay penetrates into pores, pulling out oily debris, while the eco-friendly beads exfoliate excess surface dead cells. Pores appear quickly smaller and you are on your way to a more pore-free complexion.

    Follow your cleansing step with a second cleansing using a toner. Toner’s with witch hazel are actual ‘astringent’, meaning they can contract the pores. It’s not a permanent fix, but it’s still a fix. The trick is finding a witch hazel toner that does not contain a high amount of alcohol. Alcohol over-dries skin and witch hazel always contains some alcohol. I created my Naturally Hydrating Pore Minimizing Toner to aim perfectly for the goal of shrinking pore diameter without drying skin. The organic witch hazel I use in this toner is not mixed with the typically high amount of alcohol found in other witch hazel products. You get pore contraction without drying out skin. The glycerin and hyaluronic acid in the toner also begin the deep hydration process, which begins the third method for shrinking the appearance of pores.

    Pretty obsessed with the Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser. My skin feels extra smooth and refreshed after use. This cleanser perfectly preps my skin for makeup. Coupled with the Naturally Hydrating Facial Toner, my skin has never been happier! Kelley

    Another tip is to use a clay mask once or twice a week. Let the mask dry on your skin before rinsing off. Clay can enter your pore to draw out oil.

    CORRECT and HYDRATE: Reducing the appearance of large pores requires deep skin hydration, making this step corrective too. Use products rich in hyaluronic acid and other skin hydrators such as sodium PCA and glycerin. An ideal solution is to layer Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum (rich in these ingredients) under Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy. The Green Tea antioxidants help fight inflammatory skin problems such as rosacea, and help reduce free radical induced skin damage such as sun damage. The combination is so synergistic and popular that I created the Layered Up Besties product bundle.

    Oily complexions may find that this product combination provides enough skin moisturizing. Drier complexions will want to apply a cream or oil moisturizer. Always choose non-comedogenic moisturizers to avoid blocking pores. Options include my Daily Face Creams (Oily to Normal Skin or Dry to Normal Skin) and Booster Face Oils. My booster oils contain organic, non-comedogenic oils such as sea buckthorn, rose hip and jojoba, loved by even oily complexions prone to blocked pores.

    Retinol Night Cream and Glycolic Acid Face Cream will also help to break-up pore clogging debris and exfoliate the dead skin layer. In addition, they help to renew collagen to reverse skin thinning. Used over the long term, these are powerful products to help create a more perfect complexion. Layer Retinol under your nightly moisturizer, face oil, or the Glycolic Acid Face Cream.

    PROTECT: Prevent additional skin collagen loss and thinning by using a broad spectrum mineral zinc oxide sunscreen daily. Chose your product based on your skin type and preferences. Oily complexions benefit from Sheer Strength Pure Physical Matte Tinted SPF 50+ Sunscreen, which absorbs oil throughout the day. Normal complexions typically choose Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen. Dry complexions often prefer Suntegrity 5 in 1 SPF 30 BB Cream Sunscreen.

    If you wear makeup and have oily skin, use makeup to your advantage. My Loose Mineral Makeup powder contains kaolin clay to continue absorbing oil throughout the day.

    You can significantly improve the appearance of your large pores with a skin care routine that reverses the causes. Use the steps of Cleanse, Correct, Hydrate and Protect to tip your complexion closer to Glass Skin.