Even if you're blessed with a naturally clear complexion, there's one thing that can stand in the way of you and radiant, flawless-looking skin: your pores. If they're enlarged, or have built-up dirt and oil, your skin can't shine. But you can put your best face forward, naturally—with just a few simple steps.
When you get up close and personal with the mirror, you might notice tiny black dots all over the bridge of your nose or spread out on your forehead. Those are actually your pores, small openings in the dermis that allow your skin to release sweat and oil. When oil, dirt, and dead skin cells fill up your pores, they appear larger and darker, and can become clogged. Helloooo, blackheads. And guess what—the oilier your skin, the larger your pores look.
Clearing Clogged Pores
Though you can't totally shrink your pores—your skin needs them to get rid of all that excess oil, after all—you can keep them from becoming clogged and enlarged through by keeping up a good cleansing routine. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser every day, and if you wear makeup, be sure to wash it off every evening before bed.
The next step on the road to smaller pores is exfoliation. Clearing your pores of dirt and sweat will will make them appear smaller. Sloughing off dead skin cells also keeps your skin looking fresh and helps it feel noticeably smoother. Try this simple DIY facial scrub once or twice a week for sensitive skin, and if your skin can take it exfoliate daily.
Toning Your Skin, After Scrubbing and Exfoliation
After you cleanse and exfoliate, it's time to tone your skin. This step tightens your skin just a bit, keeping your freshly clean pores as small as possible. We love this simple apple cider vinegar and green tea toner. The vinegar helps cleanse the skin of any dead cells or impurities, while green tea provides some much needed antioxidants and helps with redness.
Other ways to open your pores for a deep clean? Take a super hot shower (or bath) and bask in the steam to clear your pores, and then follow up with a splash of cold water to shrink pores instantly. At the end of the day, there's no magical serum that will minimize pores—but following these simple steps will ensure your skin stays looking its best.
Illustration by Karley Koenig