The Ultimate Guide to Closing Pores

Large, open pores on the face can be a problem for people who have them, and can make anyone feel self conscious and worried about how they look. These pores can be difficult to cover up, and the larger the pore, the more they retain oil which attracts dirt in what can seem like an unending cycle. Keeping pores clean can be difficult if you don’t know how and having dirt in them leads to them looking as if they are larger than they really are. Dirt and blackheads draw unwanted attention to the face and learning how to get rid of them is essential to having healthy looking skin with smaller pores.

Large pores are often inherited, and since genetics can’t be changed, people who have larger pores usually have other family members suffering from the same condition. There are other reasons people can have larger pores, such as aging. As people get older, the skin can stretch or sag due to it losing elasticity. When this happens, the pores are stretched, opening them up and making them larger.

Sun damage is another reason pores can enlarge. As the skin becomes more and more damaged, the skin gets tougher and thicker and as collagen is lost the underlying dermis can shrink, leading to it tugging on the edges of the pores, making them larger as they are pulled out of their original shape.

Clogged pores can happen when there is excess oil produced by the face or when someone doesn’t wash their face frequently enough. Oil attracts dirt and this is how blackheads can happen. When the dirt is unable to escape from the pore, the pore naturally begins to get larger and is much more noticeable due to the dirt. When some types of dirt get into the pores it can aggravate the skin, causing a small infection. This can further damage the skin, leading to more enlarged pores.

So while there are a variety of reasons for large pores, learning how to close pores in nine perfect ways is essential to making your pores close, leaving your skin with a healthy, smooth look. The following ways can help to close pores to damaging dirt and excess oil.

#1 – Wash Your Face

While this may seem like an obvious thing to do, people often don’t wash their face enough. To avoid clogged pores, which can lead to enlargement, the face should be washed at least twice daily. This is even more important for people who suffer from oily skin. Since the oil attracts dirt, it is important to keep the dirt on the face to a minimum so it doesn’t get trapped in the pore.

When washing the face it is important to use a gentle facial wash which is void of any harsh chemical cleaners. Some products are hard on the skin and can actually cause the pores to get worse instead of better. If you’re not sure which brand to use, you can try Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleansers. Both of these brands clean the face and can take away dirt and oil without harming the skin, and are cost effective.

#2 – Use a Toner or Astringent

There are many toners and astringents you can find in drug stores and cosmetic shops. When you use a toner after cleaning your face, it can help to decrease the size of the pores, preventing dirt from getting into them. Toners are usually pretty inexpensive and an average bottle can last for several weeks, making it a good purchase, especially for those with normal skin.

In addition to tightening up your pores, toners can also help to get rid of any excess soap residue that may have been left on the skin and can also rid the face of make up the washing might not have gotten rid of.

Astringents work like toners but can be a bit more aggressive when it comes to fighting oily skin. They help to reduce the production of oil in the pores and they are also a natural fighter of acne. One key ingredient to look for is witch hazel, which is a natural astringent. Witch hazel has been used for years in a variety of settings. In addition to being an astringent, it has been used to fight insect bites, hemorrhoids, poison ivy, and even varicose veins.

A good product to try is Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner. This product comes in a 16 oz. bottle and retails for a mere $5.99. It can be found in many drugstores and online and is a great, inexpensive addition to any medicine cabinet.

For anyone with sensitive or dry skin, make sure to find an alcohol free toner as this ingredient can further dry out the face.

#3 – Steam Facials

For anyone who hasn’t been cleaning their face regularly, this is a must to jump start the process of shrinking pores. Steam, which is a form of heat, can help to open pores, making them easier to clean. As an added benefit, the steam also helps to hydrate the face. This is an easy thing to do at home, but as with any type of steam, you need to be careful as getting too close or having the boiling water too hot can burn the face.

To start, boil water in a pan on the stove. Remove the pan and place it on top of a pot holder on the table or other surface. Have a towel handy, and place it over your head, while leaning your face over the steam coming off of the water. Stay in this position for several minutes, and the steam will gradually open the pores, allowing any excess dirt or oil to escape.

As soon as you’re finished, dab your face with a clean, dry washcloth to get any excess moisture off the skin. After a couple of minutes allowing your face to completely dry, gently splash cool water over it. The cool water signals the pores to close, so that dirt can no longer get into them.

For the best results, make sure your face is clean before doing a steam facial because if it isn’t, there is a good chance that when you open the pores, any dirt on your face will go into them instead of coming out of them.

Steam facials are a great way to open pores in an effort to clean them out thoroughly. When there is no debris, dirt, or excess oil in them, they can shrink back down to smaller than they were before. Doing this type of facial is beneficial and should be done twice a week if possible.

#4 – Exfoliate

When you exfoliate the skin, it gets rid of any dead skin cells on the surface and allows you to get a better, deeper clean when washing. This leads to healthier looking skin overall. As with facial cleaners, it is important to use a gentle exfoliator found on the market or you can even make your own.

One simple exfoliator can easily be made by using a spoonful of baking soda mixed with water until it makes a paste. Gently place it over your face until you’ve covered it and slowly rub it in. You can feel the tiny granules of baking soda against your skin, cleaning as you go. When finished, wash it off with warm water. You skin will immediately feel good and clean, all for much less expensive than if you were to buy an over the counter product.

Another homemade recipe you can try is to mix a small amount of buttermilk with iodized salt. Gently rub over the face exfoliating it and then wash off. Since the salt granules will dissolve easily, it’s important to use it immediately after mixing. You need to be a bit more careful with this mixture as the salt granules are much larger than baking soda, and can therefore cause damage to your skin if you rub too hard. This is a perfect exfoliator to not only clean the face, but to help relieve any red and inflamed areas as the buttermilk will naturally work to soothe these areas.

There is really no right amount of how many times you should exfoliate each week, as it can depend on how oily your skin is. You can do it once and then wait a day or two and see how your skin feels. Some people have great success with doing it once a week whereas others need to do it more frequently. If you suffer from oily skin, it may be beneficial to do it more often to keep the oil from accumulating on your face.

#5 – Relax with a Cold Facial Compress

Your face can benefit from a cold compress after exfoliating. The cold temperature on the face will help the pores to close further, so they are unable to get more dirt in them, keeping them cleaner for longer periods of time. Although this can be done at anytime during the year, it can feel really good in the hot summer months.

As with most products you can find these online, but a homemade one works just as good at less than half the cost. To make a cold facial compress, you can take any type of material and cover the face, leaving the notrils exposed. Inexpensive bandanas work great or if you’re sensitive to too much cold, use a thicker hand towel or cloth. Place some crushed ice in a couple waterproof baggies with zip locks so they won’t leak.

Lay down in a comfortable position and place the cloth over your checks and forehead, then gently lay the ice bags on top. Relax for about five minutes and when you’re done you’ll feel refreshed and your pores will have shrunk considerably.

#6 – Become an Enlightened Consumer

There are hundreds of skin care products on the market, all vying for your hard earned money. Don’t fall for gimmicky sales pitches or commercials which tout they are the only product you need. Many of these companies spend millions of dollars researching the right words and packaging to get people to notice and want to buy their products. Oftentimes many products can be made at home and not only cost less but can work better. While this isn’t always the case, it is a good rule of thumb.

If you suffer from oily skin and large clogged pores, it is important that you don’t purchase any products which are oil based. While they may feel like they are working, in the long run you are only making the problem worse. Read the labels, especially the ingredient list before buying anything. This is especially true with moisturizers. Oil is a natural moisturizer so it’s no wonder many companies use an oil base when producing skin moisturizers. Always look for water based products when fighting open pores.

#7 – Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the best ways to fight many skin problems, including everything from premature aging to skin cancer. Damage from the sun has been linked to pores increasing in size as well. To best protect your skin, wear sunscreen daily and put it on often. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours during normal circumstances, and more often when out in direct sunlight or near things that reflect the sun such as concrete, water, or snow.

As our atmosphere begins to lose more of its protective filter, an increasing amount of solar UV radiation makes it way to the Earth’s surface. This is why there is an ever increasing number of skin cancers being diagnosed, as well as premature aging and skin damage. The less sun damage to the face the better the collagen holds up, keeping skin firm and in place where it’s meant to be. To protect yourself, you need to be vigilant at all times.

Sunscreen for the face should have at minimum an SPF factor of 30, although 50+ is best. As with other skin care products, make sure to find one that is water or zinc based, and not one that uses oil as one of the ingredients. It can also be helpful to wear a hat when in the sun and to stay in the shade as much as possible when outdoors.

#8 – Only Use Non-Comedogenic Make Up

The term non comedogenic simple means it won’t clog pores. If you want open pores which are clean and free of dirt and grime, it is important to use only non comedogenic make up.

The good thing is that most make up which is non comedogenic is clearly labeled, as these companies understand how important this is to many people. All natural, mineral based make up is typically made this way and companies such as Bare Escentuals and MAC Mineralize both offer some great products for the face which won’t contribute to further clogging or damage. The Bare Escentuals line even has SPF in it, although it isn’t as high as it should be for true sun protection.

#9 – Don’t Obsess!

It’s normal for people with large open pores to want to fix them. The problem many people face is that they fixate on them. Learning how to close pores can be easy, but if you’re the kind of person who obsesses over the pores and find you’re constantly poking and prodding at them, you’ll be doing much more damage than good.

When you touch your pores or try to remove blackheads by squeezing the skin together you are actually doing more damage to the skin and can be making the pores larger. Rely on good skin care habits to get rid of any excess dirt and oil, and remember not to touch your face unless you’re cleaning it or putting on skin care products or make up. When you touch your face with unclean hands, the dirt from them can transfer to the face, creating more dirt in the pores.

Playing with and obsessing over large pores can be a bad habit, but the sooner you break it, the healthier your skin will be.

Your Perfect Skin

When you follow these nine suggestions, you’re guaranteed to not only shrink pores, but your facial skin will be healthier and look younger in no time. Depending on how large your pores are it can take a bit of time to get them to shrink, although it will happen. With proper skin care and using good hygiene, the pores will begin to adjust and shrink gradually. Clogged pores need a little time and patience to open up, but it will happen, and when it does you have the knowledge to get rid of excess oil and dirt, allowing the pores to close leaving healthy skin showing.

We invite you to comment below and let us know which methods you use and how they work on your skin type.

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