When I was a lot younger, I had a ton of them on my cheeks and chin and lemme tell you, they drove me kookoo for cocoa puffs.
I already had self-confidence issues back then–who doesn’t- so having crazy pores all over my face made it so much worse.
Luckily, I’ve been able to heal them over time and I wanted to help you do the same!
I’ll go over the biggest reasons you may have large pores in the first place, and then give you some of my fav solutions.
5 reasons you might have larger pores:
#1: Oily Skin
Sometimes our own body’s “moisturizer” can cause large pores. By “moisturizer”, I mean the oil that is produced in our skin by our sebaceous glands.
Oil is our body’s natural moisturizer, but when there is an accumulation of oil and dead skin cells inside the pores, the pores will get clogged and inflamed, causing them to look bigger.
So, oil + dirt = large pores.
I hate to include this on this list, because it seems just so unfair, but it needs to be here.
Male and female hormones are different. While we all have the same TYPE of hormones running through our veins, we don’t have the same levels. Men have more testosterone and women have more estrogen; which can both cause issues.
Also, on a chemical level, men generally have larger pores compared to women. Women’s pores, however, might enlarge when experiencing menstruation or any hormonal changes.
#3: Sun Damage
I don’t think I’ve touched on this enough but…. I’m a crazy stickler for avoiding the sun (if you want to know why, check out the article on the breakout blues!)
Sun damage can cause a whole host of issues but my main problem with it is that it causes inflammation.
Inflammation is problematic because it can lead to thicker skin which then leads to larger pores, because tiny skin cells collect around the edge of the pore.
Too much exposure to the sun can also speed up the aging process which can cause the loss of your skin’s elasticity. This can lead to sagging and stretching of skin that will make your pores look larger. Total bummer, avoid the sun!!!!
Ok this one is annoying to include here (I know!) but I have to do it.
Probably one of the things you can NEVER change (in this lifetime anyways) are your genetics.
There is some research that suggests you can inherit large pores. So if you have parents who have large pores, you may have them as well.
I found this info out first hand when I first started having my acne; my father and his siblings had acne and large pores when they were young as well, so it made sense that I had, too.
Blackheads are caused by the clogged oil in your pores that have oxidized; so it’s actually not dirt, it’s oil that has oxidized! One key tip to avoid blackheads is to exfoliate more often. Grab one of my favorite exfoliating masks here!
Now that we have acquainted ourselves with the causes of large pores, I have to tell you that sadly, pores cannot be “permanently shrunk”, but we can minimize the appearance of large pores.
So here, without further ado, are 4 Steps To Heal Large Pores:
1. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods. Pro-inflammatory foods include:
- Sugar: If you have a sweet tooth, like me, I apologize in advance. Unfortunately, there have been studies done that indicate that a high sugar intake (high glycemic diet) is proportional to sebum (oil) production. And as discussed before, oily skin causes large pores. Why does sugar promote sebum production, you ask? Well according to a study about the correlation of facial sebum to serum insulin, elevated levels of insulin could mean an increase in sebum production. I talk about it here more. The sugar I’m talking about here, by the way, is the added sugars (sugars not naturally present in food) and highly-refined foods such as white bread, pasta, cakes, etc.
- Fried foods: Foods cooked in high-temperatures (deep-fried foods) promote inflammatory response in the body. They can cause an inflammation of the skin and therefore, larger pores and oilier skin.
2. Eat anti-inflammatory foods/nutrients aka foods that prevent inflammation.
Here is a great list of anti-inflammatory foods:
- Low glycemic foods. If high glycemic diet promotes inflammation, it only makes sense that the opposite, low glycemic diet, will prevent inflammation. A low glycemic diet that includes whole grain foods, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes which are digested slowly, meaning a slow release of energy and no insulin spikes. No insulin spikes = lower inflammation = fewer breakouts. Win win.
- Vitamin C. If you’ve been skin-conscious and have done some of your research, you’ve most likely come across vitamin C as a magical vitamin for the skin. (Need more vitamin suggestions? Learn about vitamins for acne here and here!!) Vitamin C is a good –no, POWERFUL–antioxidant. It also promotes collagen formation, skin elasticity, and dirt extraction when applied topically. All of these contribute to smaller pores! Vegetable sources of vitamin C are broccoli, spinach, kale, chives, parsley, etc. For topical application, you can puree or juice vegetables that are rich in vitamin C and include it in your daily facial cleanser to tighten your pores!
- Zinc. Vegetables high in zinc may reduce the inflammation of skin–therefore reducing the appearance of large pores. Vegetable sources are mushrooms, squash, zucchini, and spinach.
- Polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in tea. Green, black, white, and oolong specifically. There have been studies that have found that polyphenols in tea have anti-inflammatory properties; which may help you with your large pores as well!
- Selenium. Selenium helps promote skin elasticity, reduce skin inflammation, and helps in the regulation of glutathione peroxidase, a powerful antioxidant. Selenium can be found in aromatic vegetables such as onion, and garlic. But it can also be found in Brazil nuts (best source), brown rice, chia seeds, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds as well!
3. Drink water.
I promised cheap, right?! Hehe.
Actually, I talked about this last week, but adding in lemon water is also super good for you too! Try to grab 8 glasses a day; and while this is only a general guideline, I’m pretty sure your hot bod will thank you for it:) Learn more about why water and lemon water especially, are great for your skin, here.
4. Unclog and tighten your pores.
Exfoliation is key here.
You have to handle a clogged pore gently, but also consistently, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite all natural face masks to unclog your pores if you need some SKIN-inspiration!
- Carrot mask. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. These vitamins act as antioxidants and unclog your pores by increasing the cell turnover. For application, steam and mash carrots then add some honey for added anti-microbial benefits, apply to your face and let sit for 10 minutes before washing with warm water and patting (gently!) your face dry.
- Cucumber mask. Cucumber is a great astringent aka a substance that shrinks or constricts body tissues. So instead of those alcohol-based astringent that may irritate your skin, try the cukes! Cucumber also reduces facial oil which leads to minimized pores. It’s like a double-duty summer food; it’s refreshing, and it helps your skin. To create and use the cucumber astringent, peel the cucumbers first, then blend until it is a smooth liquid consistency. Apply a generous amount of it onto your face and let sit for 15 minutes before washing with cold water. Check your skin if the pores have tightened! I bet your eyes would look less puffy, too. #doublebonus (Like cucumber green juice? Grab a delish recipe here:)
- Egg white mask. First, crack an egg and separate the yolk from the white. You’re going to use the white part, not the yolk. You can add 1 tbsp. of honey, lemon juice (for skin lightening), and extra virgin olive oil and then whip the ingredients together. After whipping, dip a clean cotton ball onto the mixture and apply it to your face. Let it sit and dry out for 20 minutes or so before rinsing. Bonus of egg whites: they contain lysozyme which is an antibacterial enzyme that can help get rid of the bacteria on your face that causes acne!
So what do you think?
Do these ideas help with some large pore woes that I know we all may have?