Listen, friends—pores are not your enemy! They are a natural part of your skin’s structure, and play a vital role by secreting oils and producing sweat, which balances your moisture barrier and keeps you cool in warmer weather. The size and appearance of your pores are largely dictated by your genetics. You cannot close your pores, nor can you erase them off of your face.
Sometimes, though, pores can appear more emphasized, enlarged, or even inflamed because of a disruption of their function. Excess oils and a buildup of dirt can cause visible blockages (blackheads), or closed comedones (whiteheads) which can then become inflamed and infected (acne). Sun damage also has an effect on your pores as it reduces the production of collagen and elastin, which keeps your skin plump and supple, making for less noticeable pores.
As such, it’s important to make sure your pores stay free of blockages and prevent them from being damaged. You can’t erase the pores you are born with, but you definitely should befriend them and take some steps to care for them and keep them clear and healthy. That way, they can function as they should—and look good while doing it!
Here are our favorite ways to keep pores in tip-top shape:
1. Give your face a deep clean.
Deep cleansing your face at least once a week can help dislodge the dirt and sebum that can collect in your pores and emphasize their appearance. You can do this with an oil or balm cleanser, or with clay masks.
Oil and balm cleansers are not just for removing makeup! Their ability to melt and wash off the oily residue left by makeup and sunscreen on the surface of your face also extends to the impurities that have collected inside your pores.
Instead of just quickly rinsing off your oil cleanser and proceeding with your second cleanser as you do most nights, try prolonging the massage can help the oil cleanser reach deep within your pores. As you massage your face with the oil cleanser, pay attention to your skin’s texture. Are there areas that feel rough or bumpy? Give those areas a little extra time during your massage and you might feel plugs of dirt and sebum become dislodged and surface as they are attracted to the oils in the cleanser. You can then wash off and proceed with your second cleanse.
Clay masks are another great way to give your face a deep clean! Because of the absorbent nature of clay, they can wick out grime from within your pores as the mask dries on your face. However, be sure not to let the mask sit for too long on your face as this can dehydrate your skin, which can in turn further emphasize your pores! If you are prone to dryness, you can apply the clay mask to just the problem areas of your face and leave the rest of your skin bare.
The Isntree Real Mugwort Clay Mask is great for regular masking because it includes a number of hydrating ingredients as well as mugwort, a natural extract that calms angry skin. Plus, it comes in an easy to use squeeze tube!
2. Regularly exfoliate your skin.
Acids are a little scary, but they can be a big help in improving your skin’s texture and overall health! For those who are new to chemical exfoliation, here’s a rundown about how they can help with your pores.
Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid are great for those with oilier skin types as they are oil-soluble acids that can go into your pores to clean out oil-based grime! Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), on the other hand work by resurfacing the topmost layer of your skin, thus preventing the build up of dead cells in your pores.
The trick with acids is to go low and slow until your skin builds up a tolerance to using them in your routine. Going in with a high percentage of acids right away, or using them too frequently can be a recipe for disaster! Instead, try to make sure you’re only applying acids at night.
Shop for chemical exfoliants here!
If you find your skin is too sensitive for chemical exfoliation, gentle physical exfoliation can also help you keep your pores clear. Konjac sponges have long been used in Asia to gently slough off dead skin cells without the irritation.
3. Hydrate and nourish
When your skin is happy and plump with moisture, texture becomes less noticeable. Plus there’s the added benefit of giving you a glowy, radiant complexion! Make sure you are using products that hydrate, moisturize, and nourish your skin.
Hyaluronic acid, beta glucan, and glycerin are three hero ingredients that work by pulling moisture from your environment into your skin barrier. A hydrating toner is a great way to get an awesome dose of these ingredients! Check out our product recommendations over here!
It isn’t enough to get moisture into your skin, it’s also important to make sure that the moisture stays there! Moisturizers with ingredients like ceramides, butters, and oils help prevent the depletion of moisture from your skin.
Lastly, nourish your skin with products that stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, so your skin’s structure better holds on to the moisture, keeping your face supple and bouncy. Look for products with ingredients like bakuchiol, peptides, ferments, and vitamin c! And of course, don’t forget to make sure you’re protecting your skin from UV damage as it can cause a loss of plumpness in your skin.
4. Make peace with your texture
Skin is skin; it will always have little nooks and crannies, pores and texture! Part of everyone’s beauty journey should be the unlearning of the idea that skin should always look naturally smooth and airbrushed - that's just a silly, unrealistic beauty standard. Your skin is beautiful because it functions as it should—as a barrier that mediates between your insides and the outside world.
Always remember that skin health is our real priority, looking good is just a pleasant side effect! Treat yourself kindly and you will reap the rewards.
The Peaches & Creme Team