Pores. No matter how clear or tiny yours are, they can always be smaller, right? Harsh treatments and even some serums can sometimes be counterintuitive by clogging up your pores further or, worse, spawning breakouts, though. So, we chatted with some top skin professionals to find out which natural remedies can really make a difference when it comes to smoother, flawless skin. Below are their top tips and recipes to shrink your pores — the natural way.
Rice: Skin guru David Pollock stresses the importance of using a gentle physical exfoliator every day. “Our skin is in a constant state of renewal, which can slow with age,” he says. “A physical exfoliator will scrub away dead, possibly dangerous, skin cells.” He suggests using a cleanser with rice or jojoba beads that won’t damage your skin and can be used everyday.
Papaya, Lemon Juice and Honey: Detox and deep clean your pores a couple of times a week, Pollock advises. Try this mask he concocted using half of a papaya (seeds and pulp removed), one teaspoon of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of honey: While mashing the papaya, slowly blend in the lemon juice and honey. Apply the mixture to clean skin and let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse it off well. “The papaya helps exfoliate dead skin cells, while the lemon juice acts like a light fruit acid and the honey nourishes and balances the skin’s pH,” he explains.
Seaweed and Honey: Dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf suggests adding seaweed powder and manuka honey to a clay mask (with a couple of drops of rose or lavender essential oils as well), then blend it well into a paste. “This will help draw out impurities in the skin,” she says. “Plus, manuka honey has anti-bacterial and anti-acne properties.” While she notes that pore size is determined by genetics, this at-home mask may help make them look smaller.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Before applying moisturizer, Pollock suggests creating your own astringent with apple cider vinegar “to reset the skin’s acidic pH and remove any residual impurities.”
Vitamin C and Aloe Vera: Rianna Loving, creator and founder of organic skincare brand ORGO Beauty, says these two ingredients work in tandem to reduce pore size. “Vitamin C aids healthy skin by killing the bacteria in your pores and can increase your immune system, rejuvenating your liver, which will break down the toxins that help form blackheads,” she says. “Aloe helps fight infections that build up inside the pores, as they are rich in enzymes that eliminate bacteria and reduce the inflammation of the blackhead.” To create an at-home treatment, grate one medium-sized orange and blend with raw or fragrance-free and chemical-free aloe gel. Blend until the mixture is smooth, then apply onto your face and leave for 15-to-20 minutes. Wash it off with warm water.
Wild Durian Fruit Enzymes: Incorporate a chemical peel or exfoliator serum into your routine a couple nights a week, Pollock says. “Look for serums containing chemical exfoliators, such as salicylic acid, glycolic or lactic acid, retinols, or my favorite, wild durian fruit enzymes from South Asia.”
Lemon Juice and Tea Tree Oil: Loving suggests this natural remedy for deep cleaning. “Tea tree oil prevents the excess build up of unwanted oils and infections. It’s got great anti-inflammatory and disinfecting properties,” she explains. “Lemon juice is a great cleaning compound, which works well for pores which are enlarged by the cause of oily skin and blackheads.” Create a toner by mixing a cup of lukewarm matter with five drops of tea tree oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice, then spray onto your face. This will shrink pores and keep them unclogged.
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