These Natural Ingredients Could Help Clean Pores

I think about the state of my pores arguably more than I think of some of my closest friends. Keeping my pores unclogged is a huge part of my skin regimen, but what has me puzzled is one of skin care's greatest mysteries: Can you actually reduce the size of your pores permanently or is our time better spent finding the lost city of Atlantis?

Dr. Michelle Henry, M.D.; a Harvard trained, board certified dermatologist and the Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical college; explains to Bustle that there are laser treatments that can stimulate collagen around the opening of the pore, reducing its size. However, no topical treatment exists that will actually shrink your pores. "Pore size is largely genetic," Dr. Henry explains. "Unless the skin is scarred, the pores are never fully closed." Although skin care products won't shrink anything, "exfoliating the skin and removing debris from the pores can help reduce their experience," Dr. Henry says.

Our bodies produce oil from the sebaceous glands, which are connected to our pores. Any excess dirt and oil that doesn't get washed away sticks in your pores, which can make their appearance more obvious. According to Dr. Henry, there is no need to be alarmed if your pores are large, but blackheads left untreated can lead to acne cysts that may scar. If that's something that bothers you, these natural ingredients can help get your pores squeaky clean.

1. Egg White Mask

A mask of egg whites may help temporarily shrink the size of your pores. According to this article with before and after photos on Cosmopolitan, egg whites can temporarily reduce the appearance of pores, particularly ones that have grown in size. Since eggs tighten the skin, it's a great way to make your pores look smaller for a few hours.

2. Milk

While dairy is often linked to hormonal acne, topical applications of milk may reduce large pores by tightening the area and drawing out excess oil that may make pores appear larger. Milk is packed with decadent ingredients that will make your skin look and feel good: milk contains lactic acid, potassium, and vitamins A & D — all things you want for keeping those pores healthy.

3. Bananas

Though the evidence of banana peels shrinking the size of pimples is mostly anecdotal, I always recommend my clients with large-pore gripes take advantage of this stimulating fruit. Bananas are loaded with B vitamins and antioxidants, and their gentle, natural antiseptic qualities can help cleanse the pores and help bring down related inflammation to the area. If rubbing a banana peel on your skin will provide too much friction for your sensitive skin, blend up a ripe banana and use it as a mask. Apply on damp, make-up free skin and let it dry before rinsing off.

4. ACV Spray

Apple cider vinegar, aka ACV, is a great natural astringent and a popular way to naturally reduce the appearance of pores. Whether you use it in a toner, in a cleanser, or on its own, you'll likely find that clogged pores will be a thing of the past. My method to treat an affected area of large pores is filling up a spray bottle with ACV and distilled water; this allows me to spray mid-day if necessary.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is the business when it comes to treating clogged pores, acne, and blackheads. It's highly antiseptic and its texture is naturally exfoliating. As Dr. Henry suggested, pulling debris from the pores can help reduce their appearance. There are plenty of other exfoliating ingredients you can use on the regular, but I love baking soda whenever the pores on my nose seem a little too open for business. Use only on affected area as a paste and let dry before rinsing off. Keep up with this treatment weekly, but not daily as the alkalinity of baking soda can be overly drying.

6. Clay

Clay does all the things that pore-cleansing treatments on the shelves claim to do, but anyone who has tried the right clay knows it lives up to that claim. By gently drawing out impurities, dirt, and debris from pores, clay just may be the missing link in your quest to reduce pore size. I personally love a weekly clay mask.

7. Flower Ice Cubes

I've often turned to ice to relieve painful blemishes, but once I started infusing my ice cubes with anti-bacterial herbs and flowers, I noticed that it was reducing the appearance of my pores as well. Just add a pinch of your favorite herbs to each section of an ice tray, freeze, then pop one out to rub on your face whenever you need a chilly pick-me-up.

8. Honey

Honey has changed the game of natural skin care: It's loaded with antioxidants, cleansing properties, and it has a substantial amount of vitamins and nutrients because, don't forget, that honey being made is used for baby bees that need all the nutrients to grow big and strong. Honey can clean your pores in a major way thus reducing the appearance. Go one step beyond and add exfoliating herbs to granulated honey for a weekly mask that well keep your pores unclogged and free of debris.

Now that you've got the knowledge behind your pores, you can put one of these natural remedies directly on them!

Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (8); Bustle (1)