One of my favorite things to do at night is to peer at my skin closely in a mirror and find all of the flaws. It's one of my worst habits and favorite past-times. In the morning, I do my skin routine, equipped with cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, and I never look back. If anything, you can catch me detangling my hair in public before you'll see me staring at my face, looking for flaws. The sun goes down and evening comes, suddenly the only thing I care about is trash-talking my skin, face to face. In most cases, I'm just being a jerk. Since taking on an all-natural routine, I've seen significant results, although it's definitely taken at least six months to find the right products, and then let my skin readjust to a life without chemicals. No matter what, premenstrual acne refuses to leave my life. Fortunately, acne is one of the most common skin conditions and also one of the easiest to treat. The thing that really has me spending hours in front of the mirror, and my roommates pacing outside the bathroom door, is clogged pores.
Large pores are the result of over secretion of oil in your skin, they can be caused by having a bad skincare routine, aging, or they can be genetic. If you have a combination of these three factors and an insecurity about their appearance it's understandable if you are piling on the cover-up and further irritating the problem. A good friend of mine once told me, that after trying over-the-counter cleansers that only dried out her skin and a painful experience with deep cleansing pore strips, she accepted her natural pore-size and has moved on with her life.
That was, until she
Here's the thing — as it turns out, we all have pores. Anytime you reach
into your make-up bag, you are def putting your face at risk for some serious
clogging. Heavy make-up, sunscreens, and
lotions can get trapped in your pores and lead to dirt and oil build-up, often
causing clogged pores and of course, acne. This is especially true if often go
to bed without washing the world and your makeup off.
Just like any skin condition, the only way you can see some serious results is with a consistent regimen that is going to treat the somewhat embarrassing pore situation and prevent them from growing in size. Exfoliating daily is going to be a major key in this achievement. Next, get with an astringent that is known to shrink the appearance of pores that can further remove build-up that wasn't zapped during the initial cleanse. Then, of course, you'll add a light moisturizer that's going to keep your skin soft and protect you from that big star in the sky.
At my insistence, my friend has agreed to face her pores. Nature grows some ingredients that are natural warriors at fighting clogged pores and diminishing the appearance of those large hereditary pores. Here are a few of my fave exfoliating recipes that are on the cheap; if you are suffering from being poor with clogged pores? You must get up on this!
Tip: Apply these masks on clean, make-up free skin, always. Leave masks on for at least 10 minutes for best results!
Aloe, Cucumber, Brown Sugar Mask
I'll tell you what I told my good pal: Don't go out there and find a sale on bleached sugar, use it for your mask and then come back, telling me it didn't work. Rule of thumb is to always use raw sugar for your body and brown sugar for your face. There are some sources that say white sugar is a great exfoliate, but I definitely stand strong in the Ayurvedic belief that if something isn't good for inside your body, it probably won't be good topically either.
For this recipe, I use equal parts of cucumber pulp, fresh raw aloe juice (extracted from the leaf), and brown sugar. If you have a serious pore issue that needs more attention, then use double the amount of brown sugar to get more of the exfoliating benefits. The cucumber and aloe both are excellent agents at normalizing pH levels, a common cause of poor skin health, and cucumber is known to cleanse and hydrate the skin. When you combine these ingredients, they can diminish the appearance of the pores. This recipe is definitely great for sensitive skin and a medium sized pore condition.
Oatmeal, Nutmeg, and Garlic
Trust me, the scent is not as offensive as you think!
Oatmeal is an amazing exfoliate and is even listed with the FDA as a natural treatment for many skin conditions. Nutmeg is a natural anti-inflammatory with antiseptic properties that will clean the crap out of your skin and as a known antiseptic, it will provide additional help cleansing. Don't even think about substituting another ingredient for garlic — this is going to be your jam for minimizing pores and in conjunction with the other ingredients, you'll be getting that deep cleanse you need for oil build-up.
Extracting this anti-inflammatory oil is super easy, but if this is your first time at the garlic rodeo? Make sure to do a test strip on the inside of your arm. Take your 1/2 cup of unflavored, unsweetened oatmeal and pour in about a teaspoon of nutmeg and 2 teaspoons of garlic oil. Be sure that your garlic has cooled off before stirring in with the rest of the ingredients and applying to your face. When used daily, this exfoliate is really going to show the pore results you've been seeking all these years!
Baking Soda, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Lemon Juice
This is serious business, y'all. If you've got some large pores, from genetics or a drunk weekend of sleeping in your make-up, this will be your ticket to reducing the size of your pores and making sure they stay clean. I must advise, that if you suffer from dry skin, proceed with caution and definitely add your essential oil to soften the mixture.
Use a half cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of apple cider
vinegar, and a teaspoon of lemon juice to form a paste. Baking soda is my true
love in terms of skin cleansers, balancing skin's pH level and gingerly removing
dead skin cells and oil build-up. Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV as it's
affectionately called in natural beauty circles, helps your skin fight
off toxins naturally, balancing pH levels and providing a deep cleanse that
will keep the size of your pores in check. Adding lemon juice to your mixture
will tone your skin and put some vitamins into your skin that can slow
the aging process down.
After you find an exfoliating mask that's comfy for your
skin and wallet, try using witch hazel as an astringent. Witch hazel contains
tannins that help fight bacteria and repair broken skin, it's also not a secret
that this is one of the best pore
fighting astringents out there.
Looking for more tips to decrease the appearance of your pores? Ditch bad skin habits so you can ditch unhealthy, clogged pores.Image: Billy Savanh / Gerry Lauzon / Ragharridya / Liz West / Karen Lee / Mason Bryant/Flickr; booouuwhore.tumblr.com