How to Shrink Your Pores

I have had a lot of per­sonal emails ask­ing how some­one would go about shrink­ing their pores. Well, there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news first: you can’t really shrink your pore size once they’re enlarged (it’s not impos­si­ble, but def­i­nitely dif­fi­cult), but you can def­i­nitely pre­vent them from look­ing enlarged by keep­ing them free from extra oil and debris, and keep­ing your skin firm and elas­tic. Clogged pore = large pore!

The good news is that there are a few ways to min­i­mize the size of pores nat­u­rally and pre­vent them from get­ting big­ger, and I’ll also be men­tion­ing a few treat­ments that are for stub­born cases that may need a pro­fes­sional touch.

Shrink Your Pores (Part 1)

Shrink Your Pores (Part 2)


Bob’s Red Mill Aluminum-Free Bak­ing Soda, 1 lb., $3.99 or Skin Apothke Ubtan Scrub, 2 oz., $9
Bak­ing soda is a tried and true (and cheap!) method to exfo­li­at­ing, and as we all should know, exfo­li­at­ing is key to keep­ing your pores clear and small. Makeup artists swear by it to per­fect the face prior to makeup appli­ca­tion and many peo­ple swear that it pre­vents and treats their acne and large pores. Bak­ing soda is per­fect for nor­mal, oily, and acne-prone skin that is not super sen­si­tive. If you have very sen­si­tive or very dry skin, use bak­ing soda with cau­tion or try Skin Apothke Ubtan Scrub, which is a gen­tle, Ayurvedic herbal exfo­liant (and my favorite).

Direc­tions: 1.} Wash your face with your nor­mal face wash, 2.} Mix 1 or 2 Tbsp. bak­ing soda (or Ubtan scrub) with water to make a paste, and mas­sage gen­tly over your face in cir­cu­lar motions for about 30 sec­onds. Be sure to use luke­warm water (never hot) and fin­ish with a rinse of cool water. Try this every night as part of your skin­care rou­tine, for a full 5–7 days. You can then use it as needed, 3–5 times per week.


Mario Bade­scu Sil­ver Pow­der, 1 oz., $12
This is a pop­u­lar way to gen­tly absorb excess sebum and debris from the pores, draw­ing out black­heads, and min­i­miz­ing pores. Makeup Alley has over 100 reviews on it, most of them really great, and I have tried it on my sen­si­tive skin with good results. I tend to get black­heads only, and reg­u­lar gen­tle exfo­li­a­tion and use of this pow­der works well for keep­ing your pores blackhead-free. This lit­tle jar will last you at least 2–3 months if you use it a few times per week. For those with dry and sen­si­tive skin, use this once or twice per week. Those with nor­mal and oily skin will be able to use it 2–4 times. The idea is not to dry your face out! If you have active acne blem­ishes, I do not advise you use this mask, since it is a draw­ing mask and draw­ing masks can worsen an area that is bro­ken out.

Direc­tions: 1.} Dampen a cot­ton ball with a lit­tle water and touch it to the pow­der, 2.} Apply a light layer on the oily and con­gested areas of your face, 3.} Leave on 10 min­utes and remove with a skin-type-appropriate toner (try witch hazel, rose water, neem leaf spray, laven­der water, Sophyto Bioac­tive, etc.), 4.} Use a lit­tle extrac­tion tool to remove any black­heads that have risen out of the pore, or exfo­li­ate gen­tly, 5.} Mois­tur­ize with a non-pore clog­ging, wax-free mois­tur­izer (my favorite is organic extra vir­gin olive oil or 100% Pure Cof­fee Cherry Caf­feine Face Cream).

Remem­ber: Do not scrub it off and remem­ber to apply a light layer — too thick and it will be hard to remove. You don’t want to irri­tate your skin.


Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (sal­i­cylic, fruit acids, lac­tic, gly­colic), $$
AHA and BHA are known as chem­i­cal exfo­liants, since there is no phys­i­cal exfo­li­at­ing or scrub­bing going on, mak­ing them ideal for more sen­si­tive types (as long as the % is lower) and daily usage. Try using a yogurt mask a few nights per week, or use a sal­i­cylic or gly­colic acid treat­ment gel nightly, such as Natur­o­path­ica or Nonni of Bev­erly Hills AHA! prod­ucts. Click here for my instruc­tions on how to exfo­li­ate using a yogurt mask. These will actively work to unclog pores and keep skin cells from gath­er­ing in your pores.


Micro­der­mabra­sion, peels and laser refin­ing treat­ments, $$$
Con­sult with your der­ma­tol­o­gist or licensed aes­theti­cian on these treat­ments to see if they would be appro­pri­ate for your skin and bud­get. Try the nat­ural, less expen­sive options I’ve listed here (use con­sis­tently for at least 2 weeks), and if there is no notice­able dif­fer­ence, then I would sug­gest explor­ing these pro­fes­sional treatments.


DIY peels and pore strips, $
You can eas­ily make your own peels and pore strips, but I have to really cau­tion you on this because you can irri­tate your skin and cause more harm than good. If you have sen­si­tive, thin, or dry skin, I would not sug­gest mak­ing or using a peel-off treat­ment. There are two ways I know of to mak­ing your own pore strips.

{Pore Strip #1}
Remove your makeup (if any) and wash your face. Soak a clean face cloth in warm water and use it as a com­press on the areas you are about to peel. Mean­while, mix 1 tea­spoon of unfla­vored, nat­ural gelatin with 1 tea­spoon organic, full-fat milk. Microwave it for about 10 sec­onds in a small glass dish. Remove your warm com­press and apply a thin layer of the gelatin goop on areas with black­heads (I don’t rec­om­mend putting this on white­heads or inflamed acne), and let it dry. This can take any­where from 10–30 min­utes, and should take less time if you put a smaller amount on. Then peel it off slowly once it hard­ens. After­ward, you may use a gen­tle scrub (I highly rec­om­mend the Ubtan scrub I men­tioned in Pore Shrink­ing Tech­nique #1, since it con­tains anti-inflammatory, calm­ing ingre­di­ents) to remove any black­heads that have lifted out or any left­over peel. Splash your face with cool water to help the pores close. Then apply a nat­ural moisturizer.

{Pore Strip #2}
Remove your makeup (if any) and wash your face. Soak a clean face cloth in warm water and use it as a com­press on the areas you are about to peel. Mean­while, beat 1 egg white in a bowl with a whisk until it’s really bub­bly, about 30–60 sec­onds. Apply the egg white to your face. While it’s still wet, apply a thin layer of tis­sue paper to your face and apply more egg white on top of it. Let it dry and harden, and peel off slowly. After­ward, use a gen­tle, calm­ing scrub, toner, and mois­tur­ize with a nat­ural mois­tur­izer. I real­ize it’s a lit­tle hard to explain with­out a pic­ture, but I found a great video that explains how to do this egg white mask. (OPTIONAL: After you use the egg white pore strip, you can save the yolk and apply that your skin for a good pop of Vit­a­min A and nour­ish­ing mois­ture for your skin. Sim­ply leave it on 10 min­utes and rinse off.)

UPDATE 22nd Sept. 2010: I found another great video on the egg white mask that is also explained very well, plus it’s done by a guy so it might appeal more to the dudes who read this blog. ;)


Your Diet! Make sure to get a lot of Vit­a­min C, antiox­i­dants, Vit­a­min A, Vit­a­min K, and qual­ity pro­tein in your diet. This means includ­ing berries, fish, yogurt, and greens in your daily meals. I have writ­ten sev­eral arti­cles (and a book, The Real Guide to Flaw­less Skin — it’s avail­able now! woohoo!) on how to eat for clear, flaw­less skin. This also goes for keep­ing pores small — you have to eat well in order for your skin’s col­la­gen stores and elas­tic­ity to remain youth­ful and firm, which con­trols your pore size. Ever notice that as peo­ple age their pores enlarge? That’s because they’re los­ing elas­tic­ity. You can pre­vent that with a good diet and whole-food, non-synthetic supplements.


Good Skin­care! Make use of nat­ural skin care prod­ucts that con­tain antiox­i­dants and skin firm­ers, such as green tea, white tea, ascor­byl palmi­tate, ellagic acid, black­berry leaf, gotu kola, berry extracts or con­cen­trates, manuka honey, and neem leaf (you can also use neem leaf as an extract in spray form, which I love). Many of the brands I men­tion through­out my blog and in my book carry creams, lotions, mois­tur­iz­ers, and treat­ment serums con­tain­ing ingre­di­ents that will help you shrink your pores and keep them all small. Com­pa­nies like Skin Actives and Bulk Actives also carry these ingre­di­ents (and tons more) to help you make your own treat­ments, too.


Cleanse your face well. If you wear makeup, first try wear­ing less of it and use nat­ural foundation/tinted mois­tur­izer from com­pa­nies like Liv­ing Nature, 100% Pure, or All Nat­ural Face. When you take off your makeup at the end of the day, remove it with a nat­ural makeup remover or plain coconut oil. After that, be sure to spend 1 or 2 min­utes really clean­ing your face with a good nat­ural cleanser. Be gen­tle, don’t scrub, but be thor­ough. Left­over makeup on your skin will only clog pores and cre­ate more large pores and make the large pores appear larger.

I hope you guys found that help­ful! If you have any tips or tricks you use that have worked to shrink your pores, def­i­nitely leave a com­ment. :)
~Steph  x


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