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Beauty & Beyond: Large Pores No More

Your tan. It’s officially gone. So what does that mean? You can see everything. And by “everything,” I mean your pores. And when you walk by that magnifying mirror on the department store beauty counter...ouch.

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Despite what beauty companies claim, you can’t shrink them. And since you have an average of 20,000 on your face (some with moon crater status), you’re probably sitting in silent panic right now.

Before you start deciding how to fashionably fit full-face ski masks into your winter wardrobe, you can minimize your pores’ appearance.

Pores are openings to your sebaceous glands. Each secretes sebum (oil) to give your skin a natural boost of hydration and protection. Although age and sun damage play a role in pore size, you can thank mom and dad since it’s mostly genetic. And when pores are clogged with dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, no matter their size, it’s not pretty. Here's what helps.

Keep Clean. Skincare 101 that washing your face promotes healthy-looking skin, but getting über-clean requires going beyond the basics. Try using astringents and toners after washing, but keep them to alcohol-free ones since winter winds are already wrecking havoc on your skin's hydration level. Also grab one of those beloved Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips and see dirt coming out onto a sticky strip (a guilty pleasure of ours too - shhh, we won't tell). If you have extra cash lying around, I’ve always loved Obagi’s Nu-Derm Cleansing System. It cleans out the pores and exfoliates the dead layer of skin to promote cellular turn over. This pushes yucky stuff up from deep underneath the surface. Although it’s pricy (around $400 for the six-step system), it’s worth it for small pore appearance.

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Mask the Problem. Consider doing a weekly cleansing facial (think mud masks) to help skin release pesky dirt and oil. Check out Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Mattifying Mask and Anthony Logistics Deep Pore Cleansing Clay Mask (yes, it says it's for men but trust me.

Cover Up. Once you’re done with all this skin TLC, consider the cover up. But be sure you aren’t making things worse. Stay away from cream foundations. Anything heavy will just sink right in. In the winter, forgo concealer if you can and instead use a primer followed by applying a drop of a lightweight foundation with a sponge. The prime.r creates a barrier between makeup and skin, so there’s less chance of the makeup settling in. My go-to pore busters are Becca’s Resurfacing Primer and Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder.

Avoid Self-Tanners. Adding a summer glow to pale winter skin is tempting, but I’ve been told by experts that self-tanners can be a pore’s nightmare. They really make your pores jump out because the color goes right into the pores and stains what’s in them. Opt for powder bronzers instead if you want a beach glow during a snow storm.

Ignoring the “size matters” stigma is tough, but pore size shouldn’t be a touchy subject. My advice? Get rid of your magnifying mirror. No one looks at you with seven times magnification, so you don't need to look at yourself that way either.

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