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Can a Clay Mask Tighten pores?
Maintaining your skin is a constant struggle. For as long as I can remember I have been battling an ever increasing list of skin concerns, the major ones being incredible oil production and big open pores which is, as you can imagine, a killer combination.
What you’ll learn
What is a clogged pore?
The 3 major causes of enlarged pores are high oil production, low skin elasticity, and number of hair follicles. Smaller and cleaner pores diminishes the appearance of blackheads and acne as well the production of excess oil.
How do you get rid of clogged pores?
Really simple, deep cleansing. It’s hard to most washes and cleanses to absorb the impurities trapped in your pores. Regularly using a detoxing face mask can be an effective tool to unclog your pores.
Can a clay mask tighten pores? Can I shrink my pores?
Adsorbing and tightening properties of clay helps your facial pores become less visible for smoother looking skin. Contrary to most marketing, the size of your pores will not change, but you can improve the elasticity of the skin surrounding the pore. Clay also cleanses and removing impurities built up in the pore. This improves the appearance of the pore.
I’m a big believer in education. First learn about the “what”, today that’s all about pores. Then let’s talk about some solutions.
So let’s dive in!
What is a pore anyhow?
Pores are not the villains as we are led to believe, they are harmless benign parts of our skin’s anatomy. You are born with these tiny depressions in your skin and they house important oil and sweat glands on our faces.
According to research, the density and size of pores vary depending on your ethnicity and age.
From a study of more than 2,500 women, women from East Asian countries were found to have the smallest pore size while women from the Indian subcontinent have the largest.
Fact: as popularly believed, pores are not a sign of ageing, in fact their prevalence only slightly changes with age.
The bad news? It appears that the area of your face with enlarged pores actually increases as you get older:
The good news? It does appear the density of the enlarged pores decreases with age.
No matter how much we dislike being oily and sweaty, these glands are very important to maintain normal moisture levels of the skin.
But of course, balance is key in everything. As much as we need our skin’s natural oils for a youthful glow, excess of this oil or “sebum”, is the main cause behind so many of our biggest skin problems.
Oily skin not only makes our makeup slip and slide but as the tiny pore fills up with sebum, it expands to hold the extra volume which causes it to become more visible then we’d like it to be. That’s the reason we see the largest pores or oil wells, as I like to call mine, on our noses and cheeks. Those are the parts where our skin tends to produce most of this sebum.
Clogged VS unclogged pores
An enlarged skin pore is just an unsightly open pore filled with oil, but that is not the worst of it. Pores starts to load more than just sebum. The bigger it is, the more it gets buildup with dirt and makeup and whatever product we apply on our skin.
Once it’s packed up with all the gunk that doesn’t get cleaned up, we get those pesky little blackheads.
MYTH: there is no such thing as an open or a closed pores. They do not open and close like a door.
There are 3 major causes of enlarged pores:
high oil production
number of hair follicles
Those are the worst right? NO:
Once a pore is clogged, wait till it gets infected and swell up like a new head popping out of an existing one. Not a cute picture, but we all go through it at some point.
I’ve spent years of my life being so embarrassed and sad about my enlarged pores and acne and how it scarred my skin permanently. I only wish I understood the science behind these very common occurrences and tried to prevent them from the root.
Is there hope? *spoiler* YES, But..
Out of all the unsolicited, unwanted advice I received from people on a regular basis the best was; wash your face… yeah what a shocking life changing advice, truly transformative.
I still get bitter every time I think about how miserable I felt when I heard those things. But those people were just trying to help and of course they didn’t understand the reason why only washing our face isn’t enough, just like I didn’t.
Thing is, although for us our pores are bigger then the entire pacific ocean, but they are actually quite small in reality. Normal face washes and cleansers find it hard to get inside them, especially when they are clogged and they just remove oil from the skin surface every time we wash.
Don’t get me wrong, washing your face is an extremely important part of a healthy skincare routine. Every morning and evening.
So what does help?
The key word; DETOX. To shrink those holes in your skin, you need something which can suck out all the gunk from the deepest of those pores. This is where we understand the importance of a good detoxifying clay mask.
Clay is well known for its absorptive quality. Since ancient time, it’s been used not only topically as an antiseptic on wounds but also internally to absorb poisons and acid from the stomach. It’s used for decontamination for water and have also been proven to have anti-bacterial effect on many deadly germs.
How does Clay clean pores?
I often get asked the question, can clay tighten or shrink my pores?
It’s important to note, the size of your pores will not actually change. Bummer, I know. However what’s important is to improve the elasticity of the skin around your pores, which will reduce the appearance of your pores.
However, there are two important properties of clay which work its magic on your pores.
When a dry clay is applied to the skin in form of a paste, there are negatively charged particles in the clay which attract positively charged dirt found on our skin and from inside the pores. The opposite charge particles tightly bind with each other and are then washed away.
Related: Learn the science of how clay works.
This is much more effective then washing the face with a cleanser as it flushes out all the impacted material from the pores.
The cleaner the pore is the smaller it will appear and there is less chance of it getting clogged again.
Astringents are materials which cause contraction of the surface they are applied to.
It’s the astringency of facial clays which induces the feeling of tightness as the paste dries on your face. The clay contracts the skin, firming it up.
This double effect of clay leaves your face matte and smooth. Your makeup will go on so much better and lasts way longer then what you’re used to as an oily gal.
Like all good things in life, this won’t last forever:
As the day goes by, our skin’s natural tendency to produce oil will take over and you’ll be facing the same issues again. Therefore it’s necessary that clay masks are a regular part of your nightly skincare routine. Our skin is exposed to harsh environmental factors every day which makes it more prone to getting clogged so a clay mask is important to make sure the skin is clean and detoxified before bed
This will prevent excess oil production, blackheads and acne. Your skin will become softer and more youthful then before.
What clay is best for shrinking the appearance of your pores?
Bentonite clay has an expansion of up to 18x it’s size when mixed with liquid. That means it also has an excellent adsorption ability to remove what’s been trapped in your pores.
Here are my favorite bentonite clay mask recipes for excellent pore cleansing:
- Bentonite and Apple Cider Vinager (start simple with the basics, plus it works!)
- Bentonite Turmeric Mask
- Activated Charcoal and Bentonite Mask
We just need to get creative and find what works best for our skin.
Got more questions? Just ask in the comments below! I also have answers to the most common clay mask questions here.