[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #267abf;”]T[/dropcap]here are many factors that determine the look of our skin. Of all these factors there is one that most women stress over and want to change the most; the appearance of our pores.

In a recent Harris Poll sponsored by L’Oreal, 23 percent of woman said they would actually give up their favorite cocktails for a whole year just to have smaller looking pores. While this is a light-hearted way to say that we want smaller pores, thankfully there are steps we can follow that will allow us to keep our pores looking their best and we don’t have to sacrifice anything – cocktails or otherwise.

Exfoliate Frequently

Exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin, promoting new cell generation. It also removes any dead skin cells that may be in your pores. Exfoliating removes and keeps the pores clean and shallow, thus looking smaller.

Exfoliating is not something that you will do every day. In fact exfoliating too frequently can irritate your skin and could actually increase the size of your pores. Not to confuse you on this, but once to twice a week is usually sufficient.

You can use any combination of exfoliant products you what which suit your skin. They can range from physical exfoliants (such as facial scrubs), chemical exfoliants (such as alcohol-free glycolic serums) or special facials that exfoliate, tighten, tone and balance skin coloration such as the Skindulgence Facelift.

Keep Your Face Clean

While this may seem obvious, our busy schedules can at times make this difficult. Our busy days leaves us with little energy at the end of the day. When bedtime rolls around, the comfort of our head resting on our pillow gains more thought than our pores.

However taking the extra time to ensure all makeup and oils from the day have been removed goes a long way to ensuring our pores stay clean. Washing twice daily with a proper pH-balanced cleanser is vital to any skincare routine. The cleanser must not be harsh or abrasive to your skin, while at the same time must be able to effectively deep clean your skin.

A cleanser that has been created for twice-a-day use is the Skindulgence Cleanser and is effective on all skin types. You may also consider using a facial brush to further increase the cleansing power of your cleanser of choice.

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Wear Sunscreen

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays creates free radical damage, which slows down cell production. “Slow cell production forces your skin to work harder,” says Shawn Solomon, a paramedical esthetician and owner of Thornhill Skin Care. “In turn, the stratum corneum thickens, and this can make the pores look large and ruddy.”

Sunscreen is on our minds in the summer months, but we seem to forget about it through fall, winter and spring. The sun does not take any breaks providing the damaging rays and neither should we. Always have some form of sunscreen protecting your skin.

Apply Retinol-Based Products

Our skin like the rest of our body if provided the right nutrients and minerals, can be better equipped to deal with the environment we live in. Use of retinol-based products on our face is another example.

“They work by decreasing the cohesiveness of the epidermal cells so all the debris gets removed from the pores,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a New York City dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. For this aspect of your skincare routine you can use the Skindulgence Essence.

Use the Power of Steam

Cecilia Wong, a holistic esthetician and owner of Cecilia Wong Skincare, suggests opening up pores and removing debris, oil, and other impurities with an herbal facial steam. To do this, combine hot water, fresh red rose petals, lavender, pansy, rosemary, basil, and mint in a large bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with a dish towel for five minutes, then remove the towel and slowly move your face over the steam. Inhale the aromatic scent, and remain under the towel for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the steam to bring oxygen and moisture to your face while cleansing pores. Afterward, rinse with tepid water, and pat dry.

Pamper Yourself with a Spa Day

You deserve to pamper yourself and even though “because I’m worth it” was a good enough reason to pamper yourself, you can add having smaller pores to the list as well.

One of the most popular professional treatments for achieving a youthful complexion with petite pores is microdermabrasion, says Maria Rianna, lead esthetician at White Tea Med Spa in New York City. This procedure works by peeling off the outermost layer of skin, abrading the blackheads off, and using suction to effectively pull out the remaining dirt and hardened oil from the pores. When the trapped oil reaches the surface, the pores return to their natural (smaller) shape since there’s nothing inside to enlarge them.

Microdermabrasion also stimulates collagen production and increases elasticity, which is essential for keeping pores tight.

Wipe Down Post-Workout

Physical activity and working out is great for our body. Getting our daily “sweat-on” not only keeps us younger and fit, it’s great for our energy levels, our mood and many other factors. It can however have a negative effect on our pores.

Sweating can clog our pores. To prevent this from happening be sure to wipe down post workout. If you have the ability to shower immediately after your work that is great. This will clean your skin, but if that is not an option, use of towelettes that are moistened with gentle cleansers and salicylic acid are great to keep in your gym bag.

Following these seven steps will not only keep your pores small and it will also improve the overall health and look of your skin. Let your natural beauty shine through.

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