Getting ready for a sun-sational spring? Us too. We’re not just getting ready to bare our legs in shorts, though. We’re also preparing to reveal – gasp – our pores.

We know, we know, a lot of us consider our pores sordid business to bring out into the light; a part of the body better left under a coat of foundation or dusted with powder.

We like wearing less makeup in the summer; we like letting our freckles show through; we like not being self-conscious about revealing our skin.

Pores, everyone has them, although we acknowledge (albeit with some envy) that all are not created equal. Some are just blessed with tiny, invisible pores, and others (can I get an I-hear-ya) struggle to accept ours that are slightly more visible. Larger pores can be the result of genetics, age and your skin over-producing oil.

Here’s the good news: While you can’t shrink them, you can minimize the appearance of pores and clear away blackheads to make them less noticeable.

Unpacking and minimizing the visibility of your pores go hand in hand. Nothing cleans out pores quite like manual extractions performed by your esthetician (don’t try this at home, folks). However, we’ve developed a few products that do wonders in ridding them of gunk (gunk: our cheeky, not-so-scientific word for sebum, bacteria and the dead skin cells that make up pore blockages).

So behold, your pores’ new BFFs.

Mask It Up

Our Detox Clay Acne Mask can be used as a spot treatment on zits, but it’s also a supremely effective pore treatment if spread as a thin layer over blackheads or over-sized pores. Active Sulfur and Zinc Oxide purge the skin of impurities and Kaolin Clay draws dirt directly from pores for a noticeably less congested look. If you’re new to Detox Clay Acne Mask, start by using one to two times weekly.

Exfoliate It

The trick to exfoliating away all those dead skin cells that clog pores and result in them appearing more visible? Alternate a gentle but effective chemical peel with a porous scrub to deliver the most thorough exfoliation. We swear by our Power Peel Refining Glycolic Acid Gel and our Power Scrub Exfoliating Wash. Encourage skin cell turnover and clear the skin of dead skin cells that not only hasten oil production but that drastically increase pore visibility with this winning combination. If you’re new to Power Peel and Power Scrub, use Power Peel twice weekly at night under your serums and moisturizer; for maximum benefits, follow with Power Scrub in the morning. Exfoliating regularly is the key to keeping blackheads away.

Moisturize It!

Now this one may seem counter-intuitive. Your pores are the size of potholes and your skin is shiny and slick soooo, the answer is to moisturize? Yep, it really really is. After you cleanse and exfoliate, all the dead skin cells and the oil wiped away, moisturizing helps stall your skin’s natural production of oil. The drier your skin, the more oil it will try to produce, making your pores appear larger. We find that our Special Delivery Cream moisturizer, designed for all skin types, is great for skin that’s been over producing oil, inflicted with breakouts, or just in need of a little TLC.

Like all other aspects of your skin’s health, using the right product is not the whole story. Here are a few habits that you can develop in order to maximize the benefits of topical skincare.

Eat for your skin; eat for your pores.

Consuming vegetables rich in Vitamin C increases collagen production, promotes skin elasticity and mitigates the oil production that clogs pores. Try eating more broccoli, spinach, kale, chives, parsley, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens. All of these foods contain chlorophyll which eliminates toxins from the skin.

Eating foods rich in Zinc prevents the overproduction of oil in the skin and reduces breakouts. Vegetables rich in Zinc include seaweed, mushrooms, alfalfa, squash, zucchini and spinach.

You’re in luck, spring-time is ideal for finding many of these greens fresh from your local farmers market or grocery store.

Now repeat after me: Nutrition Matters.

Drink for your skin; drink for your pores.

At the risk of sounding like an after-school-special, just say no to sugary beverages! Consuming drinks (or food) high in sugar causes inflammation throughout your body, including in your skin. This in turn makes your skin and pores, perfect environments for bacteria to grow. Bacteria thrive on the protein and oil in your pores. They cause breakouts and blackheads alike.

So forgo that diet soda and drink water instead. We know, it’s a lot less sweet on the tongue, but your pores will thank you.

And lastly, resist the impulse to squeeze (unless you’re talking about squeezing into those skinny jeans, in which case, have at it).

Leave manual extractions to the pros! You may think squeezing the gunk out of your enlarged pore is the quickest solution, but it isn’t. The problem with squeezing is that it increases inflammation and often works the gunk deeper into your skin, leading to an even larger problem than you began with. Although providing a modicum of short-term relief, squeezing and picking does long-term damage to your pores that makes them more sizable and noticeable as you age.

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Here’s to keeping you as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside!