We generally use the term “open pores” when we’re trying to describe pores that appear large and noticeable. However, the idea that pores become large in appearance because they’re “open,” and that they can be diminished by being “closed,” is a skincare myth. Below, we’ll discuss the real causes of open pores, and introduce you to some DIY treatments for large pores.

What causes “open” pores?

What we often refer to as an “open” pore is usually a large and/or clogged pore. Unfortunately, people have large pores due to genetic factors, and may not be able to do very much to diminish their appearance. In other cases, though, the appearance of large, noticeable pores might be caused by a buildup of sebum (the skin’s natural oil) within the individual pores.

Sebum buildup can be caused by a range of factors. For instance, hormonal imbalances can trigger your body to produce too much sebum, resulting in clogged pores. Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin can also contribute to clogged pores. Over time, these buildups of sebum can cause blackheads and whiteheads, which in turn can lead to more serious forms of acne.

DIY treatment for naturally large pores

If your large pores are caused by genetic factors, there’s probably a limited extent to which you can reduce their appearance. The best option for treating naturally large pores is a regular DIY skin tightening mask with bentonite clay. Bentonite clay and egg white help to tighten the skin, temporarily diminishing the appearance of large pores. It’s not a permanent solution to the issue, so you’ll need to use it about twice per week to continue seeing results. The bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar will also help to draw oil out of your pores and balance oil production to prevent future pore clogs.

To make our skin tightening mask, combine 3 tablespoons of bentonite clay and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a bowl, and stir until the ingredients form a dry paste. (The clay and vinegar will fizz when you combine them; this is because they’re reacting chemically to each other, forming a pH-balanced solution.) Now add the white of 1 egg, and whisk everything together until it’s evenly incorporated.

To use this mask, start with cleansed, dry skin. Apply an even layer of the mask to your entire face, avoiding your delicate eye area. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes until the mask has solidified and dried a bit but has not become completely dry. Remove with warm water, and follow up with a non-comedogenic toner and moisturizer.

DIY treatment for clogged pores

To tackle clogged pores, we recommend a multi-step approach. First, you’ll want to make sure that you’re exfoliating up to three times per week in order to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

You can also mix up a DIY face mask for clogged pores to use once or twice per week. Our DIY mask includes activated charcoal and bentonite clay to absorb excess oil, along with astringent apple cider vinegar and witch hazel, and balancing jojoba oil. To make the mask, combine 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder, 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay, 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of witch hazel, and 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil. Stir everything together until it’s thoroughly combined.

To use the mask, apply an even layer to freshly cleansed, dry skin. (For the best results, use this mask directly after exfoliating.) Allow it to sink in for about 20 minutes, and then remove with warm water, and follow up with your favorite toner and non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Camille Bond is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has interned in the film industry and the publishing industry, as well as for a political campaign. When it comes to the world of beauty and wellness, she loves researching natural skincare brands, concocting DIY recipes, and discovering new mediation techniques!