The good news about enlarged skin pores is that unless they are standing very close to us, most other people won’t notice ours. However, enlarged pores can still cause us a lot of self-consciousness, so let’s find out exactly what they are and what we can do about them.

Essentially, we all have pores, and we need them to release perspiration. Why some of us get larger pores is largely due to genetics. People with oily skin tend to have larger pores that release more sebum (natural oil). Excess sebum tends to attract dirt, which can get stuck in the pores and trigger an enlarging, inflammatory reaction, or get lodged there as blackheads, which are never a good look. Oily skin can also shine, drawing the eye to problem areas.

We often try to cover skin problems with make-up, but foundation can settle in pores, highlighting the very problem we are trying to hide. Skin thickens in response to sun damage, further enlarging the pores. As we age, cell activity slows; we no longer slough off old cells at the same rate and we produce less collagen and elastic. All these factors contribute to enlarged, visible pores.

While a good skincare routine is vital, this too can be tricky. Harsh cleansing can actually make the sebaceous glands produce more oil in an attempt to rebalance what has been lost. However, we need to avoid a build up of grime and make up. Choose a very gentle cleanser with natural ingredients. It may seem counter-intuitive but cleansing with olive oil on a face cloth is kind but effective – any plant oil can break down make-up and there are no added nasties. Wipe off with warm water and then splash with cold water as this closes pores, which is especially important before applying make-up.

Apple cider vinegar is naturally astringent and anti-microbial, which means it makes a great toner. Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar, apply with a cloth and wipe off after a few minutes.

It’s tempting to exfoliate often. Younger skin can handle exfoliation better but by age forty, the skin naturally only turns over every forty days. Exfoliating more often than that is too much. Skin brushing (choose natural bristles) however, helps activate cells for a rejuvenating effect.

For a very skin and planet-friendly DIY face mask, try eggs whites. Apply, leave until they are dry and wipe off, taking dirt and old make-up particles with them.

And remember, enlarged pores really aren’t as large a problem as we think they are!