This post was last updated on April 18, 2022 by Preethi Sukumaran
Ayurveda has a strong and well-researched point of view on skin health. In this blog post, we understand what causes open pores from an Ayurvedic perspective. And, we explore 8 easy, natural, Ayurvedic techniques you can adopt to unclog open pores and heal and cleanse oily skin.
Though it is commonly experienced by many of us, there is no strict definition of open pores in dermatology. Neither is there clear cut, acceptable research around what causes it. Some beauty experts and beauty product companies refer to it as old acne scars or pits, and some call it unevenness of skin. Dermatologists say that open pores are a natural result of skin cells being clogged with dead cells, sebum and cosmetic products.
Whatever be the explanation, today there are different treatments and beauty products available in the market to treat open pores. On one hand, there are a number of exfoliating scrubs, toners and face washes with tea tree oil, rosemary and activated charcoal. On the other, there are dermatologists who offer to treat open pores through chemical peels and microdermabrasion. This literally means to peel or sandpaper away the top layer of your skin, and encourage a new and smoother layer of skin to grow back.
But we’re not here to talk about what chemical treatments are available out there for open pores and how good they are. We are here to talk about truly natural, Ayurvedic ways to cleanse and shrink open pores. Read on to find out what it is.
Unclogging Open Pores: The Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurveda has a very strong and well researched point of view on skin health. It gives a rational explanation to make us understand how and why our skin texture and nature changes with diet, lifestyle and age. It also gives solutions to many modern day skin concerns like pigmentation, tanning, melasma, chloasma, vitiligo, and leucoderma.
When it comes to open pores, Ayurvedic texts tell us that it happens when the srotaas in our skin are oily and clogged.
Srotaas are minute channels of the skin which end in microscopic openings in the surface of the skin. They aid the skin in various ways:
When these srotaas are healthy, clean, well-nourished and flexible, they contract, expand and push waste out of the body. When the body’s waste expelling mechanism is healthy, the body is in a state of harmony. In other words, healthy srotaas equals good skin.
When do the srotaas get clogged?
According to Ayurveda, the srotaas get clogged when the pitta dosha (which is oily and watery) and kapha dosha (which is thick and clogging) in our body become aggravated. When they do, the oily, liquidy secretions increase, we sweat more, and our scalp starts generating more sebum.
This excess moisture and oil also travels to the srotaas (which expand because of the aggravation) and clogs them. When the srotaas get clogged, they look like open pores.
The 8 Ayurvedic Steps to Unclog & Cleanse Open Pores
1. Don’t over cleanse your skin
If your skin starts developing an oily sheen midday, don’t use drying wipes, microfiber cloths and harsh cleansing products. Remember not to over cleanse your skin either. This is especially important for those who have highly sensitive skin. For such people, harsh products and over cleansing can cause a strong reaction. It can make your skin oilier. It can also attract more microorganisms and dead cells, making pores look more visible and bigger on skin.
Instead, simply splash clean, cold water on your skin and pat dry with a clean cotton face towel. And for daily cleansing, once or twice a day, use a gentle, mild, pitta-balancing natural face wash. You can follow this up with an oil-balancing moisturiser or serum.
Note: Remember to not use any other skin care products in between your daily cleansing routine.
Looking for a better way to cleanse skin?
Explore Krya’s range of gentle, natural, cruelty-free products for facial cleansing
2. Don’t touch or pick at the skin or breakouts
Avoid this even if you have oily skin, acne or breakouts.
Normally, our fingertips carry dirt, microbes and sebum from handling the keyboard, smartphone etc. So, when we touch our facial skin often, we transfer some of these fresh microbes to our skin, thus encouraging breakouts. These also enlarge the appearance of open pores.
Moreover, people with pitta imbalance tend to have sour, spicy and salty exudations. And those with kapha imbalance tend to have sweet and oily exudations. Both these can attract microbes and these exudations can transfer on to the devices they use as well. So, when such people keep touching their skin with fingers that are full of these tastes, these rasass can provoke small inflammations and bumps on skin, further enlarging open pores.
We suggest that if you have oily skin and open pores, consciously avoid touching your face often, and keep your phones and other devices clean and oil free. This can help keep down the microbes and keep the skin clean.
3. Reset skin health at night
Workspaces, malls and closed air conditioned rooms can harbour a surprising amount of hidden dirt and microbes in their vents and filters. When your skin is exposed to this clogged, dirty air, it can absorb this dirt and block the srotaas, thus enlarging open pores.
The same applies to makeup. When you use light to heavy makeup regularly, and don’t remove it at night, or remove it using harsh cleansers, it can cause skin breakouts, and make the skin look dull and tired. In fact, the colour pigments found in foundations and highlighters can also severely clog skin. This is why it’s important to cleanse the skin at night before bed.
In both these cases, a night cleansing routine can go a long way in helping clear the skin, remove trapped debris, unclog open pores and reduce breakouts. For regular cleansing, you can use a gentle ayurvedic face wash. This can prevent build up of oil and debris in the srotaas, and bring down the size of open pores.
For removing makeup, you can use a suitable, ayurvedic makeup cleanser which is gentle, nourishing and heals your skin.
Are you using the right cleanser to remove makeup effectively?
4. Have a balanced skin nourishment routine
If you have oily, clogged skin, it’s important for you to avoid greasy skin products and instead use products that cool and hydrate your skin.
At Krya, we recommend using the Krya Classic Skin Serum for oily skin that is prone to open pores. It has Ayurvedic herbs and oils like clove, neem oil, durva, pomegranate, vettiver, and Indian sarsaparilla. These can dry out excess oil, cool skin, improve and even out skin tone, and brighten complexion. With consistent use, they can also result in even sebum production, and smaller, less visible open pores. For acne prone skin, we suggest the Krya Anti-acne Skin serum. It balances out oily secretions and helps provide very light, balanced nourishment to skin. It also (over time) improves skin clarity and brings in an even appearance.
Help me craft a custom Ayurvedic skincare routine
DM us with your skin concerns & description of your skin. We will help select the right Krya skincare products for you.
5. Use a healing ayurvedic mask to deep-cleanse unclog open pores
Ayurveda encourages the use of healing lepaas (masks) to deep-cleanse, rejuvenate and remove dosha imbalances in skin. Especially for those with oily skin, a healing lepa (mask) can tone, nourish and cleanse skin deeply, and unclog pores, making them look less visible.
Tip: You can add rose water to the masks before applying it on your skin. It is effective in balancing pitta and kapha, and keeping sebum production under control.
Those with oily skin type can use the Krya Classic Face Mask once a week to heal and cleanse oily, pitta prakriti skin. This mask has shothahara (inflammation reducing) herbs like arjuna and khadira which can shrink open pores, whiteheads and acne. This mask also has herbs like manjishta, ela (cardamom), and bilwa that can correct blemishes, balance pitta, and improve complexion.
Those with acne can use the Krya Anti-Acne Face Mask. This mask has anti-bacterial and blemish-lightening properties. It is made with potent and nourishing ingredients like daruharidra (tree turmeric), karunjiraka (black cumin seeds). lodhra, bitter gourd, and vettiver. It has medicated mung bean which enhances skin potency. It also has guava fruit & liquorice which are high in AHAs and are known to even out skin tone and moisturise skin.
Men can use the Krya Classic Men’s Face Mask, which has 43 Ayurvedic herb formulations like patranga, cloves, kalmegh, and palash pushpa. These herbs can unclog and deep -cleanse congested skin, even out sebum production, and cool and soothe skin. Over time, they can also make the skin healthy, and skin tone even.
To know more about how to use an Ayurvedic face mask, read our earlier post here.
6. Unclog open pores by regulating your diet
Eating on time and choosing the right food can go a long way in keeping your skin healthy. Here are a few general diet and eating practices you can follow:
- Have freshly cooked, warm food during each meal
- Have your heaviest meal during lunch, and a light meal during dinner
- Eat only when hungry, and chew your food properly
- Avoid sharp, salty, sour or spicy tastes
- Keep fried, and oily foods at bay and avoid foods like cheese, chocolate, curd, ice-cream and sweets
What is the right time to eat everyday?
Read more about this and how to plan your meals here.
7. Reduce stress and bring in balance by switching off everyday
Switching off once you come back from work can help balance stress, which in turn can help maintain a healthy skin. You can follow a calming routine every evening to help pacify your mind and body. For example, you can do calming yogic poses like shavaasana, wear cool, pastel colours, have a regular evening meditation routine, follow a screen free evening and so on.
Note: When we are under stress, our pitta aggravates, our anger rises and we tend to stress eat and indulge in oily and sweet foods. Ideally, we need to avoid stress-eating because it will only clog our skin further. Instead, we can resort to calming activities like yoga and meditation.
8. Bathe using the correct body cleansers
When there is oil build up in the face, it makes sense to work on balancing it through the body. You can do this by bathing everyday using dosha balancing skin cleansers. Soaps are not healthy for skin (even if they are handmade). A well-made Ayurvedic choornam keeps the srotaas in good shape, balances imblanaced doshas in skin, and also helps keep you feeling cool, comfortable and refreshed everday.
When you work on reducing pitta and kapha buildup throughout your skin and not just the facial skin, you get better thermo-regulation, proper sweating and mala release through all the channels.
Explore our Dosha balancing body cleansers here
The positive effects of rose water
Rose water is an effective and much better alternative to toners, which are usually suggested by some western practitioners. It is pitta balancing, and an effective astringent. When used topically, it can control oiliness, cool heated skin, and also help shrink reddish pitta abscesses and pimples.
Normally, rosewater is used on the face as a floral hydrosol. It is extracted in the steam distillation process. And, the rosewater vapour arising from distillation is separately collected for use as a facial toner or hydrosol. If you’d like to know more about how to make rose water at home, read our blog here.
To Sum Up: Follow an External & Internal Regimen to Unclog Open Pores
Oily skin is extremely well understood in Ayurveda as being a manifestation of pitta and kapha imbalance in the skin. This can arise due to improper ahara (food/diet), use of wrong products on skin (like harsh cleansers and wet wipes) or because of the inherent constitution of the individual.
Proper external skin care is critical in oily skin. The skin care products chosen should be mild, soothing and refreshing. It should gently balance pitta using madhura, tikta and kashaaya rasaas (sweet, bitter and astringent tastes).
In this post, we explored many important facets to oily skin and open pores including not over handling it, choosing right ahara and right products to manage this skin.
We hope this primer gives you a complete set of easily do-able steps to care for oily skin and improve its health. We’d love to hear from you on how these open pores techniques are working for you, and help you choose the right products to maintain skin health.
Feel free to write to us or share your thoughts in the comments section below.