Unfortunately, the size of our pores is determined by our genetics, and you can’t actually get rid of them. But, you can make them look smaller or less visible. That’s because there are two main factors that make enlarged pores appear the way they do.
When pores are continually clogged, they stretch out. This means that keeping your skin clear and unclogged can help reduce the size and appearance of even the largest pores. Learning how to maintain higher levels of collagen can help improve pore appearance too. These are just a glimpse of the tips we’ve gathered to help you shrink the appearance of your pores and improve your skin in the process.
How To Minimize Pores
Even if you’re frustrated by the appearance of your pores, they’re necessary to keep your skin moisturized and supple. Your pores contain sebum, an oily, waxy material that’s designed to keep your skin moisturized and protect against sun damage from UV radiation.
Although we can’t get rid of our pores altogether, there are some skincare products and routines that can help reduce their appearance. You don’t need surgery or regimens to minimize the appearance of your pores when you follow these twelve simple steps. These quick and easy tips will help you feel confident and keep your skin healthy.
1. Find Your Skin Type
Knowing whether your skin is dry, oily, normal, sensitive, or a combination will help you choose the right ingredients for your skincare routine. If your skin is drier or more sensitive, you may need to approach exfoliation more slowly and gently to make sure you don’t dry it out or irritate it. Those with drier skin can use heavier oils and creams compared to someone with oily skin. But skin on the oilier side can often take on more retinol without too much irritation.
Finding out your skin type will help you use the right products to minimize your pores’ appearance without irritating your skin.
2. Avoid Pore-Clogging Ingredients
Oil on your face isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some of the heavier oils can clog pores. When you’re shopping for products, look for the label “non-comedogenic,” which means it won’t clog your pores. Formulations that don’t clog pores or irritate skin will help you keep your pores looking small.
“When you’re shopping for products, look for the label “non-comedogenic,” which means it won’t clog your pores.”
However, by avoiding oils it is possible to swing too far in the other direction. You don’t want ingredients that irritate or dry out your skin either. Your skin is always seeking a balance, so if you dry it out by using cleansers or other facial products that are too harsh, it might over-generate sebum to try to fix the dryness that you’ve just caused. Make sure to always balance with a consistent use of moisturizer.
Look for skincare products that contain the following non-comedogenic ingredients to help reduce pore appearance, soothe skin, and balance oil production:
3. Give Your Skin the Right Nutrients
There are so many reasons to eat nourishing food, and shrinking enlarged pores is one of them. When you eat food that’s high in unhealthy fat and oils, it inflames your skin, which leads to clogged pores.
That doesn’t mean that you should avoid all fat, though. The body needs healthy fat to function, such as the fat found in walnuts, olives, and avocados. Additionally, eating enough fruits and vegetables can also help your skin glow.
Fats and oils to avoid or eat less of include:
- animal fats
- partially hydrogenated oils that are found mostly in processed and packaged food
4. Cleanse Daily
If you don’t cleanse your skin in the evening, your pores hold onto all the material, including oil, that have been building up on your face all day. Cleansing your face gets rid of all that buildup so that your pores aren’t stretching to hold onto it.
However, it is a good idea to find a cleanser that’s designed for your skin type. For example, oil-free cleansers are often good for oily skin, but may be too drying for dry and sensitive skin. A good cleanser can help detoxify your skin and cleanse pores at the same time.
5. Always Take Your Makeup Off Each Day
Even non-comedogenic makeup can clog your pores if you leave it on overnight. Cleansing twice a day – at the beginning and end – is important, especially the nighttime cleanse to get rid of any makeup from the day. If you need to, consider keeping a pack of makeup-remover wipes at your bedside for nights when you forget your cleanser routine.
6. Refine Pores with a Toner
After you cleanse, try a toner that has some exfoliant properties — you’ll be hydrating and unclogging at the same time! As with other skincare products, make sure you choose the right one for your skin type.
An easy daily detox toner with ingredients like glycolic acid that helps remove dead skin cells and willow bark that soothes and hydrates skin will ensure your pores will be clean and healthy.
7. Pick Products With Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), is soluble in oil, meaning it only dissolves in oil (as opposed to water). This property means that it can actually be absorbed inside the pore, and then push out anything that’s clogging it, like dead skin, bacteria, and sebum.
Pick one or two skincare products with salicylic acid to balance your routine, like a gentle pore unclogging face scrub that helps remove dead skin and treat acne. (You don’t want all of your products to contain this ingredient though as it can be harsh for sensitive or dry skin types.)
8. Remove Dead Skin With Exfoliation
Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and improves the cell turnover of your skin, which in turn boosts collagen production. Having more collagen makes your skin look firmer, which can help shrink your pore appearance.
Be kind to your skin (and the environment) when you exfoliate. Crushed apricot pits have rough edges that can damage your skin, and microbeads often end up floating in waterways and killing off sea life. Instead, try more natural exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs that slough off the outer layer of dead skin without tearing it. They melt away the bonds between the surface of your skin and the cells. However, they also leave your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so you’ll need to be diligent about using sunscreen every day.
“...try more natural exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs that slough off the outer layer of dead skin without tearing it.”
In addition to salicylic acid, retinols will also exfoliate your skin, keeping your pores unclogged. Don’t use retinols on the same day of your AHA/BHA application though. This may be too harsh and could dry out your skin.
9. Unclog Pores With a Clay Mask
Clay is known to help draw oil out of the pores, and a clay mask can help shrink the appearance of those pores.
Cleanse your face first, and then put a thin layer of the clay on your skin. Leave it on for a few minutes to give the clay time to work its magic, and then you can rinse it off. Most people may need to follow this with a moisturizing regimen since clay is drying.
10. Remove Blackheads and Clogged Pores with a Pore-Removing Strip
Using pore-remover strips is a great way to spot treat any enlarged or clogged pores. Even people with normally dry skin can get blackheads and clogged pores around their nose. If your most enlarged pores aren’t on your nose, there are pore strips that work on different parts of the face as well.
11. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
UV radiation can damage and reduce collagen, and when you have less collagen, your skin is less supple. That actually makes your pores look bigger.
The easiest way to incorporate sunscreen into your skincare routine is to find a daily moisturizer that has a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher. It’s best to reapply sunscreen after a few hours, so don’t forget to carry it with you.
12. Avoid Touching Your Face
This last tip may seem like common sense, but most of us touch our faces way more than we realize. When we are out and haven’t washed or sanitized our hands, we can then transfer bacteria to our face without realizing it and clog our pores as a result.
Remember that this also means avoiding picking at your skin. It can be tempting to pick at a whitehead or blackhead when you spot one, but that can actually lead to scarring, transfer of bacteria, and more spots on your face you’ll want to get rid of. Try a spot treatment or salicylic acid above instead.
Pores are a normal part of our skin, but that doesn’t mean we have to let them be unhealthy and clogged. Taking care of your pores and your facial skin with a routine based on your skin type and products you know and love will help you put your best face – and healthiest pores – forward.