Pores are healthy openings for hair follicles in the skin. They allow the body to release sweat, which helps us cool down, and a body oil known as sebum to keep our skin moisturized. It’s natural that some pores are bigger than others, but many people view large pores as unsightly or unappealing. Large pores can sometimes allow more dirt and debris to get trapped under the skin, which may cause pimples and other skin irritations if they aren’t cleaned properly. But, they are not directly a sign of unhealthy skin.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to reduce the size of pores, though many of us wish we could. The size of each pore is set by genetics among other things. But hope is not lost! You can minimize their visibility by keeping them healthy-looking with a consistent skincare routine.
Why Are My Pores So Big?
Large pores most often result from:
- environmental factors
Exposure to the sun reduces skin elasticity by removing water as well as essential proteins and lipids from the dermal layers. This effect can also create pulling at a pore’s edges.
When cared for and cleaned properly, large skin pores aren’t really cause for concern. However, if the skin is dirty, there’s a higher chance that larger pores will become clogged by dirt and debris on the face. Once clogged, pores can form pockets of hardened body oils called sebaceous filaments, which make the pores appear even more enlarged and form blackheads or whiteheads.
“If the skin is dirty, there’s a higher chance that larger pores will become clogged by dirt and debris on the face.”
Large Pore Skincare Routine
Though it's not possible to shrink them, a good skincare regimen will help reduce the visibility of your pores, keep them from becoming clogged, and stop the production of noticeable blackheads and pimples. Try the following steps to minimize the appearance of your pores and give your skin a healthy glow.
Shop 3 Step Regimen
Thoroughly wash your face every morning, every evening, and after sweating with an effective facial cleanser. Products with charcoal or salicylic acid are effective at detoxifying and deep-cleaning the pores. Wash gently (don't overwash!) to avoid damaging the skin.
2. Pore Strip
Pore strips may not be a normal part of your current skincare routine, but they are great at cleaning out pores by lifting out dead skin cells and dirt that can clog them. Pore strips instantly remove blackheads and a week's worth of pore clogging gunk in just one use.
Consider it a bonus if you find face pore strips that don’t just work on your nose but also on your chin, cheeks, and forehead.
Use a gentle facial scrub a few times a week to get rid of dead skin on your face. Exfoliating scrubs can unclog the pores, which also helps your skin naturally self-moisturize. When dead cells and built-up debris are released from the pores, the chances of blackheads or other acne breakouts are also reduced.
Apply a daily toner that maintains your skin's balance and helps shrink the appearance of pores. Look for a toner with glycolic acid that will help dislodge dead skin cells and prime your skin for hydration. Other effective toners are those that are formulated with salicylic acid, which reduces excess body oils, and toners with witch hazel, which naturally cleans pores out.
“[Toner] maintains your skin's balance and helps shrink the appearance of pores.”
Just a little reminder, the build-up of oils—trapped in the pores by dirt, dead cells, and debris—cause blackheads and pimples, so a toner is just another step to help prevent this.
Moisturizing your skin is essential. Even if you have naturally oily skin, don't skip a daily moisturizer.
Moisturizing is especially important if your skin is too dry because the body overcompensates and produces excess sebum, which clogs pores and makes them appear larger. With a moisturizer at the end of your skincare routine, your skin will be fully hydrated, primed, and prepped for a day full of outdoor toxins or a night of beauty rest.
Tips for Large Pores
Though a daily routine is essential to keeping your pores healthy, there are a few more ways you can take to reduce pore size and maintain your skin's overall appearance.
Take a Look at Your Products
Keeping track of the products you’re using, as well as the results you see from each skincare item, can help you curate the perfect skincare routine for you.
If your skin is still too oily, try substituting a water-based moisturizer or one that's lighter than your current product. If you have naturally oily skin, avoid items like beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil, dimethicone, and red pigments.
If your skin is too dry, give a heavier oil-based product a try. Letting a night cream sit on your skin overnight can help soothe even the driest skin. Try ingredients like hyaluronic acid to add even more moisture to your face.
If you’re skin is prone to acne, use products that contain only non-comedogenic compounds (ingredients that won't clog the pores). Comedogenic ingredients, such as lanolin and some red dyes, can promote acne in these types of skin.
Everyone's skin is different. What works for one person might not work for you, so trial and error will likely be a part of your first few skincare routines.
Try a Clay Mask
Give a clay mask a go to manage your skin's oil and maintain a healthy moisture balance. Clay helps draw out excess oils and dirt from the face. It also opens up pores, allowing more debris to wash away when you use your cleanser. A warming mask is especially helpful in opening up pores to more easily pull away debris from the face.
“Clay helps draw out excess oils and dirt from the face. It also opens up pores, allowing more debris to wash away when you use your cleanser.”
Green clay often works well for reducing excess sebum on oily skin. Red clay may work well for people who suffer from naturally dry skin. It forms a barrier when it hardens that helps the skin reabsorb oils, allowing you to maintain your skin's moisture. Whatever type you use, clay's absorbing properties can easily dry out the skin, so only apply a mask once per week to keep from over drying.
Wash Off Makeup Before Bed
Washing the makeup off your face before turning in for the night is a must. If you don't, you might wake up in the morning with some clogged pores and an unwelcome visitor on your nose.
Many makeup products clog pores, make them appear larger, and give you uneven looking skin, so look at the ingredients in your makeup, just like you would for your skincare products. And wash it away each night to thoroughly protect your face and pores.
Use Sunscreen Every Day
Before applying moisturizer, don't forget to put on sunscreen to protect yourself from those rays. Excessive sunlight will also dry out the skin, which can enlarge normal-sized pores and make large pores appear even bigger.
Since it dries out the skin, sunlight increases the likelihood of early onset wrinkles. Dry skin also tends to create an overproduction of sebum to compensate for its lack of moisture. Excessive sebum production will inevitably lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and other dermal eruptions.
Give Retinol a Try
Products that contain retinol can help unclog pores. Retinol tightens the skin and helps to make it brighter. It also helps the dermal tissue replenish collagen and promotes the turnover of cells—which brings fresh new skin to the surface during exfoliation.
Retinol is highly effective and a very powerful ingredient, so don’t overuse it. Applying too much retinol, or using it too often, will dry out the skin. It can also increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight, which means you really won’t want to forget that sunscreen before going outside.
- Large pores are common for a lot of people, and they are not necessarily a sign of unhealthy skin.
- By taking precautions, like using sunscreen before going out or washing away makeup before going to bed, you can stay a step ahead of dryness that can make pores appear larger than they are.
- Employing a regular skincare routine that involves cleansing, pore strips, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing can keep your pores healthy and free of clogs (which means free from blackheads and blemishes too).