Pores. We all have them, and yet some people out there look like their skin is as smooth as glass, while the rest of us have pores that are large and in charge. But what exactly are pores? What causes large pores? And, how do you minimize their appearance? Well, put on your learning caps, because we’re here to teach you all about how to minimize appearance of pores
What are pores?
Pores are openings in your skin that allow sweat and oil to leave the lower layers of your skin and get to the surface; both of which are absolutely necessary functions for healthy skin. But, while pores are necessary, large pores can often lead to an uneven looking complexion.
What causes large pores? Why are my pores so big?
There are many factors that determine pore size, and unfortunately you can’t permanently change the size of your pores. The most common causes of large pores are:
- Genetics - This is the big one. If you have family members with large pores, chances are you will also have large pores.
- Age - As skin ages, it gets less tight making pores appear larger.
- Skin type - If you have oily skin, it means your skin produces an excess of sebum which can cause larger pores.
- Sun exposure - Sun exposure can damage your skin making it less firm. Protecting your skin from the sun will help keep it firm and make your pores appear smaller.
- Clogged pores - When makeup, dirt, and other gunk gets trapped in your pores, it can stretch them and make them look larger.
How to Minimize the Appearance of Pores
While you can’t actually change the size of your pores, there are things you can do to reduce appearance of pore size, and it really comes down to committing to a skin care routine. We’ve broken down the best skin care routine steps and products for how to shrink the appearance of pores naturally.
Making sure your skin is clean of excess dirt and oil is the first thing you should do to help minimize the look of pores. Most people should be washing their face twice a day in the morning and at night, but if you have dry skin, you can maybe get away with only washing your face at night. It’s especially important to cleanse at night and remove the dirt, makeup, and potential pollutants that your skin was exposed to throughout the day.
Bonus tip: Soak a washcloth in warm water and lay it on your face for 30 seconds to a minute before cleansing. This will help loosen your pores and allow your cleanser to be more effective. Then rinse off your cleanser with cool water to tighten them again.
Best Cleansers for large pores: Olehenriksen Find your Balance Oil Control Cleanser which uses glycolic and lactic acids to help clear away dead skin cells. Then there’s Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel. Tea tree oil is a natural cleanser and toner, and the squalane helps keep your skin moisturized.
Exfoliator or Mask
Exfoliators can help to clear out excess dirt and oil from your pores for a deeper clean. However, over-exfoliating can irritate your skin, so it should only be done 1-3 times per week.
There are two different types of exfoliators: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators often use granules of natural ingredients like coffee, sugar, or sea salt, to cleanse your pores. Chemical exfoliators on the other hand use acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt.
Best physical exfoliant for large pores: Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Exfoliator which uses bamboo and olive as natural exfoliants.
Best chemical exfoliant for large porse: Tata Harper’s resurfacing BHA glow mask. It uses beta hydroxy acid from willow bark to help cleanse your skin.
A detox mask is another great way to give your skin an extra cleanse, and should also only be used 1-3 times a week. To keep from irritating your skin, you should alternate days you exfoliate and use a mask. Look for masks that use activated charcoal and clay.
Best mask for large pores: Fleur and Bee’s Prince Charcoal Detox Mask which combines coconut charcoal, kaolin clay, and bentonite clay to cleanse and organic reishi mushroom to reinvigorate your skin.
This step can often be overlooked because people don’t understand the purpose of a toner, but a toner can help reduce the appearance of pore size, cleanse, and hydrate skin. Use it twice a day after you cleanse, but steer clear of toners that have high concentrations of alcohol, and instead look for natural toners like tea tree oil, witch hazel, or rose water.
Best toners for large pores: Farmacy’s Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya which provides gentle exfoliation as well as toning and can be used daily, and Fleur & Bee’s Rose and Shine Rose Water toner, which only contains two ingredients: rose oil and water.
One way to make your pores seem smaller is to use products that plump your skin and even your skin tone. That’s where a good serum comes in. The best serum ingredients to rejuvenate, hydrate, and plump your skin are vitamin E, Vitamin C, ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid.
Bonus Tip: A serum can be used twice a day, but if you decide to use a vitamin C serum, it’s best to not use it at the same time as a retinol. Use the vitamin C serum in the morning and the retinol at night.
Best Serums for large pores: The Inkey List’s Niacinamide Oil Control Serum. The mixture of Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid will help balance your natural oils. Another option is Youth to the People’s Superfood Firm and Brighten Vitamin C Serum which combines vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to help plump and brighten your complexion.
People can mistakenly think that if you have large pores or oily skin you don’t need to moisturize, but that’s not true. Moisturizing after you cleanse helps put moisture back into your skin and balance your skin’s natural oils. Not moisturizing could lead to excess oil, which is the opposite of what you want.
You do want to steer clear of heavy creams and certain oils, like coconut oil. Coconut oil has some amazing skin benefits, but it’s also considered comedogenic and is likely to clog your pores if you have large pores and/or oily skin. Instead look for non-comedogenic moisturizers like glycerin, sunflower oil, and rosehip oil.
Best face creams for large pores: Fleur & Bee’s Crème de la Cream Face Cream contains glycerin, sunflower oil, and aloe It’s water-based, lightweight, and won’t leave your face feeling greasy. Youth to the People’s Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid is another light moisturizer filled with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid.
We also recommend using a separate eye cream to moisturize your eye area. However, large pores around your eyes really aren’t an issue, so look for an eye cream to address other issues like dark circles, puffiness, or fine lines.
A retinol serum or cream can be a wonder product. It helps to cleanse pores and minimize the look of common signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. But, a retinol can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so it’s best to use it at night (and not at the same time as a vitamin C serum. If you use both, use the vitamin C serum in the morning and the retinol at night).
Best Retinols for large pores: Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream is gentle and can help improve your skin’s texture. There’s also BeautyBio’s The Nightly Retinol + Peptide Anti-Aging Serum that helps to plump and cleanse your skin.
The final step in your am routine should be to apply sunscreen. You should wear sunscreen every single day, even if it’s cold or cloudy. The sun can damage your skin and weaken its elasticity leading to larger looking pores. Look for mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as opposed to other chemical ingredients that can seep into your skin and damage it.
Best sunscreen for large pores: Bare Republic’s Mineral SPF 30 Face Sunscreen gel-lotion because it’s cruelty-free and reef safe.
Other Tips for How to Make Appearance of Pores Smaller
- Don’t touch your face - Touching your face transfers bacteria from your hands to your face. You should also avoid picking at clogged pores and acne. This can make those problems worse, and lead to scarring.
- Avoid heavy foundation - A heavy foundation can sink into your pores and clog them. Opt for lighter powder foundations or tinted moisturizers. Also be sure to wash off your makeup every night.
- Talk to your dermatologist - Your dermatologist can prescribe medications or perform treatments that you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re not satisfied with your regular routine, you can always consult with them about your concerns.
- Stop stressing over it - Pore size is not something you can actually change, so do what you can to minimize the look of them, and then embrace your face!
Frequently Asked Questions About Pores
How can I unclog pores on my nose?
Cleansing twice a day and using an exfoliator 1-3 times a week should do the trick. You may be tempted to use a pore strip on your nose, but they can actually irritate your skin causing more harm than good. To get the most out of your cleanser and exfoliator, wet a washcloth with warm and hold it on your nose and face for 30 seconds to a minute before cleansing. This will help to loosen your pores allowing for a deeper cleanse. Then rinse your products off with cool water to help tighten them back up.
Why did my pores get bigger all of a sudden?
They probably didn’t. Pore size is genetic and can’t be changed. However, there are things that can make your pores appear larger like sun exposure, clogged pores, age, or heavy makeup. Be sure to cleanse your face twice a day and use sunscreen to help your pores look smaller.
What do large pores mean?
Large pore size doesn’t mean anything other than you have large pores. The size of your pores is determined by your genes. To reduce the appearance of pore size, be sure to follow a daily skincare routine that at minimum includes washing your face, moisturizing, and using sunscreen.
Are large pores bad?
Not at all! Pores are an essential part of your skin’s natural function. The biggest factor in determining your pore size is genetics. You can’t actually change the size of your pores, but you can make them appear smaller by washing your face everyday, moisturizing, and using sunscreen.
Do pores get bigger as you get older?
Technically, no. Your pore size doesn’t change, but as you age, your skin loses firmness, which can cause your pores to look larger.
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