What Causes Large Pores? How To Shrink Their Appearance

What Causes Large Pores? How To Shrink Their Appearance

Pores get a bad rap, and we understand why. We all want the look of unsullied, airbrushed skin, and a face full of large pores can sometimes feel discouraging. Below, we’ll reveal a number of super simple ways to even out your skin’s appearance so that you can be fresh on your way to the smooth, healthy skin you crave.


Main Takeaways: The size of your pores is genetic and can’t actually be altered.

Good to Know: Keeping your skin clean and exfoliated and using plumping products like a vitamin C serum are the best ways to minimize the look of your pores.

Recommended Products: So Clean! Facial Cleanser, Rose and Shine Rose Water Toner, ‘A’ Game Retinol Serum, and Prince Charcoal Detox Mask.


Looking for a pore purifying cleanser? We've got just the thing.

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What Are Pores?

Pores are tiny crevices located all over the body and function as little vents for our skin. Glands below our skin’s surface secrete oils that travel up the pore shaft, purging them of dead cells, dirt, and other impurities. Without giving these things an exit point, our skin would be pretty gross, which is part of why pores are so important. But pores can also become clogged and stressed, causing them to appear enlarged.

Pore Size

We hate to break it to you, but you can’t actually shrink your pores. While a number of factors contribute to their perceived appearance, no product or tweak to your skincare routine can physically alter their size. This, like eye color, is largely determined by genetics. People with oily skin tend to have bigger pores because they are more frequently releasing oils from larger glands through wider pathways. Those with thicker hair also tend to have larger pores, since follicle size affects pore size. Age is another contributing factor to the size of our pores. As we get older, our skin naturally loses its firmness, causing pores to stretch, ultimately making them more noticeable. So, if those of us with larger pores are basically stuck with them, will we ever be able to grant our skin that IG filter finish we all secretly covet?

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The answer is no– and we shouldn’t want to. Overzealous beauty standards and social media may have you thinking that pores should be imperceptible to the human eye. Pores are natural, important, and beautiful in every size. But there are a number of things we can do to keep them clean and healthy, which can definitely contribute to their look and potentially minimize their appearance.

Minimizing the Look of Pores

Pore minimization is a side effect of paying proper attention to your skin. If you want a smoother complexion, focus first on taking care of your face and the rest will fall into place. Below are a number of things that can help treat your skin with the respect and love it deserves, each of them naturally resulting in the minimized appearance of your precious pores.

1. Wash Your Face Properly

Keeping pores clean inherently minimizes their appearance by ridding them of dirt, oils, and other stuff that would otherwise make them much more pronounced. Always use a cleanser that is compatible with your skin– we recommend a gentle facial cleanser like So Clean!. This vegan face wash features natural ingredients and is formulated for all skin-types.

So Clean!

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2. Exfoliate

There’s more to keeping your skin clean than just washing it regularly. Beyond just ridding it of dirt and oil, exfoliating helps slough off dead cells, which could otherwise get trapped in our pores, making them appear larger. Incorporate a gentle exfoliant into your routine 2-3 times a week for best results.

3. STOP Touching Your Face!

During the day, our hands come in contact with tons of oils, bacteria, dirt, viruses, and allergens that can clog our pores and ultimately make them appear bigger. Further, rubbing and excessively handling our skin can create microscopic tears in the tissue, stretching our pores and creating larger openings on the surface. So, when it comes to your face, keep yours hands off!

4. Mask Up

While cleansing your skin is very important to keeping pores clean, it’s not always enough. Use a clay or activated charcoal mask to effectively clear out pores. We love our Prince Charcoal detoxifying mask, which works by drawing out stubborn impurities. Incorporate it into your routine 1-3 times a week and maximize your pore-minimizing potential.

Prince Charcoal

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5. Seek Out Certain Ingredients

While no one product can permanently reduce pore size, there are some that stand out in their ability to minimize pore perceptibility. Glycolic acid and lactic acid masterfully dissolve dead cells and absorb oil, making them exceedingly effective at diminishing the appearance of our pores. Also consider the use of retinol, as it effectively increases cell turnover, purging pores and helping them appear smaller. Beginner retinol users will love ‘A’ Game, a gentle retinol serum that is supported by vegan superfoods to help smooth your skin and refine your pores.

‘A’ Game

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6. Limit Sun Exposure

Repeat fun in the sun can have inflammatory effects on our cells, which can collect around the edges of our pores, making them appear larger. Further, excessive sun exposure can damage collagen and elastin, which are effectively our skin’s structural support. Without these, pores can stretch beyond repair.

7. And Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

This is a given, even on cloudy days, as UV rays can still shine on through and wreak havoc. When applying your daily dose of SPF, consider doing so with an enriched primer. Sunscreens often gloss your skin, which can make pores seem more pronounced. Primers, however, often have a matte finish and work to smooth out the skin’s appearance.

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8. Chill Out

Yes, stress can actually make your pores look bigger. Stress hormones in the body raise levels of other hormones that stimulate oil secretions, activating the pore shaft and potentially clogging them with excessive oil production. Try to relax and find healthy ways to destress. Your skin will thank you.

9. Keep It Chill

Similar to how cold water can tighten the misshapen lid on that vintage jar, applying ice cold water to your freshly cleansed skin can help temporarily tighten pores, making them appear smaller.

Other things that can help prevent the look of large pores include using blotting paper during the day to keep oil at bay, trying pore cleansing strips,, and drinking more water. But the simple truth is that well-loved pores are minimized pores. So, take care of your skin and smoothing looking skin and minimized pores can be yours.