Are you feeling self-conscious about large pores? You’re in good company; pretty much everyone feels the same and wants to know how to reduce pore size. And it’s no wonder why – large pores can cause skin to look coarse and make prime nesting real estate for blackheads and whiteheads.
There are lots of reasons for enlarged pores. Genetics play a role, as the trait can be inherited. There is certainly nothing that can be done about this.
Other causes, though, are more within our control.
So if you’re looking for ways to make your pores smaller, follow along for simple tips that you can implement right away to begin shrinking your pores. And no, these don’t require any medications and treatments your have to get from the dermatologist or even over the counter creams from the pharmacy.
Of course, treatments for large pores have their place, but the truth is that small, everyday habits have a much bigger influence on your skin than one-time treatments or medications. Plus, they’re easy to work into your daily routine and hardly cost a thing.
Here’s how to reduce pore size through simple, everyday habits!
Be gentle with your pores
When your skin is causing you grief, the first instinct is to lash out at it. But it’s especially during these times when it’s important to treat your skin gently.
Sure, it’s tempting when huge, unsightly, clogged pores are stealing the spotlight to want to nuke them into oblivion, but resist the urge! The benzoyl peroxide or alcohol-based astringent you reach for will dry and irritate the skin. When irritated skin tries to get back to ‘normal’, it releases more oil (sebum) to rehydrate and nourish the skin. That, of course, is exactly what you don’t want.
Yes, astringents do remove oiliness and decrease the appearance of pores, but this effect is only temporary. In the long run the skin sees this as an emergency and goes into hyper
-drive to counteract it. The result? Even oilier skin and larger pores since oily skin and large pores go hand in hand.
So avoid using harsh acne fighting ingredients on your large pores. It’s entirely unnecessary since big pores do not have an infection and using these harsh, irritating ingredients will only disturb your skin’s delicate pH and create even worse conditions.
Clean your pores the right way
One of the best things you can do for your pores is to make sure they are clear and clean of excess oil, dead skin cells and other gunk that can clog them up and cause your pores to expand even further.
So do your part to keep your skin clean each and every day, but do it gently. This means washing your face no more than twice each day, using one of the best pore cleansers and lukewarm water, followed by a cold splash to close the pores. Pat the skin dry gently – don’t rub.
The use of harsh cleansers and hot water, or cleaning the skin several times through the day, will stimulate pores to produce more oil to replace that which is being removed from the skin. If the skin feels oily during the day, it is much better to blot it with oil blotting sheets or absorbent tissues, or splash it with cool water and blot, than to use soap.
Deep detox and exfoliate regularly
Keeping your face clean is a must…but it’s not enough, especially if you want to reduce the size of your pores. Sure, washing your face at morning and night will wipe away some excess sebum, traces of makeup and dirt and debris, but if you really want to get deep within your pores to clear out dead skin cells and trapped sebum, you’re going to need a regular regimen of deep clearing and exfoliation.
For deep clearing of your pores, the best products to look for are pore shrinking facial masks that contain Activated Charcoal, which is so absorbent, it can bind up to 800 times it weight in dirt and oil, and Clays, which are also fantastic for drawing out and soaking up whatever plagues your pores.
Using these masks just once or twice a week only takes a few minutes out of your schedule and ensures that your pores are thoroughly cleared out.
In addition to the deep detoxing face masks, exfoliation helps to clear away dead skin cells so they don’t block your pores as well as to stimulate cell turnover and reveal new skin, helping your pores look smaller and tighter in the process.
The best form of exfoliation for large pores? Vitamin A, which is probably the best known and most efficacious of vitamins when it comes to maintaining overall skin health and is especially helpful for big pores. Dermatologists prescribe it as serums and creams in the form of Retinoic Acid or Retin A. Over the counter it is available as Retinol. Vitamin A inhibits sebaceous gland activity, reducing oiliness. It also promotes cell turnover, allowing dead cells to slough off and preventing the signs of aging that can result in larger-looking pores.
Simply applying a retinol cream every night before bed is an easy way to shrink your pores while you sleep!
You already know that you should ALWAYS remove makeup before going to bed. Makeup is often several layers of product, all of which are applied on top of pore-laden skin. This ‘suffocation’ of the pores can cause them to become clogged.
Pores are the outlet for skin to ‘breathe’, exfoliate and hydrate. Clogged, enlarged pores don’t permit these functions and can lead to blackheads, pimples and increased oil production.
Gently wipe away as much makeup as possible using the oil cleansing method (make sure you use non-comedogenic oils that are good for oily skin) or makeup removing pads or cloths. Reducing the amount of product on the skin before washing will allow for gentler cleansing.
But it’s not only about making sure you remove all traces of makeup every day – it’s also about being wise about the kind of makeup you choose. Look for products that label themselves ‘non-comedogenic.’ Products with this label contain ingredients that won’t clog pores.
To minimize the look of pores, use a non-comedogenic silicone-based primer underneath your makeup. It will smooth over pores so that you appear practically “poreless.”
Get smaller pores from the inside out
Ever heard the saying that great skin starts from the inside? Not all of us are as diligent in our health regimen as we should be, of course. Too much junk food, not enough exercise, lots of stress can all contribute to increased oil production, which can result in clogged and enlarged pores. Failure to exfoliate regularly can cause dead skin cells, residue from cigarette smoke and dirt to build up in skin pores.
How can we compensate for some of these failings? Well, making sure we consume certain vitamins can help.
One of the most helpful skin-clearing, pore-tightening vitamins to include in your daily diet is Vitamin A. Foods that are rich in vitamin A include liver and cod liver oil, dairy products and egg yolks, sweet potatoes, carrots, dried apricots and cantaloupe.
Vitamins C and E are known for their ability to fight free radicals, which damage skin cells and cause signs of premature aging, which can make pores look stretched out and bigger. Vitamin C is also needed to support the healthy growth of cartilage, which keeps the walls of pores from stretching.
The best way to get these antioxidants into the diet is to consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. C and E are also available in pill form, either as components of a multivitamin or individually.
Biotin is another vitamin that’s beneficial for pores. Also known as Vitamin H or vitamin B7, this water soluble vitamin helps the production of fatty acids in the skin, which return moisture to the skin. Skin that is excessively dry encourages the production of oil, which can clog the pores, enlarging them. Some of the foods that contain good amounts of biotin include liver, egg yolks (egg whites bind to biotin and prevent absorption), romaine lettuce, swiss chard, almonds and walnuts.
Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid, is a widely popular addition to many hair and skin products. It is a substance that is found in all living cells. It works by supporting the body’s metabolism of fats. If the body doesn’t break down these fats they are deposited into the sebaceous glands. Bacteria feed off this sebum and causes blackhead and pimple formation within the pores.
Vitamin B5 is found in liver, caviar, fish, avocados, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, sunflower seeds and rice and wheat bran.
Always wear sunscreen
Think your pores are big now? Well, then you certainly don’t want them getting any bigger.
UV rays weaken collagen, allowing the walls of pores to lose elasticity. When added to the natural loss of collagen due to aging, enlarged pores can become unable to close even after being cleaned out. Additionally, by removing the layers of dead cells on the skin, skin becomes more sensitive to UV rays.
If the skin becomes damaged by sunburn, it responds by increasing sebum production to hydrate and soothe skin cells – which is exactly where we started! So make sure you wear sunscreen every single day to prevent large(r) pores.
And if you’re worried about the greasiness of sunscreen clogging your already finicky pores – we got you covered. Check out the best sunscreens for oily skin!