Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s one of the things people notice when they first look at you. And even though your pores are barely visible to the naked eye, sometimes you can’t help but think that people are staring at them instead.
But, with the proper care and arsenal of products, you can shrink your pores so that no one else can see them but you. Keep reading for seven tips on how to minimize the appearance of pores.
What Determines the Size of Your Pores?
First, a quick anatomy lesson:
A pore is actually part of a hair follicle; it provides an opening for each strand of hair to grow outwards. Inside every pore is a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum to lubricate the hair and the skin around it.
Sebum moisturizes your skin and helps prevent it from drying out, but it often gets a bad reputation because it also causes clogged pores and acne. When sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt build up in the pore, it expands, creating the problem we are all too familiar with.
The condition of your skin plays a huge role in your pore size too. Damage from UV rays and the aging process affects the collagen present in your skin. Without enough collagen to keep your skin plump and tight, the walls of your pores grow weaker and your pores look bigger. Similarly, popping or picking at a pimple can permanently damage the pore as well.
Ultimately, the size of your pores is determined by your genetics; clogged pores and skin damage only makes them look bigger than they are. However, regular and consistent care of your skin will help to minimize them.
7 Ways to Minimize the Appearance of Pores
1. Pick the right products for your skin.
This lays the foundation for optimal skin health. If you have oily skin, for example, avoid heavy or greasy skincare products with oil high on their ingredient list. People with dry skin, on the other hand, should stay away from products that will dry their skin out even more. Overly dry skin will produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture, leading to even more clogged pores.
If you’re unsure of how your skin will react to a new product, test it out in your skincare routine for two to four weeks. This is usually enough time for your product to make an impact on your skin’s overall health. If you see an improvement at the end of the testing period, you’ll know it works for you.
However, make sure you’re not testing two or three products out at one time. If you get a bad reaction, you won’t know which product caused it.
2. Wash your face twice a day with gentle cleansers.
Cleansing your face in the morning and at night prevents oil and other gunk from building up in your pores. For best results, use the double cleansing method.
First, you’ll want to massage an oil-based cleaner into your face for a few minutes. Oil is the most effective way to break down the oil in your pores, and it’s great for removing makeup, sunscreen, and skincare products too.
Follow up with a gentle (read: no acids) cleanser and warm water to remove the oil cleanser. During this step, ideally you want to wash your face for about 60 seconds so you can reach every nook and cranny. This also allows your skin to reap the full benefits of the ingredients in your cleanser.
3. Use chemical exfoliants a few times a week.
Exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs work to clear out everything that gets stuck in your pores, which stops them from stretching out.
Salicylic acid is ideal if you want to shrink your pores because it gets deeper into pores and gets rid of the bacteria and sebum within. But if your skin’s on the dry or sensitive side, choose an AHA like glycolic or lactic acid instead. In addition to sweeping away dead skin cells, it also helps smooth out the surface of your skin.
4. Incorporate a product with niacinamide into your routine.
Like salicylic acid, niacinamide works to reduce skin redness and inflammation. However, while salicylic acid clears out the sebum in the pore, niacinamide reduces the overall amount of sebum produced. Not only does it shrink the look of your pores, this useful ingredient helps smooth out your skin too.
Combining these two ingredients can be very effective in minimizing the appearance of pores and improving the overall look of your skin.
5. Top it off with sunscreen.
UV rays can do a lot of damage to your skin, leaving it loose and stretchy. In fact, sun damage accounts for 80-90% of the aging effects on your face. A good sunscreen with at least SPF 30 will help counteract this.
Make sure to apply it at least ten minutes before leaving the house to allow the sunscreen to adequately protect your skin. If you’ll be in the sun for an extended amount of time, re-applying every two hours will ensure your skin’s protected throughout the day.
Acids will leave your skin particularly vulnerable to sun damage, so this is a step you won’t want to miss. However, the ingredients in sunscreen make it a bit hard to remove, so use your oil-based cleanser to make sure you get rid of all of it. Many sunscreen formulations can also clog pores, and you don’t want your sunscreen to sabotage your skincare routine’s work.
6. Keep your hands away from your face.
Ah yes, the age-old saying. Your hands carry millions of bacteria, and you don’t want that on your face. Avoid touching your face when possible, and when you wash your face and apply your skincare products, make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap first.
On that note, anything that touches your face should be washed regularly as well. This means pillowcases, your makeup brushes, and even your phone. These are all sneaky places that harbor bacteria and dirt. Making an effort to keep these clean will help in your crusade against clogged pores and breakouts.
7. Visit a pro.
Dermatologists and estheticians offer a wide range of services that help reduce the size of your pores as well. Facials, chemical peels, microneedling, and laser treatments are all effective ways to shrink your pores, and these procedures reveal results much faster than your skincare routine might.
These treatments are great if you have some additional cash to spare. For those who are watching their finances carefully, a skin treatment service can be a great way to spoil yourself on special occasions. If this is something you’re interested in, talk with your dermatologist to see what treatments are right for you.
Consistency is key when it comes to minimizing the appearance of pores. There aren’t any instant fixes or magic solutions, but on the other hand, you have complete control in making sure your skin looks its best.
Consider your skincare routine your daily investment in smooth, radiant, and glowing skin. After all, who needs photo editing when you have your skincare lineup?
For skincare product recommended customized to your skin profile and needs, get in touch with one of DRMTLGY’s skincare experts!
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Volume 30, Issue 2, April 2008, pages 87-95.
British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 95, Issue 2, August 1976, pages 187-192.
Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Practice, Chapter 10, November 2013.