When you look in the mirror, do you feel that your skin would look more attractive if you could shrink those large pores? There’s actually a lot you can do to make pores less noticeable. Much of this, you can do on your own.
Here’s what dermatologists recommend.
Use only non-comedogenic skin care products and makeup
The word “non-comedogenic” means the product won’t clog your pores. When pores clog, they expand, which can make your pores look more noticeable.
To avoid clogged pores, look for one of the following terms on everything you apply to your face:
- Oil free
- Won’t clog pores
If you don’t see one of these terms, don’t use the product.
Cleanse your face twice a day
Clogged pores or an oily complexion can make pores look larger. Cleansing twice daily can unclog pores, prevent clogged pores, and reduce oiliness. When cleansing your face, you’ll want to:
- Use warm water. Hot water can irritate your skin, causing pores to look larger.
- Gently wash your face. Scrubbing can irritate your skin, causing inflammation. When skin is inflamed, pores tend to be more noticeable.
- Find a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser. Again, you want to do everything you can to stop irritating your skin and stop clogging your pores.
If you have oily skin, mild acne, or your skin appears less firm than it once was, pores can look larger. Using a skin care product with retinol or retinyl palmitate may help. For best results, apply the product before going to bed.
Some people find that this type of skin care product irritates their skin. You can prevent this by washing your face and then waiting 30 minutes to apply the product.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you shouldn’t use a product containing retinol or retinyl palmitate.
Acne clogs your pores, which can make your pores more noticeable.
Using a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. Studies show salicylic acid can unclog pores. Some cleansers containing salicylic acid are gentle enough to use every day.
If the salicylic acid dries or irritates your skin, try alternating cleansers. Use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser when you wake up and the salicylic acid cleanser before bed.
Many people who have acne need more than salicylic acne to control their acne. You’ll find more information about how to treat acne at:
Protect your face with sunscreen every day
The more sun damaged your skin, the less firmness it has. When skin starts to lose its firmness, pores look more noticeable.
Applying a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher helps prevent sun-damaged skin. To protect your skin, apply sunscreen every day — even when it’s raining or cold outside. Every time the sun’s rays hit our skin, they can damage our skin. This damage builds up over time.
Exfoliating may make pores less noticeable. To get the results you want, you need to exfoliate safely to avoid damaging your skin. You can find out how to do this by watching:
If exfoliating your skin makes you uncomfortable or you aren’t sure this is right for you, a board-certified dermatologist can help. By seeing a dermatologist, you can find out whether exfoliating may help make your pores less noticeable. A dermatologist may also be able to exfoliate your skin during an office visit.
Be gentle with your skin
Scrubbing your face won’t make it any cleaner, but scrubbing can irritate your skin, which can make your pores look larger.
Picking at, squeezing, or digging into your pores can also irritate your skin, making pores look more noticeable.
For these reasons, you want to be very gentle with your skin. Never scrub, rub, pick at, or squeeze the skin on your face.
Treat sagging skin
As we age, our skin loses its firmness and starts to sag. Pores look larger when skin sags.
A board-certified dermatologist can examine your skin and tell you what can tighten your skin. Many procedures can be done in a dermatologist’s office and require no downtime. You can find out about the many options for giving your skin a lift at:
Kunin A. “Enlarged pores and blackheads.” In: The DERMAdoctor skinstruction manual. Simon & Schuster. United States of America, 2005:105-10.
Leffell DJ. Total skin: The definitive guide to whole skin care for life. Hyperion, United States of America, 2000:40,61-2.
Tanaka Y. “Long-term nasal and peri-oral tightening by a single factional noninuslated microneedle radiofrequency treatment.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(2):45-51.