There are no miracle solutions to physically shrinking large pores on the face, but there are certainly lots of useful practices that will help refine your skin, as well as makeup primers that’ll make it look airbrushed. Below, we explain what the causes of large pores are, and you’ll be surprised that it’s not just about skin types. We’ll present a definitive list of habits and practices you can pick up to minimize pores on the face effectively.
In this article:
What Causes Large Pores?
There are a number of factors that lead to large pores:
Higher oil production is linked with having larger pores. In fact, examining pore size is one of the ways of determining a person’s skin type.
The reason that those with oily skin also have larger pores is that the pores are the portals through which the skin expels oil out to its surface. If you have overactive sebaceous glands that are producing more oil than necessary, then the pores will have to be larger to accommodate that extra oil.
Those with oily skin are also likelier to have their pores become clogged, which makes the pores more visible. Repeated cloggings can end up damaging the walls of the pores and stretching them out as a result.
Loss of Tone with Age
Collagen and elastin are the two proteins responsible for keeping the skin tight, firm, and supple. As we age, our skin slowly loses its ability to produce them, while external causes of aging like sun exposure and pollution only work to speed up that process.
One of the symptoms of loss of tone in the skin is that facial pores start looking larger. The skin no longer has that natural plumpness that keeps pores looking tight. This is why a protective skincare routine with sunscreen and antioxidants can help prevent pores from getting larger with age.
Repeated inflammation traumatizes the skin and can lead to permanent damage. Repeated sun exposure and skin conditions like rosacea or acne are just a few things that cause the skin to become inflamed. A skin picking and squeezing habit is another great way to traumatize the skin and damage the pores.
A one-off breakout or sunburn isn’t likely to cause the kind of damage that makes the pores appear larger, but cumulative damage from years of breaking out, squeezing or staying out in the sun for too long will certainly take their toll. By avoiding inflammation triggers and by letting your skin heal as quickly as possible with the help of soothing anti-inflammatory products, you can prevent long-term damage to your skin.
Pores will appear momentarily larger when the skin is dehydrated. Lack of water in the epidermis sort of causes the skin to deflate and lose a bit of plumpness. As a result, the skin looks a little saggy and dulls, while the pores themselves will appear a little larger since there will be no moisture working from below to make the skin appear taut. Thankfully, this can be easily remedied by the use of a good moisturizer rich in humectants.
How to Shrink Large Pores
By using the right products and treating your skin with kindness you can shrink your pores. These are the best practices for keeping your pores looking good!
Get a Good Pore Minimizer
From priming makeup products to resurfacing skincare, there are so many types of pore minimizers that work really effectively both on the short and long term. They will not miraculously close the enlarged pores but will help you get smooth and even skin over time. Check out our article on the best pore minimizers to find your ideal pick!
Wash with Cool Water
Sorry, but you’ll have to give up on that hot water. Hot water has a very damaging effect on the skin. It strips the skin of moisture while dilating the pores.
The occasional hot bath is not the end of the world, but on a regular basis it can absolutely damage your skin, cause inflammation can lead to pores looking larger.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser (bonus points for oil cleansers) and cool water every night to help keep the pores clear from debris. Make sure all traces of cleanser are gone with the help of a clean microfiber cloth, as well.
If you have a habit of getting really close and personal with the mirror, examining your skin mercilessly and squeezing at every perceived imperfection, now’s a good time to stop. When we pick at our skin or squeeze our pores, we’re only making things worse. Repeated squeezing can actually damage the cell walls in a way that creates scar tissue and stretches out the pores.
Our skin is happiest and healthiest when its pH stays firmly below 5.5, which is why I always harp on using low-pH cleansers. If the pH of your skin is consistently higher, the skin looks dull and easily inflamed, which leads to pores looking larger. Acidity is also useful for ensuring the skin looks healthy, and it also keeps bacteria away and prevents pore-damaging inflammation.
Depending on your level of tolerance, you will want to exfoliate your skin anywhere from once a day to once a week. If your skin is very hearty, a daily chemical exfoliant with a low percentage of acid will help keep your pores clean. If it is more sensitive, you can use a chemical exfoliant just a few times a week.
If you prefer physical scrubs, either as your only exfoliant or to speed up the effects of a chemical exfoliant, you can use them once or twice a week, after cleansing and before the rest of your pore shrinking routine.
As with chemical exfoliants, strong retinoids and other skin-renewing products can be used every day by some or just once or twice a week by others. It’ll depend on the type of ingredient you choose and how strong it is.
If you opt for retinol, adapalene, or tretinoin as your strong pore minimizer, keep in mind that it doesn’t always play nicely with chemical exfoliants. You will probably not want to use them one after the other, and instead use them on alternating nights.
Hydration is an easy way of minimizing pores that look large because of dehydration, but it can also reinforce your skin against damage and prevent irritation that can lead to enlarged pores down the line. It’s also an important part of any skincare routine, in general.
That being said, you don’t have to use a moisturizer to moisturize your skin. You can also use hydrating serums or thin lotions to give your skin the hydration and reinforcement it needs, especially if you have oily skin. Use a moisturizing product every night at the very least, although twice a day is ideal.
Protect from the Sun
The sun is the leading cause of premature aging, and one of the symptoms of it is loss of firmness. Using a full ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen every morning will protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, to keep your skin looking firm, smooth, and youthful for years to come.
We’ve given you a list of some of the best pore minimizers on the market, so you might as well put them to good use. A pore-shrinking primer will make your troubles fade instantly, as long as you use it correctly.
You only need a pea-sized amount, and it’s best to smooth it over the skin in outward and downward motions. Start with the center of face, since that’s where the pores tend to be the largest, and then work it gently over the rest of the face. Foundation afterwards is strictly optional!
See a Dermatologist
Topical products can either help shrink pores temporarily or in a very subtle way over a long period of time. The only way to get radical results quickly is by visiting a dermatologist and opting for a more intense treatment. A dermatologist can prescribe you a stronger retinoid, or they can suggest an in-office treatment that can improve pore size.
The most effective pore minimizer treatment is laser resurfacing. This kind of treatment triggers skin renewal while also refining the texture of the skin, and if often only takes two or three treatments to see incredible improvement.
This is the best way to shrink pores that have become enlarged due to scar tissue from skin picking, but it will help smooth things out no matter the cause. It is good to go in knowing that these treatments are not cheap, and that a single session can set you back $1000 or more.
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