Large pores are a major cause of skincare stress. They’re obvious and can be hard to cover up since they affect the texture of skin. While large pores are often thought of as a teen or twenty-something issue, they can actually be a sneaky sign of skin aging, too.
The bad news is can't nothing can change the number of pores we have or their genetic size. But never fear, there’s good news too! You can keep your pores clear of anything that might make them look larger. And we’re here to show you how. We're going into everything you need to know about how to get rid of large pores ahead.
Pores are the small openings in your skin that release oils and sweat. Inside these openings are tiny hair follicles containing sebaceous glands. The oil from these glands travels through the pore and up the follicle to keep your skin hydrated.
You have pores all over your body, except for your palms and the bottom of your feet. Your pores help your skin to function and affect its overall health and appearance.
Pores can become packed and dilated with sebum, makeup, dirt, and other debris. People with oily skin are more susceptible to clogged pores. The accumulation of material in a pore can ultimately cause it to stretch, making it appear larger than its natural size.
Additionally, UV damage and the natural aging process can play a major role in how big or small your pores look. Both cause collagen to break down and the skin’s elastin decreases. Firm skin supports the pores, tightening them. This makes them appear smaller. So when your skin loses its plumpness, pores appear larger.
You’re most likely to notice large pores concentrated in the T-zone. That’s because this area tends to have more of those pesky sebaceous glands. This increases the likelihood that your pores will become clogged and look stretched out. So you’re most likely to see large pores on your nose and forehead, and possibly cheeks and chin depending on your skin type.
Contrary to popular belief, clogged pores have nothing to do with hygiene; some people are just more likely to get them. Your pores can become clogged with excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. This leads to comedones. An open comedone is a blackhead and a closed one is a whitehead. Comedones are a type of non-inflammatory acne.
A blackhead is hardened oil within the pore that has oxidized on the surface. Blackheads are pores with trapped keratin debris from the turnover of cells. Keratin debris combines with oil to block the skin. The keratin, when exposed to air at the top of the pore, turns brown when exposed to air. This is called oxidation and leads to the black look. (We’ve previously written about how to get rid of blackheads).
A whitehead is almost the same as a blackhead. The difference is that whiteheads are covered by a thin layer of skin. This is what makes them appear white.
Technically, you can't close large pores. And even if you could, you wouldn’t want to. Your pores play an essential role in the health of your skin. They’re necessary for keeping skin supple and moisturized. Without your pores, your skin would appear dry and dull.
Additionally, oils wouldn't be able to escape, leading to more pimples or breakouts. So no, you can’t actually get rid of your pores. But you can keep them clear of anything that might make them look larger.
You can’t actually shrink your pores. But you can minimize their appearance. The following skincare tips will help you get rid of large pores.
Oil-based skincare products may not be suitable for people with oily skin and large pores. The excess oil that collects on the skin can make pores appear larger.
Because of this, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using oil-free productsto minimize the size of your pores. Every skin type is different though, but being aware of what is in your skincare can help you troubleshoot what helps and what doesn't.
Washing your face is basic skincare. And washing in the AM and PM helps to keep your pores squeaky clean and free of clogs. It also helps to reduce oiliness.
Be sure to use cool to lukewarm water when you wash. Water that’s too hot can irritate your skin causing your pores to look larger. And so can harsh cleansers so be sure to use a non-comedogenic foaming cleanser.
Sleeping in your makeup can cause your pores to become blocked with makeup, oil, and bacteria. Even on your most exhausted nights, don’t forget to take your makeup off before you go to sleep. At the very least, swipe micellar water and a cotton ball across your face before bed.
Skin acids are the holy grail of ingredients when it comes to cleaning out your pores. And we’ve already discussed how this, in turn, keeps them from stretching. For more on how to exfoliate and make pores less noticeable, see our previous post Exfoliation and Your Skin Type: How Much is Too Much?
Acne clogs your pores, making them look larger. Treat breakouts with salicylic acid to unclog those dirt and grime filled pores. Salicylic acid chemically exfoliates the skin, dissolving dry, flaky skin and dead cells. But it can be irritating, so incorporate it slowly. Use a mild cleanser when you wake up and the salicylic acid cleanser before bed.
Clay absorbs oil. So adding a weekly clay face mask to your skincare routine will deep clean those pores and keep them oil-free. The clay will suck all the debris out of your pores, preventing them from becoming enlarged. This will make them less visible.
Place a warm washcloth on your face for five minutes before applying your mask. Indulging in a professional facial every few months can also help to deep clean debris from your pores.
Oily skin, acne, and sagging skin can all make your pores look larger. Using a retinol cream or serum skincare product can tackle all three of these issues. Retinol is a form of vitamin A that promotes collagen production and lots of other healthy functions in different layers of the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation. It also helps skin cells turnover more normally, which prevents future acne breakouts. Some people find that retinol irritates their skin. You can prevent this by waiting 30 minutes after washing before applying your retinol product.
Moisturizing is an essential step in any skincare routine. And it diminishes the look of pores. Dry skin produces excess oil in an attempt to alleviate dryness. This can result in clogged pores instead. Use a non comedogenic moisturizer, and be sure to apply sunscreen as well. This brings us to our next tip...
Every time the sun’s UV rays hit your skin, they can cause damage to it. This damage builds up over time. The more sun damage your skin has, the less firm it is. When skin loses its firmness, pores lose their shape and look larger.
Sunscreen helps prevent sun damage and reduces the risk of skin cancer. To protect your complexion and keep pore in check, apply sunscreen every single day. Other tips to keep your skin protected from the sun’s damaging rays include wearing a wide-brimmed hat and staying in the shade when the sun is strongest.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent large pores is to avoid touching your face. Picking at blemishes can aggravate your skin and push debris deeper into your pores. Trying to pop your own pimples leads to further irritation and can cause scarring. Even clean hands can aggravate flare-ups. Keeping your hands off is the best way to make sure your blemishes heal faster and don't leave a mark afterward.
Microneedling is a professional treatment to help get rid of large pores Microneedling works by delivering micro-injuries into the skin. This triggers a controlled, healing process. The result is an amped up collagen production. The increased levels of collagen and elastin thicken the skin, and pores appear smaller. Microneedling should only be done by a qualified skincare specialist or dermatologist.
Large pores are a common skincare woe and cause of stress. They’re obvious and can be hard to cover up. And while they're completely a cosmetic problem, large pores are still annoying.
You can't change the number of pores you have or their natural size. But you can keep your pores clear of anything that might make them look larger. Keep your pores clean and unclogged with the right skincare products and tips. Your smooth complexion will thank you!