If you’ve ever found yourself peering nervously into a magnifier mirror, wondering how to shrink your pores, you’re not alone. It seems we’ve all had an obsession with our skin texture at some point, attempting to exfoliate large pores into extinction or smooth them into submission with endless layers of primer.
When it comes to getting rid of pores, the reality is that you can’t. As Dr. Dennis Gross explains, they’re on your face for a good reason. “Pores are tiny hair follicles which contain an oil-secreting sebaceous gland. You have them all over your body, with the exception of your palms and bottom of your feet. The purpose of a pore is to allow the oil generated by the sebaceous glands to travel up the hair follicle and reach the surface of the skin, lubricating it. This natural oil is called sebum and keeps the skin moisturised and healthy.”
While it’s true that some days your pores may appear larger than others, the idea that you can ‘open’ and ‘close’ them is false. “Your pores have no muscles attached to them, so they are unable to move or shift shape” confirms Andrea Pfeffer, founder of facial clinic Pfeffer Sal. “However, their appearance and size is affected by many factors including skin condition, genetics and lifestyle. Pores can appear to grow in size as we age, due to depletion of collagen and elastin in the skin making it a little less tight.”
So while you can’t change the natural size of your pores, you can do a lot to prevent them from enlarging further. Scroll down to discover how to really minimise pores – no miracles required…
Consider your cleanser
Cleansing thoroughly is an essential first step in keeping pores at their natural size. Make-up, daily grime and city pollution all sit on the skin throughout the day, and need to be completely swept away to prevent pores becoming clogged and therefore enlarged. A double cleanse is your secret weapon here: first, melt make-up with an oil or balm, then try a gel to really get rid of the grime.
Refine with a peel
According to Dr. Gross, chemical exfoliation is a great way to keep pores clean and clear. “Incorporating a daily exfoliator can work wonders. It speeds cellular turnover and reduces blockage to prevent congested pores, which look bigger.”
A pre-soaked pad containing an alpha hydroxy acid is your best option for a quick, easy exfoliation, while seasoned acid users should try Dr. Gross’s new Resurfacing Liquid Peel – it’s as close to an in-salon treatment you’ll get without leaving your bathroom.
Use a retinol
According to Pfeffer, retinol can also be a useful ally with it comes to shrinking pores – but warns against using it too heavily. “Retinol helps to minimise oil production and congestion build up in the pores that can potentially be a reason for enlargement. However, as with most active ingredients, too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect. We recommend three months on, two months off and not to use retinol for more than 18 months non-stop for optimum results and skin safety.”
If you’re considering professional treatment to help refine enlarged pores, a course of microneedling could be the answer.
“Needling can be a fantastic treatment to minimise the appearance of pore size” suggests Pfeffer. “It works by delivering micro-injuries into the skin, triggering a controlled, precise healing process. This results in accelerated, more structured collagen production. The increased levels of collagen and elastin thicken the skin, so our pores appear smaller.”
However, this is a treatment best left to the experts, warns Pfeffer. “It needs to be done by an experienced, qualified therapist in a sterile environment. At-home derma rollers and lighter needling treatments are more focused on product penetration and will not reach deep enough into the skin to stimulate the collagen and elastin production required” she explains.
Veil with a primer
The best way to instantly veil uneven skin texture and ensure a smooth foundation for make-up is with a specially formulated primer for large pores. “Pore-minimising primers like Smashbox’s Photo Finish Minimize Pores and Benefit’s The Porefessional contain spherical silicone particles and powder pigments that fill in and blur the appearance of pores before you apply makeup on top” explains make-up artist Hannah Martin. “Both of these are oil free and non comedogenic.”
Finally, pairing a pore-minimising primer with the right foundation is the key to a smooth make-up finish. “Avoid anything with too much oil or moisture on the areas you may be concerned about, as this will undo the good work of your primer” advises Martin. “By all means wear a dewy-finish foundation where you want a glow, but stick to long wearing, oil-free formulas in the areas you want to conceal open pores.”
And your secret weapon for on-the-go touch-ups? Turns out, sometimes the simplest products are the most effective. “Throughout the day, use blotting papers to absorb any excess oil on the skin before make-up touch ups” says Martin. “This will help minimise the appearance of pores and reduce the risk of them becoming clogged.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK