So, you want to get rid of acne forever, and first things being first, you're wondering how to shrink pores? First, let me begin with a gentle reminder that we all have pores, and it’s impossible to get rid of them - for a good reason.
Pores are a vital part of the ecosystem of our skin - they let our skin breathe, expel toxins from our bodies, and keep our skin watertight.
However, just because we all have pores, it doesn’t mean pores always look good on us. Or that they don't, sometimes, transform themselves into all sorts of acne. Sometimes our pores become clogged, forming whiteheads or blackheads. They become too large and visible, and we want them smaller, or less visible. And there are several ways to do this. Here are the best 14 tips on how to shrink pores.
I know, I know, we are all tempted to magnify our pores and unflattering skin features through a magnifying glass. Or endlessly zooming in our selfies. However, even the best skin looks very different, and much less attractive under great magnification.
Besides, do you notice your friends’ pores when you hang out with them? The truth is that no one actually notices your pores that much - most of the anxiety is firmly rooted inside your head. So the first step in dealing with pores is to make a mental change. Realize that the problem is a lot less scary than you have convinced yourself, loosen up and live a little. And read our next piece of advice on shrinking pores, because it shows real, physically visible results.
When in doubt, go with the professionals. In this day and age, the skin care and beauty industry are increasingly pairing up with science. Slowly but surely, this results in the invention of increasingly effective solutions for more and more skin problems out there. Not only that, but some of the best pore purifier solutions are naturally based and super safe to use too, so you can’t go wrong.
Of course, be careful and inspect the product label for any ingredients you might be allergic to. If you have any doubts, it's always better to perform a patch test and see how your skin will react to the product. If you have sensitive skin or other health concerns about using a certain skin care product, it’s always wise to consult your doctor and dermatologist.
It might seem like pretty basic advice, but that doesn’t make it any less true. When it comes to shrinking your pores, it’s important to understand what makes them larger. It’s all the lingering skin oil, dead skin cells, dirt, random dust particles and just… strange gunk that keeps getting stuck to our faces. So besides giving your face the normal wash or two, you can get a bit creative with your skin care routines if you’re serious about shrinking your pores.
Since our pores shrink when it’s cold, but open when it’s hot, doctors recommend using warm water while washing your face. It will open the pores, making it easier for all the dirt to fall off of them. Other methods include letting your face steam for a while over a pot of hot water, or applying a warm cloth, soaked with water, over your face. Ideally, doctors recommend cleaning your face twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed (you really shouldn’t skip the latter one).
There is an unspoken rule for keeping your skin healthy, your face clean, and acne at bay: stop touching your face. Unless you’re performing a skincare routine, or your hands are freshly washed with soap, you should refrain from touching your face. Doing so brings more dirt and bacteria to your face, making your pores clogged, larger, and transforming into closed comedones. This, in turn, may make them inflamed and infected, resulting in blackheads or whiteheads. All that doesn’t just make your pores more noticeable, but can trigger a full-blown acne inflammation. So, if you want to shrink your pores - or prevent making them larger - keep your hands away from your face.
Keeping your skin smooth and shrinking your pores depends on implementing a well-rounded skincare routine. One of the most important ingredients in that is doing a weekly scrub treatment or exfoliating your skin. You can either choose to exfoliate using a professional skin care product or facial cleanser, or, you can experiment with one of the many natural scrubs you can make at home. That being said, it’s best to use a gentle exfoliator and avoid over-exfoliating your skin. You don’t want to irritate your skin and make your pores inflamed and more prominent.
While it may not seem intuitive, the Sun can cause a number of chain reactions that may make your pores become larger. Namely, the harmful UVA and UVB rays combined with the dirt and air pollution can add a large number of free radicals on your skin. These free radicals damage our body and its cells, and affect our skin by breaking down elastin and collagen molecules. That, in turn, ruins the skin’s ability to keep itself tight, aging it prematurely and making our pores look larger. Therefore, if you want to keep your skin looking young and your pores shrunk, always go with a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF value.
But wait, there are more solutions for making your skin pores tight and almost invisible. Chemical peeling, while a general skin care treatment used for a variety of reasons, can also help shrink your pores over time. By removing the surface layers of the skin and cleaning up the dead skin cells, chemical peeling helps the skin regenerate itself, which also affects the pores. The freshly-cleaned pores, and those that would become rejuvenated by the chemical peel will not be clogged, and therefore, will appear tighter. Remember, the less dirt on your face, which includes natural dead skin cells as well, the smaller your pores.
Once a well-kept secret of dermatologists, today retinol (or Retin A) and retinoid products are widely available for everyone to use. You can get retinoid creams over the counter, and even retinol based prescribed medications (such as Accutane and Roaccutane) that are typically used for treating severe acne. While the latter might not apply to you, retinol creams are very effective in smoothing your skin and normalizing its regulatory processes. By speeding up the rejuvenation processes of the skin, retinol boosts the turnover of skin cells, in turn making your pores clean. Medicine classifies retinol as comedolytic - meaning it prevents the clogging of pores. Which is exactly what you need if you want to shrink your pores and keep your skin clean, right?
Clay masks are one of your secret weapons when it comes to cleaning up your pores, and in turn, shrinking them. From ready-made, professional clay masks that you can buy over-the-counter, to dozens of other types of masks you can make on your own at home, such as egg masks, oatmeal masks, papaya masks and more, the choice is nearly endless. Whichever option you choose the results will be nearly the same - these masks will suck out all the excess sebum (skin oil) and dirt from your skin, thereby shrinking your pores. Neglecting your pores by not using skin care masks and clay masks can lead to massive clogging of your pores, which can make them up to five times larger. So, if you want to shrink your pores, don’t skip over the occasional clay mask. It will do you good.
But while there are hundreds of home remedies making good use of natural ingredients, science offers some very powerful solutions too. One of the best, and most widely used ingredients in skin care and acne prevention treatments is glycolic acid. But why is glycolic acid so good, especially when it comes to shrinking pores?
Well, this amazing acid has a powerful 2-in-1 effect - it simultaneously absorbs the excess skin oil and dissolves all the dead skin cells. And while you can’t really make glycolic acid in the comfort of your home (unless you’re some Breaking Bad type of character), you can easily find dozens of products that contain it over-the-counter. If that, by any chance of bad luck, isn’t available to you, then a good replacement is lactic acid. It’s a bit weaker than glycolic acid, but it can shrink your pores just the same.
One should be very careful and wise when it comes to purchasing skin care and other beauty products. There is something for everyone out there, but not every cream is suitable for every skin type. It also depends heavily on the problem that you’re wanting to treat - and when it comes to shrinking your skin pores, oil-based creams can make matters worse. Why, you might ask?
Well, it’s logical - your skin already produces oil that clogs your pores. Adding even more oil, from oil-based creams or natural oils regardless (such as olive oil, coconut oil and so on) will only clog your pores further and make them larger. In a word, you need to be careful, because certain oils and some oil-based creams are comedogenic. So, if you want to shrink your pores, you should avoid oil-based skin care products and go for water-based products. Additionally, you can try an oil-free natural remedy as well.
Talk about counterintuitive, huh? While oil-based creams and natural oils may moisturize your skin and make it softer, they will also contribute to clogging your pores. However, cleansers that employ oils achieve the opposite effect - they unclog pores. Confused? Can’t blame you.
Here’s the thing. The natural skin oil, called sebum, that our bodies produce from within our pores, is… Well, oily. And what doesn’t mix with oil? Water. What dissolves oil though? Other oils. And that’s exactly how oil-based cleansers work. However, the product you choose and its composition will depend on your skin type. People with dry skin will have their pores best served by balm-like cleansers that also moisturize your skin. On the other hand, people with oily skin or combination skin type will see different results from those same cleansers. As always, if you’re not sure how your skin will react, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor or dermatologist.
Finally, there is one super common phenomenon that may complicate your skin health, and contribute to clogging your pores. Makeup. Or to be more precise, some makeup ingredients can irritate your skin and clog your pores. For example the foundation that you’re using, because it’s exactly the foundation that comes into direct contact with your skin. And while not every kind of foundation or makeup will clog your pores, some of them are almost guaranteed they will. If you want to shrink your pores and prevent them from becoming unusually large, you should avoid makeup products containing the following emulsifiers: cetyl acetate, myristyl myristate, lauric acid, isopropyl linoleate, and lanolin.
Not only that but a heavy foundation, rich in emulsifiers, is also one of the usual suspects when it comes to makeup causing acne. But besides the dangers of acne, makeup isn’t very good at covering large pores either. More often than not, makeup just makes large, clogged pores just more prominent.
While the latest fashion trends are merciless in their use of shimmering, shiny, metallic types of makeup, they don’t look as good on everyone. Women with small, or tight pores, will generally get away with it, but they too suffer the optical effects of shiny makeup. I’m sure you’ve noticed it yourself by now too. A huge, impressive image of a perfect model, metallic lipstick and glittery eyelashes. But beneath the shiny makeup on the cheeks, and sometimes the eyelids, the forehead, and the nose, hundreds of tiny spots that break through and make themselves visible.
It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just how the physics of light works - it gets bounced off by the smooth skin, but the pores absorb the light, however small. The reflective nature of the makeup makes this effect more prominent, making a person’s pores clearly visible, even though they wouldn’t be without it. If you are worried about the prominence of your pores but you still need to wear makeup, your best option is to go with matte ones. Matte makeup products lack the reflective nature of the shiny variants, making your pores less visible.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.