Large pores can draw unfortunate attention to an otherwise flawless face. Even men and women with clear, unblemished skin can be heard lamenting pore size—particular on the nose, chin, and forehead. Although the cause of large pores varies from simple genetics to the presence of blackheads and other infections, they can affect anyone. Fortunately, not deaf to the cries of countless people, the beauty industry has quite a few pore-reducing options, the best of which are outlined in greater detail below. Pores, consider yourselves shrunk.
First Up: What Causes Enlarged Pores?
Enlarged pores have many potential culprits. The first, genetics, is influenced entirely by the size of your parents’ pores (and theirs) and, although they can be altered, the alteration is typically minimal.
Aside from genetics, however, the most common culprit of enlarged pores is the presence of excess sebum and dirt (which, in many cases, morphs into a blackhead). This causes enlarged, “black” spots usually found on the nose, chin, and parts of the forehead, drawing attention to the size and cleanliness of pores.
Large pores can also be brought on by wear and tear to the skin. Sun damage, picking at skin, and other harmful practices can result in enlarging, and are often difficult to reverse. In this arena, prevention is pivotal.
Pore Minimizing: Cleansing
First up in minimization: cleansing. One of the simplest ways to reduce their appearance is to keep skin clean and clear of blackheads and other infections. The best way to do this is to wash your face morning and night with a gentle cleanser. When washing, avoid scrubbing at the face with a wash cloth or other implement and instead use the pads of your fingers in slow, circular motions. To remove the wash, rinse and then pat dry.
Another cleansing method that is quickly gaining popularity is the oil cleansing method. Although it may seem counterintuitive to clean your face with oil when oil is a culprit of blockage, oil dissolves oil, leading many to believe that oil cleansing is actually the key to regulating sebum production. To start, oil cleanse 1-2 times per week, and work your way up to as often as once per day. Results should be visible within 2 weeks.
Pore Minimizing: Lifestyle
Sun damage is a significant factor in determining the size of pores. Although it may seem benign to occasionally stroll out into the sun to get a tan or for a quick hike, these quick jaunts can add up quickly, causing serious damage, including aging skin and speeding the onset of wrinkles, lines, and spots. To avoid sun damage, wear sunscreen and, if possible, protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, and hats.
Although sun damage is the most common culprit, abrasive cleaning practices, poor hygiene, and picking at skin can also contribute. Abrasive cleaning is most frequently attributed to low-quality facial scrubs (which use too-harsh ingredients to scrape away skin), the use of harsh tools to clean skin (such as rough brushes or rags), and the use of fingernails (which harbor bacteria). Use scrubs with natural ingredients such as sea salt, and use only the pads of fingers or approved brushes to scrub skin.
Picking at skin is another no-no, as it causes undue stress to the epidermis. Although it may be tempting to pick at a blemish, a rough spot, or even a sunburn, this is problematic for two reasons:
Picking is essentially tearing at skin, and can facilitate scarring and further irritation, and
As stated above, fingernails often harbor bacteria, which can either worsen an existing infection or create an entirely new infection once the skin is broken or irritated.
Pore Minimizing: Products
In addition to implementing lifestyle changes and a solid skincare routine, there are products on the market that exist solely to reduce the appearance of pores.
Dr. Brandt’s “Pores No More” is a pore minimizer that garners consistently high praise, and is developed specifically to target large pores. This is accomplished primarily through the use of tea tree oil and flaxseed, which provide nutrients to tighten and tone skin, effectively minimizing the appearance of pores. In addition, Dr. Brandt’s has antibacterial properties, preventing and treating existing infections.
Some products do not treat pores long-term, but minimize their appearance daily. One such product is Smashbox’s Photo Finish foundation, which creates a matte finish, and reduces the appearance of pores during use. Although this will not permanently reduce their appearance, Smashbox does offer some relief on a day-to-day basis.
Simple witch hazel serves as an excellent toner. When applied under moisturizer, serums, and makeup, witch hazel tones and evens skin, reducing the appearance of sun damage, spots, and pores alike.
Pore Minimizing: Diet and Exercise
The overall appearance of skin is largely influenced by healthy habits, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Avoiding processed foods, a large sugar intake, and numerous starches will result in clearer, brighter skin, as will a regular exercise routine. Although it may not seem an important factor in shrinking pores, treating yourself well from the inside out will do wonders for your overall health and appearance.
No one product is the miracle answer to shrinking pores. Because many issues with pores build up over a long period of time and consistent misuse, it may take a correspondingly significant period of time to see drastic results. However, none of these areas should be neglected: implementing a gentle and effective cleansing routine, appropriate lifestyle changes, pore-targeting products, and beginning diet and exercise routines will result in not only reducing the appearance of pores, but will also dramatically improve health, and overall appearance, including toning and firming the body overall, and delivering more energy and nutrients.
Skincare can be a tricky thing, as it requires tenacity and care when neither of those might be the most entertaining or convenient choices. With regular adherence to a healthy overall lifestyle and habits, however, your skin will thank you—as will your mirror.