Is There Any Way to Shrink my Pores?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

People are often concerned about the size of their pores. Larger one can become blocked more easily with shed skin, which can cause blackheads, or with bacteria that can create pimples. Many women in Western cultures feel that large pores are an undesirable feature, making them less attractive. As much as it would be nice to shrink large pores to achieve that airbrushed “model” look, it really is not possible. With appropriate skin care, you can minimize the look of pores, but their size is a matter of chance and genetics. Keeping the skin clean, gentle exfoliation, and using specific topical treatments can reduce how big pores look, however.

Salicylic acid can be used on pores to treat acne.
Salicylic acid can be used on pores to treat acne.

Several factors can make pores appear larger. Sun damage thickens the individual skin cells around pores and creates a rim-like effect. Therefore, good skin protection from the sun is valuable in minimizing how big they look. Oily skin can also cause shed skin cells to collect inside pores, making them look bigger. Blackheads and pimples can make pores larger, so should be cleared through skin exfoliation.

Using a daily exfoliant can help minimize pore appearance.
Using a daily exfoliant can help minimize pore appearance.

Also, if you examine your skin very closely, pores may appear larger than they actually are. This is especially true if you use a magnifying mirror. Other people are generally not going to be that close to your face, and will notice pores less.

An esthetician may perform facials on a client to help clear pores.
An esthetician may perform facials on a client to help clear pores.

Simple methods of skin care can reduce the look of pores. Using a daily exfoliant will help get rid of excess skin cells. Mild astringents are excellent for use on oily skin, which tends to retain excess skin cells. For those with frequent acne flare-ups, astringents containing salicylic acid (also called beta hydroxy acid) tend to be most helpful in reducing both whitehead pimples and blackheads. Occasional facials from either a dermatologist or a good esthetician can also help clear matter collecting in pores as well.

Some people find that over-the-counter skin treatments are not sufficient in reducing the look of pores. They may benefit from prescription topical treatments to treat pores that become stubbornly blocked. Others find that the over-the-counter products that contain retinol, a weaker formulation of a prescription medication, are adequate and less irritating to the skin.

Many doctors recommend that stubborn blackheads not be removed at home, and squeezing pimples can result in scarring. If pimples or blackheads simply won’t go away, consider seeing a dermatologist to have them removed. At the dermatologists office, you can also discuss the best prescription pore or over-the-counter treatments for reducing the look of large pores.

For frequent flare-ups on oily skin, astringents are effective for reducing whitehead pimples.
For frequent flare-ups on oily skin, astringents are effective for reducing whitehead pimples.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

love2learn

I agree with the article when it said that sun exposure increases the size and appearance of pores. I have oily skin and a pore problem, but I've noticed that since I have cut back on my sun exposure, my pores have really decreased in size. Good tip!

mom0103

I'm in my 40s and I still have oily skin. Pores are a source of frustration for me. I have two things I use that help me minimize their appearance. I use a good face wash scrub (like an apricot scrub) with salicyclic acid content. And once a week (if I'm good) I use a mint julep mud mask. Both of these products can be bought over the counter. They have really kept my skin under control over the years.

bigmetal

oily skin can be so annoying! the benefits are that typically, people with oily skin have fewer wrinkles. i inherited my mom's oily skin, but she has few wrinkles, even close to 60 years old. i hope i inherited that benefit as well! what's frustrating though, is still worrying about breakouts in your 30s, and then having to worry about wrinkles around the corner!

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