Pores are small openings in the skin that release oils and sweat. They’re also connected to your hair follicles. Each one contains a sebaceous gland, which produces your skin’s oils. (Pores are more noticeable on parts of the face, like the forehead and the nose, where the sebaceous glands are bigger.) The size of your pores depends primarily on your genes. Typically, says Jaliman, fair-skinned people have pores on the small side; those with olive or darker skin have larger pores. Your skin type, too, can play a role. Naturally dry skin tends to appear poreless, while oily skin often has more-visible pores.
If your pores appear larger, it may be because of:
- increased sebum production, which causes oily skin
- sun damage
- noncomedogenic makeup
Dead skin cells and trapped sebum—which, put together, form a pimple—can stretch out pores. UV rays weaken the collagen that supports pores and keeps them tight, so they can also make pores look bigger. Similarly, the collagen loss that comes naturally with aging can increase the appearance of pore size. And picking at or squeezing a pimple can cause trauma to the skin, which may permanently widen the pore.
The key to making pores appear smaller is to keep them clear.
Clogged pores or an oily complexion can make pores look larger. Cleansing twice daily can unclog pores, prevent clogged pores, and reduce oiliness. When cleansing your face, you’ll want to:
Use warm water. Hot water can irritate your skin, causing pores to look larger.
Gently wash your face. Scrubbing can irritate your skin, causing inflammation. When skin is inflamed, pores tend to be more noticeable.
If you have oily skin, mild acne, or your skin appears less firm than it once was, pores can look larger. Using a skin care product with retinol or retinyl palmitate may help. For best results, apply the product before going to bed.
Some people find that this type of skin care product irritates their skin. You can prevent this by washing your face and then waiting 30 minutes to apply the product.
Acne clogs your pores, which can make your pores more noticeable.
Using a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. Studies show salicylic acid can unclog pores. Some cleansers containing salicylic acid are gentle enough to use every day.
The more sun damaged your skin, the less firmness it has. When skin starts to lose its firmness, pores look more noticeable.
Applying a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher helps prevent sun-damaged skin. To protect your skin, apply sunscreen every day — even when it’s raining or cold outside. Every time the sun’s rays hit our skin, they can damage our skin. This damage builds up over time.
Exfoliating may make pores less noticeable. By seeing a dermatologist, you can find out whether exfoliating may help make your pores less noticeable. A dermatologist may also be able to exfoliate your skin during an office visit.
One of the most common mistakes people with oily skin make is to skip out on moisturizer for fear that it will add more oil to their face. Moisturizing products actually help your natural sebum penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin. This not only reduces the appearance of oiliness, but it also helps to condition your skin effectively. Without it, your skin could produce even more oil. In addition to using the right products, good, old-fashioned water can also benefit your pores and overall skin health. Specifically, water helps by:
hydrating your skin internally
removing toxins from your pores
improving your overall complexion
As we age, our skin loses its firmness and starts to sag. Pores look larger when skin sags.
A board-certified dermatologist can examine your skin and tell you what can tighten your skin. Many procedures can be done in a dermatologist’s office and require no downtime.
During acupuncture, blood flow increases in the skin of the face, which helps improve muscle tone and tightens enlarged pores and sagging skin. Additionally, some experts believe that facial rejuvenation acupuncture stimulates new cell growth and reduces the buildup of harmful elements in the skin