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Treatment of Large Pores

By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Thu, Oct 24, 2019

Dermatologist explains why you get large pores.

dermatologist's tips to shrink large pores

Pores begin to enlarge as hormones kick in during adolescence. Some people are more prone than others to large pores. To make the pores look even larger, they often fill with, and hold onto, sebum along with dead cells and debris. This material in the pore may look dark, accentuating the pore's appearance. These plugs may not be true blackheads, but they look similar nonetheless. Acne scarring can also cause pores to become large.

Everyone wants a satiny smooth facial complexion. Often the biggest thing that stands in the way of achieving that goal is the appearance of big pores.

Can you really make your pores smaller?

You can reduce the appearance of your pores, but there is almost nothing that will actually shrink their true structural diameter. This means that you want to put your efforts into shrinking their appearance!

What skin care steps will reduce the look of large pores?

To minimize the appearance of large pores you want to:

Best products to help shrink the appearance of large pores

best skin care to shrink large pores

Use the essential 4 steps of my Dr. Bailey Complete Skin Care Routine to get the best success in shrinking the appearance of large pores. Complete Skin Care involves the 4 steps of,

  1. CLEANSE
  2. CORRECT
  3. HYDRATE
  4. PROTECT.

Pick products based on your skin type. For example:

CLEANSE: This step is really important to shrinking the appearance of large pores. To reduce skin oil, use a soap matched to your skin type.

If you have oily skin and large pores, you want to use a salicylic acid soap because this BHA penetrates deeply into oily pores to help unclog them.

best facial cleanser to shrink large pores

My top skin cleanser choice for large pores is my Triple Action Exfoliating Skin Cleanser which has the right amount of salicylic acid combined with glycolic acid (for skin brightening) and eco-friendly beads to exfoliate surface dead cells. This is a great daily cleanser. Another choice is my Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser. General purpose daily skin cleansers include my Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser for sensitive skin and my Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser, which lathers well for men who wet shave. 

Use an astringent toner to remove excess oil and help contract the pore diameter temporarily. 

Oily and acne prone complexions do best with my Acne Treatment Pads which contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid and witch hazel to penetrate into oily pores and lift out clogged pore debris. Normal to sensitive complexions do best with my Naturally Hydrating Pore Minimizing Toner that uses witch hazel to contract pore size while removing excess oil gently.

Exfoliate skin with a physical scrub twice a week to help shrink the appearance of large pores.

Use a scrub with clay to pull out pore clogging debris. My Bamboo and Clay Exfoliating Facial Scrub is ideal.

Oily and more tolerant skin can handle higher concentrations of ingredients that accomplish these tasks. Because some these ingredients can dry out and irritate sensitive skin, be careful and move up in strength slowly.

CORRECT the appearance of large pores by applying retinoids and/or glycolic acid which brighten skin and compact the dead skin cell layer to help shrink the appearance of the depth of pores. Professional products give the best results such as my Retinol Night Cream or Glycolic Acid Face Cream. 

HYDRATE your facial skin using a moisturizer that balances your skin's hydration. Know that you may not need to apply moisturizer to all your skin such as that on your nose, which has more oil glands for the production of your skin’s natural moisturizer. Most people with large pores prefer my Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal skin.

PROTECT your skin from UV damage that causes skin atrophy - which will increase the appearance of your pores! Use mineral zinc oxide sunscreen for the best protection. Matte sunscreens will reduce skin shine to help minimize pore appearance. My top choice sunscreen is my Sheer Strength Pure Physical ™Matte Tinted Creme SPF 50+. For a non-tinted sunscreen, there is my Sheer Strength Pure Physical ™Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen. These are usually preferred by people suffering from a problem with large pores.