Skincare Skills

by Lydia

Skincare blogger

November 7, 2021

How to Get Rid of Large Pores

Other than making your skin look like an orange peel with small pits, enlarged pores cause your face to look dull and prematurely aged. In addition, different people’s pores might be more or less noticeable than others, depending on their skin type. So, to get rid of large pores, you need to fully understand the remedies and the causes.

Pores in the skin are connected to the hair follicles and are our skin's way of releasing oil and sweat. They come in two types; pores that release the body’s natural oils (sebum) and pores that release sweat. Sometimes the pores that release sebum may appear enlarged.

Ultimately, you can’t change the size of your pores, but there are some home remedies that can help minimize their enlarged appearance. Due to its excessive sebum production, oily skin is prone to this, and large pores on oily skin can further cause blackheads and acne.

Unfortunately, the market is full of sellers who pry on people's conditions with a promise of products that claim to offer relief. But before you go spending so much, some solutions right on your kitchen shelves could help improve the appearance of your enlarged pores.


What Are Open Pores?

Pores on your facial skin help it breathe, but when these same pores expand, they become a little more visible to the naked eye. People with oily or combination skin types produce more natural oil (sebum). These people are also further advised to deal with acne and blackheads early before aggravating the large open pores.

Ranking high, right up next to acne and aging skin, enlarged pores are a common skincare concern for many people. Large pores aren't really a skin disease, but they can still be a little annoying. Pores may appear larger mainly because of:

  • Genetics
  • Acne
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Increased sebum production causing oily skin
  • Sun damage
  • Using non-comedogenic skincare/makeup products
  • Stress
  • Unhealthy skincare routines
  • Age

What Role Does Pore Size Have in Skin Health?

Unfortunately, your pores aren’t really like doors that you can open up and close, so there's really no closing of enlarged pores. As a result, some people get brown eyes while others get blue eyes; in the same way, some get small pores while others get enlarged pores; genetics largely determines pore size.

You'd think they're only there to drive you crazy but pores actually play a vital role in the health of your skin. Other than allowing your skin to breathe and regulate heat, they release oil (sebum) that keeps your skin healthy and hydrated to travel from the sebaceous oil gland to the skin's surface and avoid dry skin. So as annoying as they'd seem, you really don't want to close them completely.

Are There Any Effects of Heat or Cold on Your Pores?

Does hot water open the pores, or does cold water close them? Sorry, but that’s a myth. No amount of heat or cold in the world is going to change the size of pores permanently.

When you wash your face, heat may expand the pore opening slightly, with dilation of blood vessels beneath, and cold may make them a little constricted, but these effects are both just temporary. After a few minutes of the face wash, your skin will return to normal temperature, and so will your pore size.

Although hot towels, warm water, or the steaming process won’t really 'open' up your pores, it will soften the oil trapped within the pores. For this reason, estheticians steam your face before extracting blackheads to soften the plug, the comedonal core. This makes the blockage easier to push out, leaving your skin clean.

In pursuit of 'opening' your pores, you might irritate your skin with the dilated capillaries and inflamed skin by washing your face with hot water. So the best water temperature to wash your face is comfortable lukewarm, not hot.

Can You Make Pores Appear Smaller?

Bluntly put, there's no permanently making pores smaller or shrink in size of your pore size, but you can make them appear much smaller. So, no toners or cleansers, or other skin care products can close, shrink or change the actual structure of the skin's pores no matter what skin type.

That's not to say that pore-minimizing products are completely useless, these products may not physically change the size of your pores, but they can make your pores appear smaller. How? By exfoliating your skin, you prevent pores from getting clogged up with dead skin cells and oil.

Exfoliation leaves your skin looking more even, brighter, smoother, and softer. With the clearing of blockages, your pores won't be filled with oil or cellular debris that 'stretches' out the pore opening, making the pore look larger.

To help your pores appear much smaller;

1. Skincare products

It's time you assessed your skincare products. Using skin products designed to clear excess oil and acne might actually end up irritating long-term use if they aren't right for you or meant to be used long-term.

If not used well, products with active ingredients like salicylic acid may have a drying effect, which may be great for a while since your pores will look smaller. Still, if the skin becomes too dry, the skin alerts your sebaceous glands to increase sebum production, leading you back to excessively oily skin and acne.

To avoid, only use non-comedogenic products and that don't over strip your skin of its oil and moisture. Additionally, use oil-free skin products, which include water-based makeup. Oily skin will highly benefit from products that are high in humectants rather than in oils.

Honey and hyaluronic acid are great humectants you should look out for in skincare products. In addition, oil-based products containing coconut oil, petrolatum, and other kinds of oil effectively moisturize the skin. Still, they are definitely not suitable for people who have oily skin and enlarged pores.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can also include skincare products that have retinol or retinyl palmitate to help reduce the size of the pore, acne, and aging signs. However, pregnant mothers or ones breastfeeding shouldn’t use anything containing retinol or retinyl palmitate.

2. Rightly Cleansing Your Face

The best cleansers for you will help take off excess oil and dirt without necessarily stripping your skin off its moisture and natural oils. For example, if you have enlarged pores with too much oil on oily skin, get a gel-based cleanser, while people with normal to dryer skin should consider creamy cleansers.

But using even the best cleansers will not do you any good if you don't use them properly. Ensure that you:

  1. Choose a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that doesn't contain alcohol
  2. Use warm water on your face, not hot and not cold
  3. Massage your cleanser in circular motions on your entire face and neck for at least 30 to 60 seconds (the 1-minute rule)
  4. Avoid aggressively scrubbing your face, preferably use your hands
  5. Pat your skin dry, again avoid rubbing

3. Exfoliation Using AHAs and/or BHAs

Dermatological experts recommend gently exfoliating regularly every week. Gentle exfoliation helps remove dead skin flakes that could clog pores without over-stripping your skin off its moisture. Not only does gentle exfoliation help avoid clogging of pores, but it also helps the skin reveal the underlying skin for smoother, even-toned skin.

This process helps deal with hyperpigmentation, dull skin, and uneven skin tone for more youthful skin. However, our skin cell turnover is not as regular as we grow older, and exfoliation is somewhat necessary. If you have an acne breakout, you can skip the exfoliation session and avoid irritating your pimples.

Exfoliants either include Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are fruity acids that are fairly new in the skincare world that help dissolve dead skin cells. PHAs include lactobionic acid and gluconolactone, which help to strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

Common AHAs include;

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Malic acid
  • Tartaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Mandelic acid (for sensitive skin)

Common BHAs to help in unclogging pores include;

  • Salicylic acid (in the form of salicylate, sodium salicylate, or willow extract)
  • Beta hydroxybutanoic acid

Lactic acid overall helps smoother appearance and fewer fine lines and deep wrinkles. BHAs shouldn’t be used by people who are allergic to aspirin. However, these ingredients can maximize the exfoliation benefits and help the BHAs penetrate deeply into the skin pores to treat acne.

4. Balanced Moisturizing and Hydration

Most commonly, people overlap the two terms in use. For example, if you have an oily skin, look for a hydrator that will maintain a balanced moisture content on your skin. Don't skip on the hydrator for fear that it will add more oil to your face. On the other hand, people with dryer skin should keenly use moisturizing products to help maintain their skin's natural sebum and moisture. It also helps effectively condition your skin.

When it comes to oily skin and enlarged pores, always choose a light, water-based moisturizer.

5. Wear Sunscreen Always

Sunscreen is a definite must-have for everyone, whether you have oily skin or dryer skin. Not only does sun damage increases the long-term risk of cancer, fine lines, and wrinkles, but it also dries out your skin, making your pores appear much bigger.

Use the right sunscreen for you with an SPF of at least 30. Apply enough sunscreen roughly 15 minutes before you head outside. Also, get moisturizers and foundations that have SPF in them.

6. Home Remedies

Complications like acne and blackheads also make your pores appear larger, so you can use the natural home remedies listed below:

a) Aloe vera gel - The application of aloe vera gel every day will help reduce the appearance of your pores. Aloe vera is a great moisturizer that works with all skin types; it also cleanses and nourishes your skin while removing oil and dirt from clogged pores 

b) Apple cider vinegar - Like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar should be diluted in water. You can use a cotton ball to apply. The apple cider vinegar solution is a great toner that can be used every day. It helps remove excess dirt, stabilize the skin's pH while helping reduce the appearance of pores. It also helps reduce any inflammation

c) Face masks - clay masks such as bentonite or kaolin with rose water or milk make a great mask for oily skin. You can use this 2-3 times a week, depending on how oily your skin is. The clay powder face mask like kaolin clay or bentonite clay can absorb all the impurities, tighten skin, and minimize the appearance of pores. Always do a simple skin patch test before you use any clay mask on your skin

Other home remedies that help in shrinking pores includes using natural remedies such as :

  1. Ripe papaya
  2. Besan
  3. Banana peel
  4. Cucumber
  5. Argan Oil
  6. Jojoba Oil
  7. Lemon juice -lemon juice should be diluted before application
  8. Multani Mitti
  9. Yogurt
  10. Olive Oil
  11. Turmeric
  12. Tea Tree Oil
  13. Tomato
  14. Honey

Factors to Consider When Trying to Figure out How to Get Rid of Large Pores

  • Don't use skincare/makeup products that block your pores or make your skin produce excess sebum. Avoid using oily creams in a creamy texture, especially if you have oily skin and makeup products that contain dehydrating ingredients and irritants, such as fragrances and alcohol
  • Use mild facial cleansers that don't block your pores, excessively strip off your skin's natural oil and moisture or cause an imbalance in your skin’s pH
  • Include exfoliants for a chemical peel in your skincare routine, ones that gently exfoliate your skin to reveal smoother skin and don't contain any irritating ingredients. Go for one that contains salicylic acid (BHA) in gel or liquid form. Gentle exfoliation helps remove dead cells from the outer layer of the skin and the pores to prevent the clogging of pores
  • Include the use of clay face masks in your regular skin regime to help absorb excess sebum and dirt
  • Improving cell rejuvenation by using products such as retinoids or retinol
  • Include skin products that are rich in antioxidants to help the skin protect itself from external aggressors influences
  • Use niacinamide or products containing niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3; it is quite versatile and works for almost any kind of skincare concern including, visibly minimize enlarged pores, tightening lax pores, improving uneven skin tone, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and brightening dull skin
  • Protection from the sun since UV rays in sunlight
  • Removal of blackheads using a comedone extractor or a professional beauty specialist to limit the damage on your skin and pores. Not removing blackheads will have the pressure and swelling increase, giving you permanently enlarged pores and sometimes making the spots appear
  • Consider professional cosmetic treatment with microdermabrasion or laser treatments in the world's leading hospitals that you can trust. These treatments visibly improve blackheads and milia through all skin types. They only work on the skin's surface and don't necessarily improve the condition of your pores

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Get Rid of Large Pores

1. Can rosacea enlarge your pores?

Rosacea is normally accompanied by bumps and pimples and thick skin texture, which then causes enlarged pores that become even more visible.

2. Do your pores enlarge with age?

As you grow older, your collagen production goes down, and the skin loses its elasticity, causing your skin to stretch out, sag, and have stretched pores that appear larger. Conversely, as you age, the skin also thickens, causing minuscule skin cells to gather around the pores, making your pores look bigger.

3. With rosacea, how do you shrink the pores?

When topical creams and prescription medications don't help, some effective professional treatments include laser treatments such as Levulan PhotoDynamic therapy. Other than destroying acne-causing bacteria, the treatment also effectively reduces oil production in your oil glands while shrinking the size of the pores.

4. Does the squeezing of blackheads make your pores bigger?

Picking, squeezing, pulling, and prodding are some skin-compromising situations that can stretch out the elasticity around pores, making them wider and larger. Eventually, they won't be able to bounce back into their natural size. Ultimately making your pores look larger and increasingly visible.

About the author 

Lydia

My name is Lydia Adams and I have been a skincare blogger in one way or another for many, many years.

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