How to Shrink Pores: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

The YS Beauty Lab

Who doesn’t want flawless skin? In order to achieve that, you first have to manage your pores. Enlarged pores can lead to blemishes, pimples and blackheads, which can make your skin look coarse, dirty and hyperpigmented.

While pore size is genetically determined, you can diminish the appearance of your pores by preventing them from clogging, stretching and getting bigger. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of large pores:

What are Pores?

A pore is an opening on the skin surface. There are two kinds of pores on our skin:

1. Hair Follicle:
Each follicle houses a hair and sebaceous glands that secrete oil to lubricate skin. These are present on most parts of the body except for the palms and soles of the feet.

2. Sweat Pore:
A sweat pore is a duct for sweat glands, which secrete sweat to cool down the body. These can be found everywhere on the body but are more abundant in the armpits and groin, and on hands and feet.

Image: Terese Winslow

What Causes Large Pores?

Sweat pores rarely get blocked. The problem lies with the oil-secreting hair follicles. Dirt, sebum and dead skin cells can clog and stretch the pores, causing them to become more visible. Some parts of the face such as the T-zone have larger sebaceous glands and hence bigger pores. This is also why oily skin has more visible pores than dry skin.

The appearance of pores can also be affected by sun exposure and aging. Pores are surrounded by connective tissues known as collagen and elastin. Exposure to UV rays and aging can cause the collagen and elastin to weaken, making pores more visible. Picking at or squeezing a pimple can also permanently widen the pores.

Image: Momtastic

How to Minimize Pores

Here’s how to reduce pore size and a guide to the best pore minimizing products:

1. Do not pick or squeeze pimples. Instead, treat pimples with chemicals such as salicylic acid, and use a pimple extractor if necessary. If possible, go to a dermatologist every two weeks for professional extraction of blackheads and pimples.

2. Avoid products that contain heavy ingredients. Products containing petroleum or mineral oils may irritate and block pores.

3. Use steam. Steam softens the excess sebum, dead skin and the connective tissue around them, allowing them to be removed more easily. Use steam or warm water on the face before cleansing, exfoliating or extracting blackheads.

4. Deep cleanse. Use a gentle foaming cleanser twice daily to remove cloggers. Etude House’s Wonder Pore Deep Foaming Cleanser contains patented mint beads fermented by vinegar to cool skin, physically exfoliate and soften dead skin cells, and kaolin clay to absorb sebum and tighten pores. Also, use a cleansing oil or balm to thoroughly remove any waterproof makeup.

5. Exfoliate. Exfoliate 1-2 times a week using chemical exfoliators such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) to slough off dead skin cells, and BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) to melt sebum.

6. Use nose strips. Biore’s Pore Pack is designed to fit the nose perfectly and is formulated with oil-absorbing powder to unclog pores. Alternatively, use a peel-off charcoal mask or wash-off clay mask such as Tony Moly’s Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack to pull out blackheads and absorb sebum.

7. Maintain skin’s oil-water balance. Remove excess oil but don’t forget to replenish moisture. True to its name, Elizavecca’s Witch Piggy Hell Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid 97% is a pore-tightening serum that contains 97% hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin. Hyaluronic acid binds collagen and elastin together to keep pores small and tight.

8. Soothe skin after cleansing. Always tone and soothe skin after steaming, cleansing, exfoliating or extracting blackheads. Ingredients such as green tea, witch hazel and xylitol can help calm down skin.

9. Wear Sunscreen. Prevent UV rays from damaging your skin’s collagen by wearing sunscreen daily.

10. Use retinol. Accutane, a form of retinol, helps minimize the appearance of pores by unclogging them and increasing collagen production. It also physically shrinks your pores by reducing the size of sebaceous glands and drying out skin during medication. Pores will return to their original size when you’re off the medication.

11. Receive non-abrasive laser treatments. These treatments stimulate collagen production and shrink pores, resulting in a smoother complexion.