Visible open pores are not uncommon and perfectly normal especially if you have oily skin. Whilst there’s nothing you can do about the size of your pores, which is genetically determined, there are a lot of treatments that can help reduce the appearance of large pores. In this article our expert aesthetic doctors share some of the most effective things you can do to help minimise the appearance of large pores; from at home skincare routines to dermatological treatments.
What Are Pores?
Pores are small openings in our skin that allow sweat and oil to reach the surface of the skin. It is vital to have healthy pores, as this keeps our skin lubricated, moisturised and glowing. It also allows for sweat production to help with temperature regulation. There are two types of pores, oil pores and sweat pores. It is the oil pores that are most visible and what people think of when they try to reduce the appearance of pores. Whereas sweat pores are typically too small to be seen by the naked eye.
What Causes Large Pores?
Pores can often get blocked or clogged by dirt or bacteria on the skin, and the more clogged they are, the larger in appearance they might seem. Pores may also appear larger for people with oily skin and those with darker skin tones.
The size of your pores is determined by genetics, so it is impossible to eliminate or truly reduce their size, but you can change their appearance. This can be done through good skin care and good lifestyle choices to reduce risk factors that can increase the size of your pores due to loss of collagen. Treatable causes of larger pores include:
- Skin ageing causes loss of collagen and elasticity. This results in slacker skin which gives rise to larger-looking pores.
- UV rays damage the skin and break down collagen which in turn makes pores look larger.
- High sebum (oil) production results in larger-looking pores.
- Thick hair follicles can also give rise to pore enlargement.
How To Get Rid Of Large Pores
Whilst you cannot reduce the size of your pores, there are ways you can manage and reduce the appearance of large pores. Ensuring you have healthy skin is critical, so following a good at-home pore-reducing skincare routine is essential, as is a healthy lifestyle and seeing a dermatologist or aesthetic doctor for advice and treatment specific to your skin.
Skin Care For Large Pores
Blocked pores, which are clogged by dead skin cells, dirt or oil, are a leading cause of the appearance of larger pores. The best way to avoid clogged pores is through a suitable skincare routine morning and night, keeping your pores healthy and minimised. If your normal skincare routine isn’t doing this job well enough, it may be time to switch things up to ensure that you’re doing the right things for your skin.
Avoid overuse of deep cleansing scrubs and anything that might strip the oils off your face – this can lead to increased sebum production, making your pores seem larger. Below are our core skincare steps and products that will reduce the appearance of your pores.
Cleanse Your Face
This is a super important step to reducing enlargement caused by pores clogged by oil, makeup and dirt. It is important to choose cleansers for your face that will keep it clean and healthy without stripping the natural oils your skin relies on. You should cleanse your skin in the morning and the evening to ensure the best results. If you wear makeup, double cleansing is ideal. The first step uses a cleansing oil or balm that dissolves makeup and grease whilst the second cleanser finishes the cleaning and is generally targeted to your skin type.
For example, someone with dry skin may use a cleansing milk or jelly whilst someone with oily skin may opt for a product with salicylic acid. If you don’t have time for double cleansing then there are some hybrid products that can dissolve makeup/oil and cleanse the skin such as Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. Here are a few tips to get the most out of our cleansing routine:
- Using warm, not hot, water
- Massaging the cleanser into your skin
- Rinsing thoroughly
- Patting – not rubbing – the skin dry
AHA And BHA Exfoliating Acid
Exfoliating the skin helps remove dirt and dead skin cells, which is crucial for reducing clogged pores by removing excess cell debris, dirt and regulating oil. They also smooth skin texture and even out skin tone which further adds to the pore-minimising effect. AHA and BHA exfoliating acids are ideal for exfoliation in most cases and there are now a number of excellent products you can use at home. As a general rule, we recommend alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) for people with normal, dry or ageing skin.
Glycolic acid is the most effective AHA as it has the smallest molecules so it can get into the skin more easily. It is however not always suitable for sensitive skin or skin of colour and so you may want to use gentler AHA such as mandelic, lactic or citric acid instead. Beta hydroxy acid exfoliants are by far the best for people with oily or acne-prone skin. These are generally best used as toners or serums and often contain 2% salicylic acid. They however can not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. When starting out using exfoliating acids, try to only once or twice per week to avoid irritating your skin. You can gradually build up the frequency as needed but take care not to damage the skin’s protective barrier through overuse.
Niacinamide For Pores
Also known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide is an often overlooked skincare ingredient that has a wide range of benefits including skin brightening, antioxidant and anti-ageing benefits. It reduces the appearance of large pores by reducing inflammation and increasing your skin’s elasticity. On top of that, Niacinamide also helps maintain a healthy skin barrier which is especially important if you are using actives like exfoliating acids or retinoids.
Retinol For Pores
Retinol and Retinoids are some of the most potent skin rejuvenating skin care products we have. They work by increasing skin turnover, encouraging collagen and elastin deposition, regulating oil and pigment production and improving blood supply. As such they are vital for treating skin ageing, acne and hyperpigmentation. They are also essential for anyone hoping to minimise the appearance of their pores. Retinol and retinoids like Tretinoin reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by increasing skin elasticity and exfoliating the skin for a smoother-looking complexion. Retinol comes in a range of products to add easily into your routine, including serums and creams. It is best applied at night after cleansing your skin but before applying moisturiser.
It also goes without saying that sun protection is absolutely essential for protecting your skin. UV damage not only causes skin cancer and wrinkles but also increases the appearance of large pores. Choose a good sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and apply it throughout the day even if you’re staying indoors or if the weather is gloomy. No matter which products you use just remember one thing. The best skincare routine is the one that you follow regularly. If you have a busy lifestyle and cannot always commit to a strict skincare routine, read our article on the busy woman’s guide to a skincare routine.
Professional Treatments For Large Pores
It’s important to give your skincare routine a chance to work and we generally advise waiting a minimum of 6-8 weeks to evaluate whether any skin product or treatment is effective as this is how long your skin takes to turnover. If despite this you don’t see the results you want from your skincare routine, then seeing a doctor could be the right next step for you. Here at City Skin Clinic, we offer a range of services to help you minimise your pores and boost your skin. Our doctors will assess your current skincare routine and your skin health to determine the best possible treatment plan to minimise your pores.
Chemical Peel For Large Pores
Chemical peels work similarly to acids and retinoids but at a deeper level to exfoliate the skin. Peels can make your pores appear smaller, though they cannot actually reduce the size of the pores. Chemical peels use safe chemicals to remove the outer layers of ageing or damaged skin, resulting in improved skin appearance. Talk to one of our professional skin care experts to find out what kind of chemical peel could be best suited to minimising your pores.
Microneedling For Large Pores
Microneedling – also known as collagen induction therapy – uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries to the skin that triggers the natural healing process. This results in new collagen and elastin being created, thus improving the skin’s elasticity and reducing the appearance of pores. RF microneedling combines this with radiofrequency energy to accellerate the results. Like chemical peels, you may need several treatments over the course of a few months to see the best benefits.
What Else Can Help With Large Pores?
In addition to excellent skin care and possible dermatological treatments, you can also improve your pore appearance by living a healthier lifestyle. This means eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise and staying well-hydrated. You should also always take off your makeup before going to bed, as these can clog up your pores, making them look larger the following day.
You should also wear sunscreen all year round, even during the winter months. Sun damage can occur at any time of the year, and protecting against it can be invaluable for keeping your skin healthy. Other lifestyle treatments for large pores include:
- Moisturising morning and night, and after a shower to protect the skin barrier
- Showering in warm, not hot, water to avoid stripping the skin of its oils
- Being gentle with your skin
- Looking for effective acne treatments to avoid the damage to skin that can occur from breakouts such as scarring and hyperpigmentation which can make pores look larger
How We Can Help You
While it is not possible to make your pores any smaller than they naturally are, there are plenty of options you can use to minimise their appearance and prevent them from getting bigger. Good skincare, dermatological treatments and lifestyle choices are critical to ensure your pores are as minimised as possible.
If you’re concerned about your skin health, we’re here for you. We offer a range of treatments with excellent quality of care and have many satisfied patients. Our clinic is home to state-of-the-art technology and benefits from some of the leading experts in skincare throughout the UK. Contact us today to start your journey to perfect skin.