Dermatologist-Reviewed Articles

4 Dos and Don’ts of Pore Maintenance

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Keeping your pores clean is a cardinal rule of skincare, but for all the work you put into maintaining them, a few common mistakes could be undoing your routine. See how to minimize pore appearance and help prevent breakouts and other irritations with proper pore care.

1. Don’t: Wash Your Face Too Often

It may seem like a good idea to wash your face throughout the day—especially if you’re struggling with acne—but this won’t help your cause. Over-washing can cause your skin to produce more oil, enlarging pores and risking more breakouts. Use a gentle cleanser no more than two times daily, and always follow up with a moisturizer.

2. Do: Apply Products to Different Parts of the Face

Not all of the skin on your face requires the same kind of treatment. For example, the skin on your nose is often more oily, and pores appear larger than they do on the sensitive skin under your eyes. Since your goal is to reduce the oil in your pores while keeping the skin under your eyes hydrated, applying the same astringent products to your whole face may be counterproductive. Instead, choose an oil-reducing product for your T-zone and a hydrating product for under your eyes. The result will be even skin and happy pores.

3. Don’t: Over Exfoliate

Exfoliating your face helps rid skin and pores of built-up gunk, including dead skin, sebum and products. It results in skin that looks brighter and more lustrous. Just like you shouldn’t wash your face excessively, though, you should also exfoliate sparingly. One to three times a week is plenty for both mechanical and chemical exfoliants.

4. Do: Layer Products in the Correct Order

Even the most disciplined skin care routine won’t help much if you’re applying your products in the wrong order. Layering is the name of the game here and products are absorbed differently depending on what they consist of. In general, you want to start with products that have the lightest consistency then work your way to heavier treatments. After cleansing, apply any toners or serums before using any active treatments that are designed to target specific issues like acne or hyperpigmentation. Then move on to lotions, oils and moisturizers, since these can create barriers between the product and the skin. Allow at least a minute for each product to dry and if it isn’t absorbing easily that means it can’t penetrate whatever is underneath it. Sunscreen should always be your last step in the morning, since it sits on top of your skin. If it goes on first, it prevents other ingredients from penetrating.


This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.

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