What Are Pores and How to Minimize Them for a Flawless Complexion

BY Jessie Quinn · July 15, 2019

best products for pores

Large pores seem to be the facial characteristic so many of us just can’t get rid of. You’ve probably tried cleansing, exfoliating and covering up your skin to minimize or mask the appearance of your pores—but they just won’t shrink. Well, to help minimize your pores, you first need to understand what they are, what purpose they serve and what causes them to appear larger in the first place. Here’s a brief overview of pores and some top-rated product recommendations to help you get a flawless complexion.

So, What Are Pores, Exactly?

The word “pore” literally means an opening in a surface where microscopic particles can pass. More specific to our bodies, pores are also the opening at the top of our hair follicles. It is also where the sebum (our body’s natural oils) is released to the surface to help our skin be naturally moisturized. Though their appearance can be frustrating, in actuality, when all aspects of our anatomy work in perfect harmony, pores are helpful for maintaining healthy skin—and who doesn’t want that?

Understanding a few details about pores can help you deal with them in a healthy manner and help you avoid potentially harming your skin with unnecessary products. Here are five important things to know about pores:

  1. They are actually hair follicles.
  2. Their appearance is largely determined by genetics.
  3. Environmental factors, aging, dry skin, oil and acne can all make your pores look bigger.
  4. Regular cleansing can help minimize the appearance of pores.
  5. Too much cleansing can actually cause your pores to produce more oil.

Tips and Recommendations for Minimizing Large Pores

Unfortunately, pores will never permanently shrink—meaning they’re not going to get smaller than they appear in their normal, healthy state. This is because pore size is largely dependent on genetics, and pores serve an important function when it comes to healthy skin. You can, however, take steps to keep your pores clean and healthy to minimize their appearance. Some important tips to consider:

  • Keep your skin clean (cleanse once or twice per day) to remove makeup, oil, dirt and debris
  • Apply sunscreen year-round (sun damage breaks down collagen, which can lead to saggy pores)
  • Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores (but be gentle and don’t overdo it; 1–3 times max per week is enough)
  • Choose the right products for your skin type (non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores are best)

With the last point in mind, it’s so important to be strategic about what you’re putting on your face. Below, you’ll find Dermstore’s recommendations for products to clean, shrink or lessen the appearance of your pores.

Deep Cleansers

Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Pore Therapy

Powered by 2% salicylic acid and glycerin, this treatment can help clear, refresh and balance your skin. It’s created by Obagi, which is known for their focus on high-quality, potent ingredients to restore and maintain skin health. One reviewer praised the fast-acting and refreshing effects, saying, “Literally rid me of clogged pores within a week. Best ‘toner’ I have ever used. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean.”

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel

Since pores house your sebum, which naturally moisturizes your skin, stripping them of their natural oils can have a negative impact on your complexion, causing them to feel dry and possibly resulting in excessive oil production to make up for the loss. Choosing a cleanser like this one can help exfoliate the complexion without stripping the skin. Formulated with willow bark extract, snow ear mushroom and glycolic acid, this cleansing gel removes makeup and provides a squeaky-clean cleanse to help refine pores.

Pore-Refining Exfoliants

PCA Skin Pore Refining Treatment

This potent pore refiner combines chemical—mandelic acid and papain extract—with physical exfoliants—rice powder and pumice—to deeply penetrate the skin and buff away notorious pore-cloggers, revealing a visibly brighter skin after the first use. Kaolin and bentonite clay help detoxify skin while absorbing excess sebum to keep acne at bay. The natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of bisabolol make this the “pore-fect” exfoliant for those with oily and acne-prone skin.

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

When it comes to refining the look of pores, exfoliation is key. By rejuvenating the skin with a product such as this Micro-Exfoliating Scrub, pores appear cleaner with less dead skin cells creating that enlarged effect. Formulated with diatomaceous earth microbeads, this skin polish provides the complexion with an even exfoliation while soothing with added aloe vera and purifies pores with natural citrus oils.

Detoxifying Masks

Eminence Organic Skin Care Raspberry Pore Refining Masque

Berries aren’t just delicious fruits; they have a ton of beneficial properties when it comes to helping the skin. Functioning as both astringents and antioxidants, berries like blueberries and blackberries can help tighten the skin, minimize pores, moisturize and hydrate. This mask contains not only berries to do all of the above, but honey and a unique natural formula to soothe and strengthen your skin.

 

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud

There’s a reason you see charcoal pop up in detoxing face masks. Thanks to its ability to gently draw out impurities and deeply cleanse the complexion, charcoal is one of the most popular skin purgers out there. And there’s not a shortage of it in Peter Thomas Roth’s Irish Moor Mud. Enriched with charcoal, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, Moor mud and volcanic ash, the luxurious mask can help reduce the repercussions of environmental stress, shrink the look of pores, draw out toxins and clarify the complexion for a hard-to-beat glow.

Pore-Blurring Primers

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Many primers are designed just to create a smoother base for applying foundation. This one by Dr. Brandt does that and much more. In addition to helping you achieve an ideal texture, the Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer also serves as a pore refiner and protecter. Tea tree oil and flaxseed extract help regulate oil and fight bacteria, while the rest of the formula helps prevent your makeup from clogging your pores.

 

Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Primer

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could Instagram filter your large pores away IRL? Well, now you (sort of) can! This blurring primer was made for photo-ready skin with the ability to smooth away the look of large pores and imperfections, providing the perfect base for makeup. In addition to its ability to dissolve the look of pores, this makeup primer is skin-friendly with added vitamins A and E to protect the complexion from harmful environmental aggressors.

Jessie Quinn

Jessie Quinn is a writer and editor with work published in NYLON Magazine, StyleCaster.com, Girlboss.com, Marvel.com, and more. She is a graduate of Academy of Art University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journa... Read More >

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