How Can I Make My Large Pores Look Smaller?

Large pores are the bane of many a woman’s life. They look unsightly and stand in the way of achieving that silky smooth complexion we all want. Unfortunately, pore size is genetically determined, so there’s nothing you can do to change it. What you can do, instead, is to make pores appear smaller. Here’s how:

1. Exfoliate

When your pores are clogged up with oil and dead skin cells, they swell beyond their genetically determined size and thus, look larger. To prevent this from happening, you need to exfoliate your skin regularly. You can do this by using a physical exfoliant with rounded grains that don’t tear and scratch the skin or with a chemical exfoliant such as Glycolic Acid or Salicylic Acid. The latter is particularly suitable for those with oily, acne-prone skin because it can penetrate inside the pores, getting rid of all the crap that has accumulated inside them. As a result, your pores will go back to their normal size and your skin will look brighter, smoother and younger. Just make sure you don’t exfoliate too often or you may irritate skin.

2. Use Retinoids

Retinoids are among my favourite ingredients, and for a good reason. Not only they really help reduce wrinkles, but can also speed up cell turnover so new, healthy skin can quicker replace damaged skin. A 2002 study in the Archives of Dermatology has found that Tazorac, a prescription retinoid cream reduces wrinkles, mottled hyperpigmentation, pore size and tactile roughness. In addition, retinoids also stimulates collagen production, which tightens the skin. And when skin is tight, pores look smaller. Keep in mind that retinoids can cause irritation, especially when they are first used, so start with a low concentration and apply it only every other day. Once your skin is used to them, you can increase both the concentration and the frequency of use.

3. IPL

If money is not a concern for you (three sessions cost a whooping $1800!), you can also try Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments. IPL works by emitting high intensity pulses of light, which is then converted into heat energy to treat skin conditions like sun-damaged skin, scars, age spots and melasma. It works on pores too because, in addition to refining skin texture, it also kills P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, and shrinks the oil glands.

According to a 2001 study, over 90% of 49 subjects who underwent four or more IPL treatments at 3-week intervals experienced a visible improvement in wrinkling, skin coarseness, irregular pigmentation, pore size, with minimal downtime and no scarring. However, we don’t know how long the effects last, so make sure you carefully discuss all the pros and cons of the treatment with your dermatologist to determine whether this is the best option for you.

You may not be able to permanently shrink your pores, but with the right products and skincare habits you can make them look smaller. And the smaller they appear, the better your skin will look!

How do you make your pores look smaller?

(Image courtesy of Ambro /
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  1. says

    Whenever I look at my pores I remember one quip from Will & Grace: “You have a pore in your nose you could serve dip out of!” Gross, I know.

    My friend had great success with IPL (I think it was IPL) and I’ve been interested in that ever since.
    The difference is she had some modeling money and considered that an investment in her career πŸ˜€ .
    AnaΒ΄s last blog post ..Garden by Lindsey Carr via AnimalariumMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Ana lol. I’m glad IPL worked well for your friend. It’s a very effective treatment, but when you consider the cost and the fact that we don’t know how long the results last, I think it’s worth doing it only as an investment too, after everything else has failed. :)

  2. Janessa says

    I have yet to buy myself a retinoid product. Do I need prescription for retinoids? Sorry if that’s a dumb question. πŸ˜€
    And #3 is definitely not an option for me! Haha πŸ˜€ Maybe someday.. someday.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, there are no dumb questions. I’m sure many people are wondering the same. πŸ˜‰ Some retinoids are available only by prescription because they are quite strong and so used only to treat serious conditions like severe acne. But retinoids in smaller concentrations are also available in over the counter products. They may take a bit longer to work, but still do a great job at treating and preventing the signs of aging, speeding up cell turnover and just generally keeping skin healthy.

      • Janessa says

        :] Thanks, Giorgia! You are so so wonderfu! Thank you so much for all the time and thought you put aside to answer my questions. I feel extremely lucky.

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