Minimize Pores for Healthy Looking Skin

Portrait of beautiful woman with white foam mask on face, touches cheeks, enjoys softness of skin after beauty treatments, has curly hair, shows bare shoulders, isolated over blue background

Key Points

  • Pores facilitate the movement of oil and sweat across your skin's surface.

  • Learn how to minimize pores with cleansers and moisturizers for both dry and oily skin.

  • Pores on your nose, cheeks, and chin require specific care and spot treatments.

  • Use both powder and foundation to mask the sight of large pores.

  • Knowing how to minimize pores by removing makeup daily and using a pore refiner sets you on the path to healthier skin.

Plenty of skincare ads tell you how to minimize pores, but what's true and what's fluff? Basic treatments like cleansing and exfoliating reduce the size of visible nose, cheek, and chin pores while cosmetics like powder or foundation mask their appearance.

It doesn't matter what skin type you have — you don't have to break the bank to get rid of large pores. There are many helpful products out there for all skin types. Read on to learn how to minimize pores and find the right products for you.

The Beauty of Pores

Pores are tiny holes that move liquids through the surface of your skin. You have two kinds of pores: oil pores and sweat pores.

Oil pores cover the entirety of your skin except for the soles of your feet and palms of your hands. Sebum, the oil produced by your sweat glands, moves through oil pores to lubricate the surface of your skin and keep it firm.

Sweat pores work the same way. Sweat glands, also known as sudoriferous glands, secret eccrine and apocrine sweat which move through sweat pores. Eccrine sweat glands open directly on the surface of your skin and produce sweat to stabilize body temperature. Apocrine sweat glands open onto your hair follicles and are responsible for the oilier and more odorous sweat secreted in your armpits and groin area.

If too much oil and dirt build up on your skin, your pores get clogged and become more visible. Whether you have dry or oily skin, it's possible to minimize the sight of pores with the right skincare routine.

Hand touches visible cheek skin pores

How To Minimize Pores on Dry Skin

There's a common misconception that oily skin causes clogged pores. However, you get clogged pores with dry skin, as well. Dead skin cells build up on the face and block pores. Dry, patchy facial skin makes your pores look larger. It's even more important to take care of dry skin as you age.

If you have dry skin, follow this simple beauty regimen to prevent clogged pores.

Exfoliate Your Face

When you exfoliate your face, you remove dead skin cells from the top layer of skin. This prevents pores from clogging. Exfoliating also stimulates the blood flow to the vessels underneath your skin, softening your skin, evening out your skin tone, and freshening your face.

Check out the Olehenriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub with an exfoliating brush, sponge, or glove to smooth over your face. This lemonade-scented scrub contains glycolic and lactic acids. Glycolic acids exfoliate the skin and boost collagen production while lactic acids shed dead skin cells.

Don't Forget To Moisturize

Your skin gets dry during the winter due to cold temperatures and the lack of moisture in the air. Come summertime, your skin dries out due to sun exposure. Dry skin cracks and flakes, clogging your pores. If you have dry skin, use a hydrating moisturizer to restore and lock in moisture. Even if your skin isn't dry and flaky, moisturize every day to ensure your face stays hydrated.

Try CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Dry Skin. This unscented moisturizing cream doesn't feel greasy like other moisturizers on the market. It contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides. Hyaluronic acid reduces wrinkles and fine lines while hydrating the skin. Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it draws water to the skin's surface. This stops dryness and refreshes the skin's surface. Ceramides protect the skin's barrier from infections which cause dryness and irritation.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen blocks the sun's ultraviolet rays from damaging your skin. If you stay in the sun too long, your skin dries and burns. Soon after, it flakes and peels. Long-term sun damage leads to skin cancers and melanoma.

Lightweight sunscreens don't make your skin greasy. Use the Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen in SPF 50 on your face before heading outside. This sunscreen stick goes on clear. Use it as a highlighter to add a subtle glow to your neck, chest, and shoulders.

The ingredients include tropical buriti, pracaxi, and tamanu oils. Buriti oil comes from the nuts of the moriche palm tree in Brazil. It is full of antioxidants that support elastin and collagen production. Pracaxi oil comes from the fruit of the Pentaclethra macroloba tree in the Amazon and has behenic acid which repairs and hydrates the skin. Tamanu oil comes from the nuts of the tamanu tree in Southeast Asia. It contains fatty acids that hydrate the skin and have anti-aging properties.

Woman wearing face mask and towel on head blows kisses

Use a Face Mask

Use a face mask to detox your skin. Clay face masks absorb the dirt and oil which clogs your pores. Find a clay mask that works specifically for dry skin and look into how to avoid drying out your skin when using such a mask. Use a clay mask once a week to remove toxins from inside your pores.

The Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask eliminates toxins and pollutants trapped within your skin. The main ingredient, Australian pink clay, reduces the size of your pores and tightens your skin while battling breakouts. Witch hazel soothes skin irritation and repairs damaged skin cells. Mangosteen and pomegranate fruit extracts work together to brighten your skin and give you a clear complexion. Kakadu plum protects the skin, fights hyperpigmentation, and banishes wrinkles.

Use Oil-Based Makeup

If you have dry skin, look for oil-based makeup products for hydration. Stay away from long-wearing and waterproof cosmetics. These products promise to last all day but make your skin drier because they are composed of little to no oil.

Makeup artist Mary Irwin prefers long-wear products for her client's editorial shoots but says regular long-wear makeup products are different from regular cosmetics:

"Longwear products are made with different formulas and ingredients to help keep the product on for dramatically longer than a traditional formula."

Unless you do multiple beauty photoshoots within a day, stay away from long-wearing and waterproof cosmetics. Waterproof cosmetics like mascaras are hard to remove unless you use harsh or oily cleansers. Such cleansers irritate the skin around the eyes – especially if you wipe off mascara with cotton swabs too aggressively. The skin around your eyes is sensitive and prone to stretching and wrinkling, so be gentle when removing mascara.

How To Minimize Pores on Oily Skin

Oily skin occurs because of an overproduction of sebum, an oily substance naturally produced by the body to keep skin hydrated. When too much sebum sits on the skin, it clogs your pores.

If you have oily skin, implement this face-washing routine to keep your pores clear.

Wash With an Oil-Free Foaming Face Wash

Use a water-based foaming face wash to clean your skin. Water-based formulas are lightweight, so they don't clog your pores. Not only do these products get rid of dirt, but they remove excess sebum as well.

The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser is great for all skin types but works well for oily skin because it's oil-free. This foaming cleanser contains antioxidants, ceramides, and niacinamide. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3 used to build proteins in the skin and protect against environmental factors like pollution and harsh weather. 

In the morning and at night, gently massage the foam cleanser into your skin and use warm water to rinse.

Woman receives a facial to clean skin pores

Use a Moisturizer

Moisturize daily even if you have oily skin. If you don't, oil production goes into overdrive. Your skin produces more oil to hydrate itself which leads to a buildup of oil and dirty pores. Using a moisturizer regulates oil production.

If you have acne-prone oily skin, try the Differin Soothing Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin. This moisturizer contains adapalene which regulates skin cell turnover at a normal rate to prevent your pores from clogging. It blocks new acne from coming through and restores your skin's texture. Micropearl technology uses microbeads derived from jojoba oil to absorb oil and reduce shine while producing a matte effect.

Wear Oil-Free Cosmetics

Find cosmetics labeled as acne-free or oil-prone. Acne-free makeup contains salicylic acid which treats acne by reducing redness and shine. Oil-free makeup is good if you have oily, combination, or normal skin. Build up a collection with oil-free formulated blushes, lipsticks, and eye shadows.

Use Oil-Blotting Papers Sparingly

It's a myth that oil-blotting papers remove oil from oily skin. They push oil, makeup, and dirt deeper into your pores, creating a breeding ground for blackheads and acne. Use oil-blotting paper sparingly and only wipe away oil after sweating at the gym or spending time in the heat.

Instead of oil-blotting papers, use the Bioelements Oil Control Mattifier to soak up oil on your face. This cream reduces shine and makes pores look smaller.

Ingredients include Chinese peony, saw palmetto, sesame seed extract, and thyme. Chinese peony petal extract contains paeonol, an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory compound that fights skin irritation. Saw palmetto, a plant common in the Southeastern part of the United States, contains fatty acids like laurate and palmitate that protect against aging and sun damage. Sesame seed extract removes dead skin cells and toxins. Thyme clears acne and relieves itchiness and tightness.

How To Treat Different Areas of Your Face

It's frustrating to see enlarged pores on your nose, cheeks, and chin. Read on to learn why this happens on each area of the face and how to practice good grooming techniques to minimize pesky pores.

Nose Pores

Different triggers cause enlarged pores on your nose, such as spending too much time in the sun. When you're exposed to the sun, the harsh ultraviolet sun rays decrease collagen and elastin production, causing your sensitive nose pores to sag and stretch.

Blackheads develop on the nose due to excess dirt and oil. Avoid picking at blackheads as this damages the elastic fibers in the skin surrounding the pores. Too much picking reduces the skin's elasticity and resiliency.

After washing your face with your daily cleanser, use pore strips a few times a week to remove debris from your nose. Remove the strip after a few minutes. Don't leave it on too long because this dries out your skin.

If your T-zone is oilier than the rest of your face – which happens to a lot of folks – spot treat by using a clay face mask to cover your nose. After an allotted period, wash off the mask. Do this once a week to unclog and diminish the sight of pores.

Woman applies foamy face wash to clean pores

Cheek Pores

Cheek pores get clogged when the oils from your hands transfer to your face. Pillowcases are breeding grounds for bacteria, dead skin, and fungi, so change out your pillowcase every couple of weeks.

Excess dirt and debris that gathers in the bristles of your makeup brushes clog cheek pores. Change out brushes and throw away or clean makeup brushes regularly. Use hypoallergenic makeup to prevent skin irritation and breakouts.

Don't over wash your face. When you over wash, you strip the natural oils produced by your pores. Your pores then work overtime to replace that oil which leads to enlarged pores.

Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Use a retinol treatment on your cheeks. Retinol increases skin cell production to unclog pores and encourages collagen production which reduces the signs of wrinkles.

Use acne medication with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid prevents the onset of acne by unclogging your pores and removing dead skin cells.

Chin Pores

When you touch your face, put your phone to your face, or have acne, the pores on your chin get clogged. Use a clarifying cleanser to fight against acne. Find a cleanser with salicylic acid and glycolic acid as active ingredients.

Toners prevent oil and dirt from congesting your pores. After using your clarifying cleanser, grab a cotton ball and soak it with a toning solution. Rub the cotton ball over your chin. Most toners have antibacterial properties to combat acne so breakouts don't appear.

Use a clay mask on your chin. The clay absorbs the oils and decreases the size of your pores. It only takes about five to 10 minutes to refresh your chin's skin. If the pores on your chin are stubborn, use a pore extractor to remove them. This is costly but effective when necessary.

Wearing Makeup To Mask Pores

Enlarged pores look strange under your makeup. If you use too much foundation, you run the risk of clogging your pores. The foundation sits on top of your skin, making your pores look more pronounced.

Follow these makeup tips to minimize and mask the sight of pores.

Woman holds up heart sponge in from of face with mask on

Use Powder and Foundation

Lightly brush powder onto your pores as filler. This makes your pores appear small and sets your makeup. Choose a lightly formulated, buildable foundation to fill your pores. Apply the product with a beauty blender sponge or brush. Multiple layers of foundation rid the skin of visible pores.

Matte foundations reduce the sight of pores compared to dewy foundations which settle into the skin. Matte foundations are trendy and provide a great blur effect to make your skin look smooth and youthful.

Less Is More

When you wear too much makeup, you don't allow your skin to properly breathe, leading to clogged pores. Worse, wearing too much makeup several days in a row causes wrinkles, acne, and blackheads. Give your skin time to relax. Take a day or two off from wearing makeup. Instead, use a little moisturizing cream.

Sleeping with your makeup on is never a good idea. Doing so repeatedly degrades your collagen and causes wrinkles and fine lines to form prematurely. Wash your face every night and remove your makeup to keep your skin clean and healthy.

Find the Right Pore Refiner

Pore refiners soften and smooth the texture of your skin. Use a pore refiner to exfoliate dead skin around your pores and prevent breakouts.

It's not enough to pick any pore refiner off the shelves. Find one that works best for your skin type whether it be dry, oily, or normal. Choose the Honey & Geranium Pore-Refining Multi-Cleanser for dry skin. The gel-like formula won't feel harsh on your sensitive skin. Bioderma's Sébium Pore Refiner has a lightweight formula perfect for normal to oily skin.

You don't need to rub the pore refiner all over your face. Only use it on areas of your face where pores are most visible. Use the pore refiner every morning after washing your face and before putting on your sunscreen and makeup.

Woman holds up magnifying glass to cheek skin pores

Say Goodbye to Large Pores

Your pores regulate your skin's oil production, so it's vital to keep them clear and healthy. Invest in a good cleanser to wash away the skin's impurities and spot treat large pores by using a clay mask. Use a toner to wipe away excess dirt, makeup, and oils. Use pore refiners and foundations designed for your skin type and always wash off makeup before bedtime.

If you follow the proper skincare routine, you don't have to fret over large, clogged pores. Get the glowing skin you desire and never worry about visible pores again!

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