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"Pore size is genetically determined," says Debra Jaliman, a leading dermatologist in New York City. You can’t make pores physically smaller, but there are things you can do to minimize their appearance, which is better than nothing!
What Is a Pore?
The dots you see on the surface of your skin are actually openings of hair follicles where hair, for the most part, has decided it won't grow. Each pore contains a sebaceous gland that produces your skin’s oils. Some pores are more noticeable on certain parts of your face, like your forehead, nose, and cheeks; this is where the sebaceous glands are bigger.
What Makes Some Pores Bigger Than Others?
Pore size depends primarily on your genes. Usually, fair-skinned people have smaller pores, while those with olive or darker skin have larger ones. Your skin type can also play a role. Dry skin appears pore-less, while oily skin makes them more visible. Collagen loss due to aging also reduces your skin's elasticity and thus enlarges the size of the hair follicles.
The following non-genetic factors can also increase the size of your pores:
- Dead Skin Cells and Trapped Sebum: Together they form pimples that can stretch out the hair follicles.
- Exposure to the Sun's UV Rays: This weakens the collagen that supports the skin's elasticity (tightness).
- Picking At or Squeezing a Pimple: This causes trauma to your skin and may permanently widen the pore. So stop popping, no matter how tempting it is!
Natural Ways to Reduce the Visibility of Pores on Your Skin
When it comes to health care, I always prefer to try natural remedies before using harsh chemicals or machines. Because pore size has a lot to do with genetics, these remedies only go so far, and they won't give any permanent results, but they will help.
- Wash your face twice daily with a mild soap. This is especially important after you work out, or if you've had a night out that required heavy makeup. It's very important to remove oils and bacteria from your skin to prevent pores from clogging, so don't skip this step!
- If possible, stop using heavy oil-based skincare products. These products clog pores.
- Professional makeup artists swear by washing your face with equal parts baking soda and water. Basically, all you do is mix the two ingredients into a paste, slather it on, give your skin a gentle scrub, and rinse it off. The baking soda helps get rid of bacteria and helps reduce the size of pores. It's also mildly abrasive, so it's a great exfoliator! Plus, it's inexpensive. Try this a few times a week.
- Use a good moisturizer that contains sunscreen twice a day, even during winter.
- Do not pick or pop acne! No matter how strong the urge, it's better to keep your skin clean than cause trauma to it. When you pop or scratch acne, it can damage your skin, resulting in permanently enlarged pores.
- To quickly shrink your pores, apply ice packs to your skin. This not only feels great but helps with puffiness, too. You can also give your face a few splashes of cold water for the same effect.
- Acupuncture, a procedure in which tiny needles are inserted into certain parts of the body, can also help by increasing blood flow to your face. This helps improve muscle tone and tightens enlarged pores and sagging skin.
- Clay masks, when applied to the skin, cause a tightening effect, which temporarily reduces the size of pores.
Other Options for Shrinking Stubborn and Large Pores
Sometimes natural remedies aren't potent enough to give you the desired result. When this is the case, there are other things you can do. I suggest talking to a qualified dermatologist before trying the following treatments.
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- Chemical Peels: This treatment removes the top layer of skin, which encourages new skin cell growth and gives amazing results.
- Laser Resurfacing With Carbon Dioxide: I suggest choosing either carbon dioxide ablative or fractional carbon dioxide. Multiple sessions are required for the best results.
- Microdermabrasion: This is another great thing to try. You can even buy a machine to use at home for a few hundred dollars. Microdermabrasion removes layers of dead skin from your face, and feels like a mild sunburn. It is basically a more advanced form of exfoliating and should only be done quarterly.
- Microneedling: This is another extreme form of torture for your face. It uses tiny needles to create micro-tears on your skin. This encourages your skin to heal the tears, and therefore, creates a new layer of skin. Microneedling also helps stimulate blood flow and collagen production.
- Retin-A Creams: These creams contain concentrated amounts of vitamin A. Retin-A naturally speeds up the process of shedding, helping the skin to renew itself. To acquire Retin-A in the USA, you will need a prescription. In Mexico, some can be purchased over the counter.
Take Care of the Skin You're Born With
Following these suggestions will help reduce the visibility of pores and improve the appearance of your skin, and who doesn't want that?
And always be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Aim for at least 60 oz. a day.
Although you can't completely change the skin you were given, you can take measures to change the way it behaves and greatly reduce the visual size of the pores on your face while extending your natural, youthful glow!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
sabina on November 12, 2013:
thank you for your tips
Rebecca (author) from USA on May 19, 2013:
Right, all you can do is try to minimize how they appear, but nothing will give permanent results from what I've read. Seems like all you can do is try to mask the size of the pores.
FashionPerks on May 19, 2013:
It's scientifically impossible. Products claim to work miracles but its not permanent. It's only a physical illusion bc the product actually sits in your pores making them appear smaller. However there are procedures that go deeper under the skin to improve pores oily skin and hyperpigmentation, also sun damage.