Genetics and age are the most common causes of large pores, which you may find unsightly. While there is no way to permanently shrink your pores, you can make them less noticeable with over-the-counter products and proper skin care. The plus side to large pores is that because larger pores typically produce more oil, skin with large pores tends to wrinkle less with age.
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Keeping your skin clean can help reduce the appearance of large pores. Makeup and dirt can seep down into your pores, especially while you sleep, leading to skin problems and widening pores. Use a gentle cleanser twice per day. Stay away from harsh scrubs and astringents that irritate the skin.
Exfoliating helps prevent blackheads by removing dead skin cells that lead to blockages. Dr. David E. Bank, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York, recommends exfoliating with a face wash containing a chemical exfoliator such as alpha hydroxy or salicylic acid two to three times per week. If you have particularly sensitive skin, try a gentle, creamy exfoliating wash twice per week to clean your pores deep down.
Excess oil can lead to breakouts, and it reflects light, drawing more attention to your large pores. You can use paper blotting sheets to absorb excess oil throughout the day. Stay away from oily cosmetics and face creams. Products labeled water-based or noncomedogenic will not clog your pores, and they do not contain oil. If your face is oily and you want to use waterproof cosmetics, read the labels carefully. Most of them contain oil that may exacerbate your pore problem.
Topical retinoids cannot alter the size of your pores, but they do promote new collagen growth, which helps open up clogged pores and contributes to a smoother complexion. The strongest retinoids, such as Retin-A and Renova, are only available as a prescription from your doctor and dermatologist. Over-the-counter products are available from companies, including Neutrogena and Avon. Discuss your concerns with your dermatologist to determine what topical products, if any, are right for you.
You can minimize the appearance of large pores by camouflaging them with certain cosmetic tricks. Prefoundation skin primers help even out your skin tone and provide a base layer so that your foundation does not seep down into your pores, making them even more noticeable. Allow the primer to dry before applying foundation. Try a cream-to-powder base, and gently dab the foundation over your face with a makeup sponge. Using too much foundation will make your pores more noticeable as it settles, so only use a little bit. Finish your look with a loose, translucent powder applied with a large powder brush after your foundation dries. Wearing makeup daily can lead to clogged pores and other skin problems, so it’s best to save cosmetic disguises for when you really want to look your best.