We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you cannot get rid of your pores. Much like the other parts of your body, you get the pores you are born with, be it minuscule and small (lucky!) or open and enlarged. In addition to genetics, there are a handful of other factors that affect your pore size, including sun exposure, age, skin type and skin regimen. And although there’s nothing you can do to physically shrink the size of them, the good news is that taking care of your pores can make them appear less noticeable. So while you can’t make them go away for good, you can certainly minimize their appearance.
Here are Dr. Lin’s five tips for reducing your pores.
1. Fractional skin-resurfacing laser treatments
“Fractional skin-resurfacing laser treatments (such as CO2 laser) can help diminish the appearance of large pores with minimal downtime,” says Dr. Lin. How does it work? Laser resurfacing uses, yes, a laser, to send out brief pulses of high-energy light that are then absorbed by water and substances in the skin. New skin then grows to replace the damaged skin that was removed. What’s more is that these laser treatments also smooth and tighten the skin, treating fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Chemical peels and extractions
A salicylic, trichloroacetic, or glycolic acid peel with extractions performed by a licensed skin professional can help remove trapped dirt and sebaceous deposits from swollen pores.
3. Chemical exfoliators (instead of physical exfoliators)
When clogged pores become enlarged, they can sometimes form blackheads and whiteheads. Using abrasive scrubs may be able to slough off dead skin cells, but they are not strong enough to penetrate into the pores. Instead, Dr. Lin suggests looking for a beta-hydroxy acid exfoliator, like salicylic acid. This ingredient is commonly found in cleansers and peels to penetrate deep into clogged pores. “I formulated my Daily Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid to help treat and prevent breakouts, while minimizing the appearance of pores. It’s effective yet gentle enough for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Lin.
4. Wipe down after a workout
It’s extremely important to wash your face after you work out, even if it was a brisk walk during lunch. The sweat can clog your pores if you let it linger long enough. To prevent your pores from getting clogged, keep towelettes that are moistened with gentle cleansers in your gym bag. The more convenient you make the towelettes available for yourself, the easier it will be to remember to cleanse your face after your gym sesh!
5. Use a water-based moisturizer for dry areas
Unlike creamy moisturizers, water-based, gel moisturizers provide excellent hydration without clogging your pores. “For my patients with combination skin, I developed a very light, non-comedogenic hyaluronic acid moisturizer that absorbs quickly and improves skin texture,” says Dr. Lin. When your skin is properly hydrated, it looks supple and dewy, reducing the appearance of your pore size.