How To MinimizePores

Skincare Tips for Enlarged Pores

Dealing with large pores is a common beauty struggle. Fortunately, by following a tailored skincare routine that targets the potential causes, you can achieve a noticeable difference. There are a few common culprits of enlarged pores, like sun damage, excess oil, and poor elasticity. We’ll walk you through how to minimize your pores and hand you the keys to glowing skin that is supple, moisturized, and fir m.

What Causes Pores To Appear Enlarged?

It’s important to remember that skin is an organ that protects your body from germs and contaminants. The top layer — the epidermis — is composed of pores that allow oil to travel through sebaceous glands to the surface for hydration. Your pores play a role in keeping your skin soft and moisturized, and they are never not “open.”

Healthy skin has pores that aren’t enlarged or clogged. The goal isn’t to close your pores, but rather to follow a skincare routine that promotes a balance of moisturization and exfoliation so that you have smaller-looking pores.

Blackheads or Breakouts

Breakouts are another cause of noticeable pores. Blackheads, in particular, can bring attention to the surface of your skin — pores open to hair follicles, which can collect impurities like dead skin, oil, or makeup. When they become clogged, this can result in visible whiteheads or blackheads.

Whiteheads are closed blemishes with trapped sebum and debris under the skin, whereas blackheads are open comedones that look like small black dots. Understandably, since blemishes are clogged follicles, they can make your pores appear more visible. Those with acne-prone skin are generally more likely to also have enlarged pores.

Excess Oil

Excess oil is another culprit of larger-looking pores. The natural process of oil production is crucial for healthy skin that isn’t dry, but it’s possible to generate too much sebum, which is what leads to noticeable pores and other skin issues.

Those with oily skin and combination skin tend to produce more natural skin oils, which can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.

The key is to reduce oiliness and unclog your pores to minimize their appearance, and the right skincare routine is an essential part of this process. You want your topical products to maintain the fine balance between too much and too little oil.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, even with an oily skin type, it’s important not to dry out your skin — if your skin becomes too dry, it may start over producing oil to overcompensate.

Is It Possible To Reduce Your Pore Size?

Now that you have a better understanding of what causes enlarged pores, let’s talk about whether you can actually reduce the size of your pores.

The truth is that you can’t technically shrink the size of your pores, but you can make them less visible or prominent on your skin. By making intentional adjustments to your beauty routine, you can minimize the appearance of your pores and, at the same time, achieve tight, clean, and healthy-looking skin.

How Can You Make Your Pores Look Smaller?

If you’re looking to remedy the look of large pores, you’re in luck — the right lineup of personalized skincare products, routine practices, and healthy lifestyle choices can help you achieve flawless-looking skin.

Here are some of our top tips for minimizing the look of your pores and working toward a glowing complexion.

Wear SPF

Always include sun protection in your skincare routine, regardless of the weather outside. Sun damage can have detrimental effects on your health and can also create major skin damage. UV rays are known to cause premature aging (also called photoaging), dry skin, and skin buildup where excess sebum can’t dissolve. This leads to open pores that become clogged.

Sun exposure can also wreak havoc on elastin and collagen production, which leads to a larger appearance of pores. Additionally, sun damage can lead to hyperpigmentation and dark spots in all skin tones.

It’s important to wear sunscreen every day, with no exceptions. This means protecting your face (including places people often forget, like their ears and eyelids), lips, scalp, and body. You will want a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. Sun protection, as well as after-sun care, is one of the best ways to reduce the size of visible pores.

Cleanse Regularly

How and when you wash your face plays a role in the appearance of your skin. Cleansing your skin regularly helps remove impurities like dead skin cells, excess oil, and environmental pollutants. Your skincare routine should include a cleanser and toner to open your pores and wash out debris — but which type of cleanser you use will depend on your skin type and specific skincare goals.

If you have sensitive skin, opt for a gentle cleanser that won’t cause irritation, like The Cleansing Balm from Augustinus Bader. If you’re dealing with oily skin, opt for something a bit more powerful, but still mild, like the Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser.

The way you cleanse matters, too. For one thing, washing your face with hot water can actually do more harm than good — hot water damages the skin barrier by stripping excess oils and creating a dry surface, and as we know, dry skin can increase the appearance of pores and can contribute to breakouts due to an overproduction of sebum.

Skin cell turnover starts to slow down in your 20s and 30s, leaving your skin more prone to dryness and fine lines. Because of this, it’s all the more important that you protect your moisture barrier as you age — aim to wash your face with cool or warm (but not hot) water to prevent additional dryness and damage.

Revamp Your Diet

You are what you eat, and your diet and lifestyle choices will eventually show their stripes on your skin. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to support your overall skin health.

Since breakouts can be a result of easily-clogged pores, following a diet filled with foods that promote blemish-free skin is an excellent way to encourage clear-looking skin. Aim to incorporate foods that are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats.

Antioxidants can be found in berries and citrus fruits, and they can be especially helpful for working to soothe skin, support the skin surface, and maintain skin health during exposure to irritants and stressors.

Incorporating a wide range of vitamin- and nutrient-dense foods can have a positive effect on your total wellness and skin health. Try to avoid excess sugar, dairy, and unsaturated fats that are known to cause or worsen breakouts.

Take Your Makeup Off Before Bed

Don’t skip the crucial step of taking off your makeup before going to sleep — leftover makeup is a prime cause of clogged pores.

Clients with all skin types may find they wake up to a layer of oil in the morning, especially in their T-zone. This might be due to an increase in sebum production overnight in oily skin, or excess dryness creating oil during the night — both of which leftover makeup has the potential to exacerbate.

To prevent accelerated oiliness in the morning and avoid waking with clogged pores, make sure you remove your makeup and incorporate a lightweight hydrating lotion as a final step before bed.

Those with oily or combination skin may want to look for non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores) makeup removers and moisturizers. Augustinus Bader’s The Light Cream refreshes and hydrates skin, reduces the appearance of pores, and helps soothe signs of redness without contributing to excess sebum.


Exfoliation helps remove dead skin and other impurities from your complexion to improve skin texture and minimize the look of pores. Regular exfoliation can help skin look brighter, clear dirt and grime out of pores, and promote the look and feel of smoother skin.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) are chemical exfoliants generally accepted as safe for a variety of skin types — they’re gentle, but effective. Glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and lactic acid are all AHAs, while the most common BHA is salicylic acid.

The main difference is that BHAs are oil-soluble and penetrate the skin and pores, while AHAs are water-soluble and primarily address the surface of your skin. Incorporate an exfoliating serum that boosts cell turnover, like the SkinCeuticals Cell Cycle Catalyst, into your routine to keep your complexion looking radiant.

The Bottom Line

Minimizing the appearance of your pores comes down to some simple skincare steps and products like cleansers, toners, and moisturizers that support cell turnover and help keep your pores clear.

If you’re looking to learn more about your skin type and find the right products to support your goals, let Bluemercury help you create a personalized skincare routine.