Yes, there are many effective — and expensive — dermatological procedures and spa treatments to treat enlarged pores. But there are plenty of tactics to try at home that’ll help your complexion. From cleansing tips to makeup tricks, here’s an overview of DIY strategies for dealing with enlarged pores.
Treating Enlarged Pores at Home
Skin Care: Start by choosing basic skin care products that are optimized for your specific complexion. Another must: make a pore-refining cleanser part of your daily regimen to help loosen excess oil, dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria that can clog your pores.
Facials: Give yourself a pore-purifying treatment with the same tactics the pros use: cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, facial massage, mask, and moisturizing. A few words to the wise: While dermatologists and aestheticians often perform extractions as part of a professional facial, don’t try that at home. Picking, popping or squeezing pimples can cause infection, or worse, scarring so resist the urge to zap that zit and let your skin care regimen do the dirty work.
Masks: Buy a deep-cleansing clay, mud, or exfoliating fruit-enzyme mask at your local drugstore or make your own mask from ingredients in your fridge and pantry. Whip up a skin-friendly base using honey, yogurt, or basic Fuller’s earth clay (available at your health food store) then add citrus fruit, strawberries, bananas, apple cider vinegar, or rosewater to help break down the goo inside your pores.
Exfoliation: Use a store-bought or homemade scrub, or an exfoliating cleansing cloth, to loosen and remove dead skin cells, dirt, and debris. You’ll also unveil a glowing new layer of skin beneath.
Microdermabrasion: Professional microdermabrasion treatments, during which the top layer of skin is “sanded” to remove debris, must be done by a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. But you can achieve a similar yet milder effect with store-bought products such as microdermabrasion cleansing cloths or polishers.
Acids and Peels: Chemical exfoliants such as lipohydroxy acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and alpha and beta hydroxy acids dissolve excess oil, dirt, and bacteria that can clog pores. Look for these ingredients in cleansers, gels, toners, pads, and over-the-counter peels as well.
Certain cosmetics are your friends when it comes to making large pores less visible — you just need to know what to shop for. In general, oil-free, noncomedogenic formulations and matte powders are your best bets for controlling oil and minimizing the appearance of large pores. But be sure to wash your face thoroughly at the end of the day to remove any residue. Here’s an overview of how to apply pore-friendly makeup.
- Use a primer. Worn under makeup, this liquid cosmetic helps your foundation go on more smoothly and evenly, which in turn makes pores less visible. Another plus: primers come in different colors to target hyperpigmentation problems, and provide an extra layer of coverage against the sun.
- Apply a concealer to cover up blemishes. If you have acne, opt for a medicated formula that contains salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Don’t go overboard — too much concealer looks worse than the blemish itself. Once the spot is camouflaged, dust the area lightly with loose mineral-based powder (see below) to set. (Mineral powder looks a bit more natural than foundation and won’t clog your pores any further.)
- If you use foundation, that goes on next. For oily or combination skin, choose a water-based rather than an oil-based formula to keep skin from looking shiny. If you don’t use primer, you may want to skip foundation altogether, since without it, foundation is more likely to sink into (and clog!) your pores.
- Next, dust your face lightly with loose mineral powder. Some women use mineral powder instead of liquid foundation because it’s less likely to clog pores. The coverage looks more natural as well.
- Keep a pack of blotting sheets handy to blot away excess surface oil throughout the day.