So what’s the big deal about big pores? Well, they won’t cause any serious illness but they can be annoying. The problem is that enlarged pores clog easily with oil, dirt, and bacteria, forming blackheads. The longer blackheads sit around stuffed with all that debris, the more likely they are to harden and stretch out your pores even more. Enlarged pores can also lead to whiteheads, sebaceous cysts, and other forms of acne. Unfortunately, there’s no way to truly “shrink” your pores, but there are things you can do to make them appear smaller and less obvious.
Cleansing: A smart cleansing regimen is your first line of defense against clogged pores. Opt for pore-refining products that are appropriate for your complexion to help loosen pore-plugging gunk and keep your skin clear.
Facials: A professional facial typically includes a deep cleansing treatment, as well as exfoliation, steaming, extractions, a facial massage, mask, and moisturizing. Dermatologists and licensed aestheticians have access to the latest technology and high-end skin care products, so it might be worth the investment to get a supercharged cleaning.
Masks: if you’ve got normal to oily skin, a deep-cleansing clay, mud, and exfoliating fruit-enzyme mask is especially good for unclogging pores. Moisturizing masks are a better choice for irritation-prone dry or sensitive skin. You’ll find a selection of masks at your drugstore, or shop your favorite department store or spa for a more upscale product. You can even whip up your own mask at home from ingredients you probably have in your fridge or pantry.
Exfoliating: Use a store-bought or homemade scrub, or an exfoliating cleansing cloth, to slough off dead cells and loosen debris a few times a week. Just be gentle when exfoliating and be sure to avoid the thinner, sensitive skin around your eyes.
Microdermabrasion: During this painless procedure a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician uses a handheld device to essentially “sand” your skin with a spray of fine crystals. It’s one of the most effective ways to really clear out your pores. You can also try a store-bought polisher to use at home but the results will be less effective.
Acids and Peels: Chemical exfoliants rely on ingredients like lipohydroxy, salicylic, and glycolic acids or alpha & beta hydroxy acids in the form of fruit enzymes, like papaya and pineapple, to dissolve excess oils, dirt, and bacteria. As with microdermabrasion, you can go for a full-strength procedure at your dermatologist’s office or with a licensed aesthetician, or you try a gentler store-bought-product at home.
Retinoids: These prescription-strength topical medications penetrate clogged pores, dissolve debris, and cause the affected skin to peel away, exposing new fresh skin beneath.