The lowdown on pores

A dermatologist reveals exactly how you can minimise them

marie claire Contributor / May 25 2017

What exactly are those pesky little indentations on your skin that are messing up your #flawless selfies? “Pores are openings in the skin that allow the hair follicle to reach the surface,” explains associate professor Greg Goodman from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria. If they’re becoming more noticeable it’s likely they’re blocked and expanding. The good news is that there are multiple ways to treat them. 

Why do I get enlarged pores?

According to Goodman, “enlarged pores can develop for different reasons, some preventable and some not.” Common culprits include genetics, sun damage, oily skin (also susceptible to blackheads, where oil is trapped in a pore, oxidises and become dark), and age, when skin naturally loses collagen and elastin over time. 

Can I minimise pores?

You’ll be happy to know that reducing their appearance is possible – you just need the right ingredients. Keep an eye out for labels with key words like, non-comedogenic, non-allergenic or oil-free, as these kinds of products are less likely to cause congestion. “Even one product with a pore-clogging ingredient can cause problems,” says Goodman. If you do have blocked pores opt for skin care products with active ingredients, such as vitamin’s A (retinol or retinaldehyde) and B (niacinamide). “Prescription strength retinoids are excellent at clearing pores, burrowing down the hair follicles and breaking up the comedones [mini blockages] that precede pimples,” he says. Also look for ingredients like beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) “as they can delve deep into the oils of the sebaceous glands and work away at the side walls, dislodging cells and debris, and clearing the pore.” 

Prescription strength retinoids are excellent at clearing pores, burrowing down the hair follicles and breaking up the comedones that precede pimples
Greg Goodman
Dermatology Institute of Victoria
associate professor

Does exfoliating help minimise pores?

Just don’t over do it says Goodman. “People become pore obsessed and try to scrub them clean, which just won’t work; rely on chemicals to do the job.” Plus, the more you excessively scrub the more you will strip the skin of its natural oils that help maintain skin health. The right products can make pores less noticeable, but “there is very little true scientific proof of skin care or procedures and their effect on pore minimisation”, he explains.

Now that you know how and why you're suffering from enlarged pores, here are eight of the best pore minimisers to help you achieve complexion perfection.

Main image credit: Getty

A beauty editor and vitamin C fanatic who has worked across a range of print and digital publications, including Stellar, marie claire, Gritty Pretty and Badlands Journal.