The easy ways to get a handle on your enlarged pores

Kaia Gerber no makeup

A top skin expert reveals all

How do you minimise your pores? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another. Despite the popular belief that you can make your pores disappear, they’re actually a structural part of your skin that can’t be made smaller. What you can do, however, is ‘clean out’ your enlarged pores, making the crater-like holes on your face look significantly reduced. To find out more about how to shrink pores and discover the best pore minimisers, we spoke to Cosmetic Chemist and founder of hop & cotton, Ee Ting Ng. 

What are pores?

“The pore is the opening of a hair follicle, which is embedded in the dermis (inner layer) of the skin,” explains Ng. So, while we’re mainly concerned about the pores on our faces, the reality is we have millions of pores all over our bodies. Think about it like this: For every hair there is on your body, there is a corresponding pore that it sits in.

Where pores appear on the skin

Like we said, pores are anywhere on the body where there’s facial hair. “Areas with the highest density of facial hair are the areas where pores are most apparent. These areas are typically the nose, directly under the chin, between the brows and the inner cheek areas (near the nose),” says Ng. 

What makes pores appear bigger

If you’ve had large pores your whole life, unfortunately your genetics may be to blame. If, however, you’ve only recently noticed your pores becoming bigger and bigger, your skin care routine (or lack thereof) could be the main culprit. Ng explains that while facial hair follicles usually co-exist with sebaceous glands (the glands responsible for our skin’s oil production), hardened oil and skin can get trapped and accumulate, causing clogged pores. When this happens, the pore stretches out like an overfilled pocket, making it appear much larger. Additionally, “as we age, elastin and collagen gradually break down and diminish in levels. This leads to a decrease in skin structure and firmness in our underlying dermal layer, making pores that sit on our skin surface more apparent,” adds Ng.  

How to minimise pores?

While we all want to know how to get rid of the little holes on our skin, what we should be looking for are tips on how to shrink pores, as well as how to tighten them. Ng explains the best way to do just that is to keep “pores clear of any debris by thorough daily cleansing and regular exfoliation using acids such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)”. If you prefer more natural ingredients, opt for products formulated with fruit enzymes. Fruit enzymes work like little Pac-Men, breaking down the dead skin cells that sit on the upper layer of your skin to reveal a smoother and brighter complexion. 

The best products for minimising pores

“Diligent cleansing and exfoliation keep pores clean and appear as small as possible. Daily sun protection is also critical to prevent UV rays from excessively breaking down collagen and elastin,” says Ng. If you’re on the hunt for a pore cleaner, we suggest checking out hop & cotton The Smooth Operator, Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid and Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel.  

hop & cotton The Smooth Operator

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel

If your skin care routine is already stocked full of AHAs, BHAs and fruit enzymes, and you still have enlarged pores, Ng has a quick-fix trick. “In these instances, pore-minimising silicones, usually those with a higher molecular weight that literally ‘fill in your pores’ – commonly found in products such as primers, moisturisers and powders – can be used to instantly reduce their appearance. However, this is a temporary cosmetic effect that does not reduce your actual pore size,” she explains. 

Three of our favourite pore minimisers include Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer, Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimising Primer and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder.

Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimising Primer

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder

The products you should avoid

Ultimately, you should try and avoid any product “that encourages congestion, which are those that are too emollient/rich for your skin. These are typically heavy creams and facial oils,” says Ng. She also advises against applying “highlighter or any light-reflective products in porous areas to avoid bringing attention to them”.

Looking to take your skin care routine up a notch? Then check out the top face masks your skin will love and discover the technique responsible for Meghan Markle’s radiant complexion.

For a makeup fix, this is the primer Kylie Jenner swears by, plus, how to make smaller eyes look bigger.

What’s your favourite pore minimising product? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @kaiagerber