How to reduce the appearance of pores

Did you know that pores are essential for our survival? Pores are necessary to regulate body temperature, excrete sweat, secrete skin-protecting oil and absorb nutrients. While they serve important functions, they also cause distress about the appearance of our skin. 

It may surprise you to learn that what you think of as pores are actually follicles, which are attached to oil glands that release sebum and may have hair. Our only true pores are sweat glands, which only excrete sweat. Both, however, present as tiny openings on the surface of your skin and are often used interchangeably. For now, we’ll stick with just calling them pores. 

As mentioned from the beginning, pores are necessary for survival, so it’s impossible to fully get rid of them. In fact, it’s impossible to truly shrink them, only mask their appearance. Products that promise to reduce pore size are really just talking about reducing the appearance of pores, not permanently shrinking them. 

Pore size is largely genetic, so they may just be part of your DNA. Oil can make pores appear larger, so it’s common for pores to be more enlarged in certain areas, like your nose, where there is more oil production. As we age, our skin stretches and loses elasticity, expanding both the pore itself and the visible oil. Sun exposure can further exacerbate loss of elasticity and collagen. When pores are clogged, they can appear larger and overtime, build up of congestion can actually stretch pores even more. 

There are a few ways to minimize the appearance of your pores and to prevent them from getting larger. 

  • Thorough cleansing and balanced exfoliation will remove excess oil and prevent clogged pores. Try using an oil cleanser as your first cleanse at night to break down oil. 
  • Diligent sunscreen use and topical retinoids can preserve collagen and elastin, as well as stimulate the production of more, which will prevent pores from stretching. 
  • If you’re still struggling, an occasional clay mask can further help clarify and absorb excess oil, but make sure to not over-dry your skin. If you only want to target the pores on your nose, only apply it to that area!