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How to Shrink Big Pores


If pore size is a concern, know that a few factors are at play. Genetics ultimately determine your skin type, but excess oils, debris, and aging can all affect the look of pores. “While you can’t completely shrink pores, you can minimize the appearance of your pores,” explains Dr. Howard Sobel, NYC dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin.

The first thing you need to do is remove debris from your pores—shrinking their size will make them appear smaller. Pay attention to formulas that include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), the holy grail of ingredients when it comes to cleaning out your pores. Sobel suggests products with salicylic acid, which works great to gently push out dead skin, bacteria, sebum, and other pore-clogging debris. (Note: It’s best to avoid products with salicylic acid if you’re pregnant. Instead, look for something with glycolic, lactic, or citric acid.)

From cleansers to serums to primers, these are our favorite products for poreless, glowing skin.

Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum

Shrink pores with a powerful blend of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acid. 

Key Ingredients: Lactic Acid (AHA) | Glycolic Acid (AHA) | Salicylic Acid (BHA) | Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) | Allantoin

Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Toner

We love an all-around product. This toner will minimize pores while improving skin texture and encouraging cell renewal. Formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids, which gently remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Key Ingredients: Pitera™ | Alpha-hydroxy acid | Salicylic Acid

Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate

A concentrate with yeast extract and geranium will tighten skin for a lifted appearance. 

Key Ingredients: Micro-filtered yeast extract | Geranium Essential Oil | Salicylic Acid

Exfoliating Mask

Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas created the ultimate facial in a jar. Kaolin clay draws out impurities, while galactoarabinan reduces hyperpigmentation.

Key Ingredients: Galactoarabinan | Vitamin C | Hyaluronic Acid 

Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Keep your makeup in place with this two-in-one pore refining primer that mattifies the skin, and creates a smooth canvas.

Key Ingredients: Oil-Absorbing Spheres | Red Clover Flower Extract | Derivative of Salicylic Acid

Rosé Resurfacing Facial Mask

Pores are no match for the AHA and BHA found in this Insta-worthy jar. 

Key Ingredients: AHA/BHA Rose Complex | Glycolic Acid | Lactic Acid | Salicylic Acid | Resveratrol | Coptis Japonica Extract 

AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Marked Amazon’s Choice, this cleanser spotlights the holy grail of ingredients when it comes to cleaning out your pores.

Key Ingredients: Lactic Acid | Glycolic Acid | Citric Acid | Malic Acid | Jojoba Oil | Salicylic Acid

DRx Blemish Solutions Acne Eliminating Gel

Eliminate breakouts and unclog pores with a powerful combination of salicylic acid, niacinamide, and monk’s pepper. 

Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid | Niacinamide (B3) | Salicylic Acid | Monk’s Pepper

Charcoal Detox Mask

If your skin needs a detox, try this clarifying mask made with charcoal, argan oil, and shea better. 

Key Ingredients: Activated Charcoal Powder | Argan Oil & Shea Butter | Sodium Hyaluronate | Bentonite & Kaolin Clay 

Detox Clay Mask

Two types of clay and activated charcoal will suck all impurities out of your pores, leaving you with super-clean, super smooth skin.

Key Ingredients: Bentonite Clay | Activated Charcoal | French Green Clay

Peach Sake Pore Serum

It’s all about the sake! The boozy rice wine works to enhance circulation, tighten skin, and modulate oil production. Peach, the other standout ingredient, is rich in vitamins A and C, both of which help brighten and minimize the effects of sun damage.

Key Ingredients: Peach Fruit Extract (Organic Acids, Pectin, and Vitamins A & C) | Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake) | Licorice Root Extract | Centella Asiatica Extract

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Paula’s number-one product worldwide is also a cult favorite. If you’re looking for a more even skin tone with added vibrancy, this is your miracle in a bottle. Just make sure you commit to it. A number of people report minimal results at first, but with time you should see a major difference.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (BHA) | Green Tea

Resurfacing Compound

Created by blogger Tina Craig, this day and night treatment gives you smoother, tighter skin after a single application. It also helps to reduce dark spots, making it the perfect multitasker in your routine.

Key Ingredients: Antioxidants | Stabilized Vitamin C | Stabilized Vitamin E | Peptides | Stable Retinol | Hyaluronic Acids | AHAs

Effaclar Pore-Refining Serum with Glycolic Acid

Make like the French girls do and try this cult-favorite serum. The combination of AHAs, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid makes it great for oily skin. It not only helps with pore size, but also corrects signs of aging.

Key Ingredients: Glycolic Acid | Hyaluronic Acid (HA) | Lipo-Hydroxy Acid | La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water

Papaya Bright Face Mask

If you live in a busy city, you probably have pollution in your pores (yuck). This mask is so clean it’s edible, and so effective at detoxing your skin that you’ll be obsessed.

Key Ingredients: Lucuma Fruit Powder | Papaya Fruit Extract | Sea Buckthorn Juice Powder | Marshmallow Root Extract

Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner 4 oz

87 percent of the people who used this product noticed that their pores appeared smaller and more refined after consistent use. For best results, apply morning and night then move onto other serums and moisturizers.

Key Ingredients: DMAE | Copper Complex | Salicylic Acid

Glossier Solution

When it comes to clearing out our pores and making them look nearly invisible, a chemical exfoliator is a must. This one is our favorite for the intensive trifecta of salicylicglycolic, and lactic acids that works overtime to detox and tighten pores, while staying gentle enough to not cause any irritation or redness.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (BHA) | Glycolic Acid Brightening (AHA) | Lactic Acid (AHA) | Gluconolactone (PHA) | Anti-Stress Aloe

Retexturing Activator

And for the people in the back: Exfoliation is key. SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator is gentle enough that it won’t mess with your skin’s barrier but instead the 20% glycolic acid treatment will reveal smoother, healthier skin. 

Key Ingredients: Hydroxyethyl Urea & Aminosulfonic Acid Compound | Kombucha | Hyaluronic acid

Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips

The perfect product to clear the congestion. These strips target clogged pores and draw out oil for the deepest of deep cleans.

Key Ingredients: Natural Charcoal

ExfoliKate Cleanser

Marked Amazon’s Choice, clear away debris and exfoliate with this gentle face wash you can use day and night. 

Key Ingredients: Glycolic Acid | Lactic Acid | Papaya, Pineapple & Pumpkin Enzymes

Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

It’s a favorite of Chrissy Teigan—and been a best-seller for 20 years—for a reason. The super-effective two step acid peel is inspired by the treatment you’d get in a dermatologist’s office. The pre-dosed pads have a potent mix of AHA and BHA to instantly gives you a smooth, best-skin-day-ever glow.

Key Ingredients: Glycolic Acid | Witch Hazel | Salicylic Acid | Lactic Acid | Malic Acid | Citric Acid | Ascorbic Acid

Pore Treatment Strips

Is there anything more satisfying than peeling off a pore strip and seeing… well, you know. These active strips not only refine pores, but also help control oil production for smoother, more matte skin.

Key Ingredients: Hydrocolloid Polymer Technology | DMAE | Vitamin A

Pore Perfecting Powder Foundation SPF 15

This silky powder foundation leaves skin smooth and matte while instantly evening out imperfections.

Key Ingredients: Aloe | Vitamin C and E

DermaPore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser

The ultimate ultrasonic device that unclogs pores and ensures your skin is absorbing your favorite skin care products, for smaller pores and clearer skin.ultrasonic device that unclogs pores and infuses your favorite skin care products, for smaller pores and clearer skin.

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