Can You Really Shrink Your Pores? What You Need to Know

Large pores can make even the healthiest skin look lackluster, but do products that claim to shrink pores really work?

Ah, the face. It’s our identity—literally. It’s our personality, our introduction to the world, and yet it’s so delicate and so sensitive. Its fragility is part of its allure, of course, but it can also be its downfall, especially for people with sensitive skin or large pores.

Many try to combat large pores with products or procedures claiming to decrease pore size, but it’s not exactly possible, Natarsha Bimson, an aesthetician at the celeb-approved Spa Sophia in Venice, California told Well+Good.

“One of the cute little phrases that goes around the industry is ‘Pores ain’t doors’—they don’t open and close,” she said. “Even when we steam the skin in a facial, it’s not to ‘open’ anything—it’s to soften the pores [and their contents], so they’re easier for us to extract.”

The reality is pore sizes don’t change—at least, not much after you’ve hit puberty. Once your skin starts to mature, the pores you have are the pores you’re stuck. Blame your parents and their parents for this as pore size mostly has to do with genetics. Just like skin tone and its propensity to wrinkle (or not)—if you want to know how your pores are going to age, spend some time staring at your mother or grandmother’s face.

But regardless of genetics—pore size doesn’t mean you can’t work with what you have to help your pores appear less noticeable and to make skin look and feel its best.

The key for healthy pores is clean skin. No brainer, right?

Those with larger pores may do best to exfoliate more often in order to help remove dirt and dead skin cells that can clog pores and make them appear larger. Don’t overdo it—aggravated pores will appear larger, not smaller.

Work with exfoliating organic skin care products like fruit acids instead of scrubs, which can irritate the skin and make pores appear even larger. A good fruit acid-based toner or moisturizing serum used regularly can help to keep pores clean and blemish free.

And be sure to use a good SPF. While a tan will give you that healthful glow, what you don’t want to happen is sunburned skin. That can lead to skin damage and increase wrinkles and the appearance of pore size.

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