Here's The Truth About Pore Size Reduction

by Annie Crawford

You finally survived acne and now you have new worries on your mind. Like, what the hell to do with those wrinkles, are you using the right moisturizer, and can pore size be reduced? It's a lot for one woman to handle on a daily basis.

I can understand the concern. I've always had large pores. Turns out it's a matter of genetics and skin type. People with oily skin (like me!) are more prone to large pores. The Dermatology Review explains that the body produces oil called sebum which protects skin from drying out. But when the oil glands are super overachievers like mine are, the excess oil traps dead skin and dirt which creates clogged pores — causing them to widen permanently over time.

On the other hand, people with sensitive, dry skin can also get larger pores if their skin is consistently irritated. For everybody, exposure to sun, wind, and harsh elements exacerbate pore enlargement — so if large pores scare you, reconsider your sailor's life.

Other factors that impact your pore size are age and genetics. The Dermatology Review also shares that as we age, our skin loses collagen (that good stuff that provides elasticity) and begins to sag. When skin sags, so too the pores. Genetically speaking, if your parents had oily skin or large pores, you might too.

Not that any of this is bad! I'm certainly not opposed to anyone finding beauty in their skin exactly as it is. However, I find it frustrating that due to larger pore size and oily skin, I have been rocking a fair amount of adult acne since my 20s. This is extra annoying because my adult acne kicked into gear with my right to vote, providing a seamless transition from the adolescent acne I enjoyed throughout my teens. You might see why I'm curious if there are solutions.

So, can you shrink pores? The answer is a resounding yes and no. Read on to discover what and how.

1. Prevention Is Key

This old mantra pops up all the time, doesn't it? Here's the scoop, once pores are enlarged, it's hard to shrink them again. But even if you have oily skin you can prevent further stretching by using a few simple preventative practices.

  • Wash your face regularly (Also, Real Simple suggests washing face before and after a workout. If you go into your workout with makeup on, the sweat opens the pores, causing makeup and dirt to get trapped and stretch pores. A quick wash prior helps prevent that. Good intel!)
  • Sunscreen all the time (protect your skin against premature aging and collagen loss)
  • Wear a hat or carry a sunbrella (see above)

2. Take At-Home Action

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub, $27, Amazon

Exfoliate regularly. Avoid using exfoliants with products like apricot and walnut! Although minuscule, these granules have jagged edges that catch, tear, and—you guessed it—enlarge pores. Instead, look for products containing fruit enzymes, alpha hydroxy acids, or retinol to peel away dead skin cells. A scrubber, such as the Clarisonic, is also a good tool in this arsenal. However, it isn't a permanent solution. The increased turnover of skin means that pores appear smaller, but as Dr. Debra Jaliman for the Huffington Post reported, it doesn't actually shrink them. You have to keep up the maintenance to have the results you want.

3. Take Dermatological Action

ZO SKIN HEALTH Ommerse Renewal Crème, $102, Amazon

If enlarged pores are making ya crazy, talk to your dermatologist. There's a chance you should be using Retin-A Micro which has the added bonus of fighting wrinkles. It can irritate skin though and you should always wear sunscreen when you're using the product as your skin is more sensitive to UV rays — and wouldn't that just be defeating the whole purpose if your solution to large pores opened the door to large pores from another source? Dermatologists can also perform microdermabrasion or chemical peels that act as a power exfoliant on the top layer of your skin.

4. Take Lasting Action

Is a daily reprieve not good enough? If you want large pores shrunk permanently, regardless of your exfoliation routine, The American Academy of Dermatology has evidence that treatments with a nonablative laser can permanently reduce pore size with no none long-term side effects. The kicker? Treatments are pricey and you'll need multiple.

The good news, is you have options when it comes to addressing your pore size. Whatever you do, do it with love.

Image: Fotolia; Gratisopgraphy/Pexels