Disclosure: The pore-minimizing products below contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click on a link. We hope you like our picks!
Dealing with enlarged pores? You’re not alone. Like it or not, pores are just a part of our complexion — there’s no procedure to zap them out of existence and no beauty product to erase them. However, there *are* products that can help keep them clear and less noticeable. Read on to learn more about pores, top-performing ingredients and the best pore-minimizing products to add to your routine.
Can you actually shrink your pores?
The short answer: no. The size of your pores can tie back to many factors, including genetics, age and skin type. We may not like the look of our pores, but they’re a structural layer of our skin. These small openings allow natural oil to reach the surface of our skin and keep it lubricated. We also sweat through our pores. However, when our pores get clogged with dirt, oil and makeup, it can make them appear larger. So no, you can’t shrink your pores, but you can minimize their appearance with the right skincare routine.
What ingredients should I look for in pore-minimizing products?
You may not be able to erase your pores, but you can keep them clear with a proper skincare regimen. Start with a gentle cleanser every morning and evening, and only use noncomedogenic (non-pore-clogging) products.
The right active ingredients can also make a world of difference. As you build a pore-minimizing routine, look for ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid), beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid), retinol, niacinamide and squalane. (We’ll dive deeper into these ingredients below.)
The Best Pore-Minimizing Products to Try Now
Gently eliminate impurities and dead skin cells with this 4% beta hydroxy acid serum! Beta hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants, working like little brooms to sweep away dirt, oil and debris from our pores. This power liquid also contains sodium hyaluronate, white willow bark and niacinamide to keep skin looking bright and clear.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinol are two of the best ingredients for minimizing the look of pores, so naturally, including them both in your skincare routine can have magical effects on your complexion. This glowy duo keeps pores clear, skin smooth and even helps to brighten the look of pigmentation. (Make sure to apply retinol only in the evenings.)
Ready to give your complexion an extra punch of pore-clearing power? This exfoliating treatment mask contains 10% AHA to keep skin smooth and glowy.
Our favorite pore-minimizing products are the ones that work while we’re getting our beauty sleep. This night cream contains glycolic acid (a super AHA) to clear clogged pores and tackle texture issues.
Keeping your skin hydrated is also a must for minimizing the look of pores. Squalane is a noncomedogenic oil, meaning it won’t sit in your pores. Instead, it keeps them clear and hydrated. Just ensure you’re also using some type of chemical exfoliant (AHAs or BHAs) before you apply.
The right blackhead-fighting routine starts with a solid cleanser! This one contains both AHAs and BHAs to AHAs to sweep away the dead skin cells that sit on our skin and clog our pores. Clearing these dull skin cells also allows our skin to absorb the rest of our products better!
Those with oily skin may hesitate to incorporate an oil into their routine, but this oil is practically magic in a bottle. It absorbs in a flash — without a greasy residue — and works to clear up blackheads and blemishes. This dry oil also contains cucumber to keep skin hydrated.
8. ASOS, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque, $13.30
If you don’t have any acids in your routine, this clay-based mask is a lovely substitute. It’s infused with charcoal and clays to remove dead skin cells and impurities. Use it once or twice a week and keep your skin moisturized — clay can dry out your skin.
Clogged pores can also lead to breakouts and blemishes. Thankfully, mandelic acid takes care of both! Apply a few drops of this brightening toner to a cotton ball and sweep over the face day and night for best results.
While AHAs and BHAs keep pores free from debris, niacinamide helps balance visible aspects of sebum (oil) activity to minimize the look of larger pores. For best results, apply this product before your heavier creams so it will absorb better.
Another culprit of dull-looking skin? The after effects of traveling! Shop our beauty essentials for plane travel, so you can reach your destination with radiant skin.
Allison Wheeler is a writer, Bruce Springsteen enthusiast, and sixth-generation Texan living in Denton, Texas.