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How to Minimize Pores

You can’t change the size of your pores, but you can make them look a lot smaller.


  • Step 1: Wash your face twice daily Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which can minimize the appearance of large pores by unclogging them.
  • TIP: Spread a few squeezes of redness-reducing eye drops onto clean skin. They’ll constrict your pores temporarily, making them look smaller.
  • Step 2: Use an oil-free moisturizer Make sure your daily moisturizer is oil-free—especially if you have greasy skin—because facial oil can make pores look larger. Use one that contains retinol. It boosts collagen, making pores look smaller.
  • TIP: If you have sensitive skin, alternate using a moisturizer with retinol and one without.
  • Step 3: Use sunscreen daily Slather on the sunscreen. Sun damage can make pores look larger—permanently. Use a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection and has a minimum SPF of 30.
  • TIP: Using a moisturizer or foundation that contains sunscreen is an easy way to add UV protection to your daily routine.
  • Step 4: Prime your skin Before applying makeup, prep your face with foundation primer containing silicone, which fills in the pores, creating a smooth surface for your foundation.
  • Step 5: Use matte makeup Use matte foundation. It makes pores look smaller than cream- or oil-based ones, whose shine only highlights pores.
  • Step 6: Exfoliate weekly Exfoliate your face weekly with a facial scrub or loofah. Exfoliating helps keep pores free of the dirt and oil that cause them to look larger.
  • TIP: Look for the word 'gentle' when buying an exfoliant. If you over-exfoliate, your skin will dry out, responding by producing even more oil, and leading to larger-looking pores.
  • Step 7: Consider dermatological treatments Ask a dermatologist if you’re a good candidate for a topical retinoid cream, or for treatments like a chemical peel, laser-skin resurfacing, intense-pulsed-light treatment, or dermabrasion.
  • TIP: Drugstores carry at-home chemical peels and microdermabrasion kits.
  • Step 8: Consider the upside Consider the upside: Prominent pores often result from oily skin, which looks less wrinkled than dry skin as you age.
  • FACT: One dermatologist calls women who obsess over their pores 'porexics.'

You Will Need

  • A facial cleanser containing salicylic acid
  • An oil-free moisturizer with retinol
  • SPF 30 Sunscreen
  • A facial primer containing silicone
  • Matte makeup
  • A gentle exfoliant
  • Redness-reducing eye drops (optional)
  • A dermatologist (optional)
  • An at-home chemical peel (optional)
  • A do-it-yourself dermabrasion kit (optional)

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