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Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC Blog

How to Minimize Pores: Causes and Treatments

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 18, 2018 12:00:00 PM / by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Do you want a smooth, flawless complexion? Are large pores ruining your chances of achieving that goal?

Pores are the small openings at the top of our hair follicles that cover the entire body. Our pores release sebum, our body’s natural oil, to naturally moisturize our skin to help keep it supple. Although large pores can be frustrating, pores are necessary for maintaining healthy skin.

Usually, genetics determine larger pores. But, oily skin, sun damage and aging can be other factors that make your pores look bigger.

While you can’t change the size of your pores, you can minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. Read on to learn the proper steps to take to minimize pores.



 Minimize Pores



Your genes are the greatest determining factor in your pore size. People with large pores often have family members with large pores.



As you grow older, your skin loses it elasticity, which causes your skin to stretch and sag, making pores appear larger. Your skin also thickens as you age, which causes miniscule skin cells to gather around your pores, making pores look bigger.



Years of sun exposure can make pores appear larger. Sun damage can thicken the skin, which leads to bigger pores. Prolonged sun exposure can also remove collagen, elastin and water from your skin, which causes the tissue beneath your skin to shrink and pull at the edges of your pores, making them sag and look bigger.



Blackheads are the result from pores clogged with sebum. Blackheads can lead to large pores. This trapped oil oxidizes and causes black spots on your skin’s surface, typically on the nose, and can make your pores look larger by drawing attention to them. Also, they can actually increase pore size by expanding the area of your pores.



An excess amount of oil and dead skin cells gathering in your pores can cause pores to appear larger than usual. Exfoliation and good hygiene that removes oil and dead skin from your face will keep your pores from appearing larger than they really are. By preventing clogged pores, you also will prevent blackheads.





Regularly cleaning your face is the best way to remove dirt, oil and other unwanted debris. Throughout the day, bacteria, pollutants, dirt and old dead skin cells pile up on your face, which could lead to clogged pores. Washing your face at least twice a day removes these impurities to give the skin a fresh look.

The best cleansers for enlarged pores are oil-free and gentle. Cleanse your face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night for best results in reducing pore size.

The Dermatology Center for Skin Health recommends these cleansers for enlarged pores:

  • Starting Up Face
  • Ultra Gentle Skin Cleanser
  • Benzaderm Wash (for acne prone skin)



Finding the right products for you that help prevent excessive sebum production can be hard. Clay masks are a great way to absorb oil and restore a natural looking glow.

Clay draws out water and oil from your pores, which temporarily gives your skin a nice, tightened sensation and refined texture. This results in smaller looking pores.

Clay masks are usually a combination of different clays such as bentonite or kaolin. Often times, sulfur is added to help fight acne.

Keep in mind that overusing clay masks may over dry and irritate your skin if you use them too frequently.



Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the upper skin layer. Exfoliation brightens skin as well as leaves you with a smoother texture.

If you are routinely removing the dead skin cells that clog your pores, your pores won’t stretch out and look larger.

There are two types of exfoliants:

  1. Physical Exfoliators: This is a cleanser that has tiny scrubbing particles that you can feel with your hands. Usually labeled as face scrubs, these granule-filled formulas help to buff and slough all the dead skin cells off of the surface of your face. Some common physical exfoliation ingredients include: salt, sugar, nuts and baking soda. However, facial scrubs may be too harsh for your skin if you have acne or sensitive skin. We recommendSurface Improvement.
  2. Chemical Exfoliators: Chemical exfoliants have two subcategories, AHAs and BHAs:
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids are mostly derived from natural ingredients, glycolic acid from sugar cane, lactic acid from milk, malic acid from apples, citric acid from citrus and tartaric acid from grapes. These acids are water soluble and capable of enhancing our skin’s natural moisture levels, decreasing the look of wrinkles and fine lines, smoothing rough skin texture and improving dull, uneven skin tone. We recommend: Line Subtractor and/or Glycolic Cream
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids usually refer to salicylic acid. BHAs are similar to AHAs but work more deeply within our skin, inside the lining of our pores. They are also oil soluble, meaning they are ideal for oily skin. They are also a great ingredient for calming red skin, even those who have rosacea. We recommendGlycolic/Salicylic Acid Pads.

You do not want to over exfoliate your skin though. This can strip the skin’s protective barrier and result in dehydrated and inflamed skin. Signs you may be over exfoliating include:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Excessive dryness/dry patches
  • Flaking skin
  • Uncomfortable stinging
  • Burning sensation

If this occurs, decrease the frequency, strength or type of exfoliation.

You can apply physical and chemical exfoliators with your fingers in a circular, massage-like motion. If you are looking for a deeper exfoliation, you may want to invest in a power brush like the Clarisonic Pro or Mia 2. We suggest not using chemical exfoliants with power brushes as the combination may be too harsh for the skin.



Moisturizing your skin everyday can reduce the chance of developing dry or oily skin — both which can cause acne. The massaging effect when applying moisturizer helps stimulate blood circulation and new cell generation.

The best moisturizers for enlarged pores should contain complementary ingredients to the cleanser you are using. It should also be oil free. Look for the word noncomedogenicProducts that contain retinol and vitamin C will help the skin increase collagen and elastin, which will keep skin looking toned and firm. Moisturize your skin twice a day, once in the morning and once at night for optimal results.

Moisturizers that complement the cleansers we recommended include:

  • Stop the Clock
  • Cream No Sugar
  • Lasting Results
  • Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  • Ultra Lite Cream



Retinol is a type of vitamin A. Products with retinol can make pores appear smaller by increasing cell turnover unclogging pores. Retinol can help smooth skin with continued use.

Retinol products we recommend include: Retinol Smoothing Serum and Retinol Smoothing Body Lotion.



Sunscreen is a must. Constant sun exposure will result in pores that will begin to stretch and sag around the edges, which makes them look bigger.

When you wear sunscreen, you’re blocking harmful sun rays from reaching the skin. In turn, your skin remains tight. Wearing sunscreen every day can also make your skin smoother.

For everyday sunscreen use, we recommend:

  • Up the Anti
  • Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+
  • UltiMATTE Perfection SPF 50+
  • Antioxidant Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 50+
  • Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 40
  • Elite Sunscreen SPF 30
  • or any of the EltaMD Sunscreen formulas

Read our in-depth blog about the differences between sunscreen and sunblock here.



It is also important to drink plenty of water, eat right, exercise regularly and clean your makeup brushes to have consistently healthy skin.

Read our blog where we discuss in detail eight tips for healthy skin.

Laser Treatments, Chemical Peels, Microneedling | Dermatology Center for Skin Health

By heating up collagen to promote collagen regeneration, enlarged pores and shallow acne scars can improve. We offer laser treatments in our office that can help minimize large pores.

A chemical peel can remove the outer, damaged layer of the skin with an acidic solution to improve your skin’s appearance and texture. We offer a variety of chemical peels in our office to reduce the size of pores.

Microneedling is also a great way to reduce the size of pores. Eclipse MicroPen® creates a fresher appearance and glow to the skin. It’s the most advanced medical-grade automated micro-needling device on the market. Tiny needles create controlled micro-injuries to the skin to aid in the production of collagen and elastin. The skin’s repair process results in a thicker epidermis with a softer appearance of wrinkles. Eclipse MicroPen® also creates micro-channels, which allow the skin to absorb topical gels, creams and serums more effectively, enhancing the deeper layers of the skin. 

To learn more about laser treatments, chemical peels and microneedling, download our Guide to Cosmetic Procedures:


If you’re ready to make an appointment, call our office today: 304-588-3888

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Written by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Our priority is to deliver complete, compassionate care to our patients while educating and assisting them as they make care decisions regarding the health and beauty of their skin.