Look for a product made with retinol or alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid. Prescription topical retinoids are also used to treat large pores. Pore strips may also do the trick. They help remove the uppermost portion of the blackhead, leaving the pore opening clear.
It tightens pores
Those who have oily skin and large pores can benefit from apple cider vinegar. The substance contains alpha-hydroxy acids (organic acids that improve cell turnover and reduce the appearance of wrinkles), which can shrink and tighten pores.
Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, added that retinol reduces the tendency of cells and keratin debris to clump together and clog up pores, making it especially helpful for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
Our number one pick is Paula's Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2 Percent BHA, a fan-favorite toner containing exfoliating BHA, replenishing peptides, and soothing allantoin. For folks on a budget, we recommend InstaNatural's 7 percent Glycolic AHA Toner (view at Amazon).
"Salicylic acid is oil soluble, meaning it's able to get inside pores to gently push out dead skin, bacteria, sebum, and any other pore-clogging debris." By removing that debris from your pores, your pores will appear smaller.
Witch hazel acts as an astringent to help shrink your pores, soothe your skin and reduce inflammation.
Glycolic acid is an effective exfoliant, meaning it can remove dead skin cells. It's well suited to reducing hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. If you have acne-prone skin, salicylic acid is usually a better option. It can get rid of excess sebum and prevent or treat acne.
A good Vitamin C serum can help fade discolorations, even out skin tone, shrink pores, and make dull skin more bouncy and radiant.
Hyaluronic acid serum tightens skin and minimizes pores so they shrink and become invisible over time. Smaller pores mean fewer clogs and breakouts.
Prescription-strength acne medications such as retinoids (Retin-A, Differin or Tazorac) can help to unclog pores, which makes them look smaller.
Retinol promotes skin cell turnover and unclogs pores.
Studies show that applying retinol cream reduces pore size and keeps them cleaner, emptying the impurities that otherwise give an oversized appearance. Retinol is most effective when used as night cream.
Additionally, for those looking for a more intense treatment, an over-the-counter glycolic acid peel or mask is a great way to speed up the exfoliation process and shrink the appearance of pores over time. Glycolic acid is also killer at reducing pore size, thanks to its ability to boost collagen production.
Glycolic acid is the ultimate at unclogging pores, thanks to its unmatched exfoliating capabilities. When topically applied, glycolic acid is able to quickly permeate the skin cell and dissolve the bonds holding dead cells, excess sebum, and dirt together.
Acne clogs your pores, which can make your pores more noticeable. Using a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. Studies show salicylic acid can unclog pores. Some cleansers containing salicylic acid are gentle enough to use every day.
Collagen-building procedures from your dermatologist can also help shrink your pores. "Thermage and fractional lasers work wonders to minimize pores," says Marmur, who suggests getting an in-office treatment at least once a year along with regular facials.
Products that increase collagen production — like vitamin C and retinoids — are a good choice. 2. Products that cause swelling within the skin deliver temporary improvement for large pores. This is how most “pore minimizing” products work, and many of these rely on vitamin C or glycolic acid to achieve their goal.
Remember that vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it can build up in your skin layer as well as in your body. To keep from clogging your pores or throwing off your skin's natural oil balance, don't use vitamin E treatments more than once or twice a week.
Retinoid or Retinol and Salicylic Acid
But on its own, each can dry out the skin, so together they should be combined with caution. The risk is overdrying, which can lead to irritation and make the situation worse.
Is it okay to use salicylic acid every day? While it is okay to use salicylic acid every day, it could cause irritation. Many dermatologists, therefore, recommend using the acid in moderation, beginning by applying it three times a week and working up from there.
“AHAs and BHAs can certainly be combined. For example, for oily skin, a salicylic-based cleanser can be used followed by a glycolic acid toner. Generally, a glycolic acid is great for dry, dehydrated or combination skin, whereas salicylic acid would be perfect for oily/spot-prone/acne skin.