8 Ways To Shrink Your Pores Fast

Photo: WAYHOME studio / shutterstock
How To Shrink Your Pores Fast For Better Skin

When looking in a magnifying mirror, it sometimes seems like our pores appear larger. But is that possible?

Pores are part of our skin, yes, but can they really grow or shrink? And if they are, is that even a thing we need to care about? What do pores even do, anyway?

Pores are an important part of our skin's health because they help let our skin to breathe and absorb products. If they can't breathe and get clogged, that's how we get breakouts or acne. Yeah, it's not a good thing.

But pores don't exactly "open" and "close"; rather, like all living tissue, they expand and contract.

RELATED: How To Get Rid Of Blackheads? 30 Best Pore Strips For Clear, Smooth-As-A-Baby Skin

“Typically, warm moisture (like hot, humid weather, or a steam room or hot shower) causes them to expand, and cold/dry (overly air conditioned indoor spaces, cold winter air) causes them to contract,” says Rachael Pontillo, M.Msc, CIHC, CNAP, LE.

For this reason, it's natural for pores (for those who have visible pores due to genetic reasons) to appear larger in tropical climates, and during the warm months of the year.

Adds Pontillo, “Using topical skincare products containing ingredients with naturally cooling properties — such as cucumber and aloe vera gel — can help reduce the appearance of large pores.”

Here's how to shrink your pores, as well as products you can use to help decrease their size.

1. Exfoliate your skin regularly.

Exfoliating is an important part of any salon or spa facial for a reason. It helps get rid of dead skin cells and leaves younger, fresher, healthier skin below. That includes pores!

Luckily, the same can be done at home.

“More complex treatments are always best left to the professionals, but there are things you can do at home that will make a noticeable difference in the appearance of pores. The first is exfoliating,” explains Rachel Liverman, esthetician and co-founder of Glowbar.

Acids such as glycolic acid or lactic acid are great to reduce the appearance of pores as they dissolve dead skin cells. But it' also very important to not over-exfoliate. Liverman recommends exfoliating only once or twice a week to protect your skin barrier.

Try this: Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel

The ultimate powerhouse for brightened, perfected and even looking skin, this peel is made with Alguronic Acid, Vitamin C from Blue-Green microalgae, antioxidant Phycocyanin, and AHA, BHA & PHA. It also visibly reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

(Sephora, $85)

RELATED: This Simple Skin Quiz Will Help You Find The Perfect Skincare Routine (Especially For Brides-To-Be)

2. Add vitamin A to your diet.

Vitamins are an important part of our diet. The same can be said for our skin's diet. Try to add Vitamin A into your routine, whether that's through a moisturizer or retinol cream.

Says Liverman, “It's always a winner for any and all skin concerns, as it helps clear clogged pores and promotes cell turnover consistently throughout the day.” What better reason do you need?

Try this: Peace Out Pore Treatment Strips

These 2-in-1 detoxifying strips are amazing for everything — lifting away dirt and dead skin cells, and unclogging pores. It has ingredients like DMAE and skin-refining Vitamin A, both of which prevent blackheads and enlarged pores from forming.

(Sephora, $19)

3. Use Retinol.

Retinol is science's best gift to aging skin, and as much as it help fine lines and wrinkles, it can help shrink your pores.

“The best results come from using Retinol as well as AHAs and BHAs at home,” advises Karen Fernandez, the Head of Aesthetics at SkinSpirit. “AHAs and BHAs are acids that exfoliate the skin, and Retinol stimulates collagen production and skin turnover. Combined, these help shrink pore size as well as smooth fine lines and wrinkles.”

Try this: Intensive AlphaRet Overnight Cream

For the ultimate home care routine of Retinol and AHA/BHAs, Fernandez recommends SkinBetter’s Detoxifying Scrub Mask, followed by Exfoliating Peel Pads and topped off with AlphaRet Overnight cream, saying, “AlphaRet is a new standard that combines AHA and a retinoid with little-to-no irritation. The combo is a game changer!”

(SkinBetter, $125)

4. Get out into nature.

Certain plants have natural astringent properties. This, too, can help to minimize pores when done regularly. 

“Astringent substances cause tissue to gently tighten and contract, which can cause the pores to temporarily contract and, therefore, appear smaller. So, choosing skincare products containing them is a great way to help pores appear smaller,” Pontillo advises.

Cucumber, rose, aloe vera, witch hazel, green tea, and yarrow are examples of plants with naturally occurring astringent properties, commonly found in topical skincare products. 

RELATED: 20 Best Toners For Acne That Clear Up Your Skin Fast

5. Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated keeps us healthier from the inside out. Although you can’t physically shrink your pores, they will appear smaller when your skin is hydrated.

“Drinking plenty of water and applying hydrating skin care products will plump your skin, making pores look smaller,” recommends aesthetician and dermatological nurse, Natalie Aguilar of N4Skincare. “When you're dehydrated, your pores look enlarge because they start to secrete sebum (our skin’s protective oil).”

It's extremely important to keep pores hydrated and lubricated with a proper balance of water and oil so they can expand and contract as needed to help them stay clear.

“One of the skin's main functions is detoxification, and if the pores are dehydrated or there is a lack of oil (either due to naturally dry skin, or because there are not enough lipids in the skincare regimen), accumulated dead skin cells and debris can get 'stuck' in the pores and oxidize, which causes the pores to distend and appear larger,” Pontillo adds.

Using skincare products that contain both hydrating ingredients (such as rose water, glycerine, honey, and aloe) and emollient ingredients (such as jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, shea butter) will keep the follicles supple and lubricated, so they can stay clear of debris.

Try this: Vita Liberata Blur Luminosity in Gold

This body highlighter adds a romantic shimmer that makes skin have a healthy glow. It's infused with organic aloe and shea butter, which feel silky-smooth as it glides on, but will nourish and protect your skin.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

RELATED: A Step By Step Guide For A DIY At-Home Facial (+ 3 Masks You Can Make With Pantry Items)

6. Try a face mask.

This time, we’re not talking about that kind of face mask. So, use an absorbing clay mask once a week to also help keep pores clear.

Advises Pontillo, “Clays such as bentonite clay, French green clay, or rhassoul clay have strong absorbing properties, as well as firming and tightening properties. A weekly clay mask can help absorb accumulated debris from the pores, and also gently tighten the skin, which will help the pores appear smaller.”

Try this: Bliss Pore Patrol Mask

This mask is a mix of powerful clays that both cleanse skin and minimize the look of pores. French green and Kaolin micro-clays combine with willow bark to detoxify and declog pores, while Bentonite clay keeps oil in check.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

7. Wear less makeup.

With makeup, less is more. And though we've been quarantined and working from home for a few months now, wearing makeup on a daily basis just isn't good for your skin.

According to makeup artist and founder of Adelyn's Canvas, Jaclyn Accetta, “Large pores usually mean more oil production. It’s best to combat the underlying oil production and not try to hide under copious amounts of makeup."

It’s important not to aggravate the underlying oil production when trying to minimize those pores.

Try this: Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer

"For daytime, apply a pore minimizing primer (after your moisturizer has set and before you apply your makeup, because makeup is applied over the primer). My favorite is Smashbox Photo Finish Primer since it’s oil-free and mattifying for up to 8 hours. This does a great job of reducing the appearance of pores by filling them in while being non-comedogenic,” Accetta says.

(Sephora, $39)

8. Keep your hands to yourself!

Finally, don't touch your face! Your hands have bacteria on them that can transfer to your face when you touch it, and make its way to your pores.

Advises Liverman, “Picking at clogged pores will only do more harm than good, irritating your skin further and can even result in scarring!”

Besides, we’re not supposed to be touching our face anyway right now. So, there's an added reason!

RELATED: The 23 Best Pore Masks For Flawless, Smooth Skin

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.