Enlarged Pores: Myths, Facts & What You Can Really Do About Them

Enlarged Pores: Myths, Facts & What You Can Really Do About Them

By now, I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard that you should steam your pores to open them and splash with cold water to close or tighten them. For some reason, this is one of those beauty myths that just won’t die, no matter how many experts debunk it.

Can you have big pores? Yes. Can they get bigger or smaller over time? Sometimes. Can they open and close on their own? No. Not ever.

Having pores is natural, normal and an important part of being a human. However, when you feel like your face has the texture of an orange peel, I know from experience that you’ll basically be up for trying anything that might help.

Having enlarged and noticeable pores is something that I’ve dealt with constantly since I was about 13, so trust me when I say that I’ve tried it all (for better or worse!). Today I’m going to talk about why you might have enlarged pores and what you can do to minimize their appearance!

Can you have big pores? Yes. Can they get bigger or smaller over time? Sometimes. Can they open and close on their own? No. Not ever.


5 Reasons Why You Might Have Enlarged Pores

Unfortunately, there’s no single reason we can point to as to why some of us have moon crater pores and others don’t. Usually, there’s a combination of factors at work, but here are the most likely culprits.

1. Genetics

Ah yes, thanks mom and dad. Your genes can influence your skin texture, and there’s not a thing you can do to change that. (I was really unlucky here because I got it from BOTH sides of the family!)

2. Loss of collagen

Collagen production starts to slowly decline after 25 (yikes), and this can contribute to your pores looking larger than you remember them being before. Essentially, the collagen structure around your pore can loosen, and this causes it to stretch out.

stress breakouts

3. Congestion

When your pores are clogged, they immediately look way bigger. Taking steps to reduce breakouts and congestion can help you keep your pores looking as small as possible.

4. Skin damage

Sun damage, picking at zits, and popping pimples can all lead to noticeable, stretched out pores that are more prone to clogging. I know it’s hard, but the more you can resist trying to perform at-home extractions, the less likely you are to have problematic pores later on. (I’m hugely guilty of this one!)

5. Dehydration

Skin that doesn’t have enough moisture tends to look thin, dull, and textured. When you keep your skin hydrated and healthy, it plumps up and automatically makes your pores less visible.

When you keep your skin hydrated and healthy, it plumps up and automatically makes your pores less visible.


How to Minimize the Look of Enlarged Pores

For most of us with huge pores, unless we get professional lasering, we’re going to be dealing with texture basically forever. Professional cosmetic procedures are the only safe and sure way to truly reduce the size of your pores, despite what MLMs and at-home facial fiends might try to tell you.

The good news is that there are a few things that we can do at home to smooth out some of that texture and make our pores less noticeable.

1. Keep ’em clean!

Hopefully you’re already washing your face (please wash your face). Just regular face wash isn’t always enough to really get down into your pores, though. I highly recommend switching to double cleansing!

Massaging an oil-based cleanser into your skin can help to break up excess skin oils (which notoriously cause clogs), and it can also ensure that you’re getting all traces of skin care, makeup, sunscreen, and general grime out of your pores. Following up with your regular face wash will remove anything that the oil cleanser might have missed.

2. Exfoliate (gently)

Physical exfoliation gets a lot of side-eye in the beauty world, but it’s actually totally fine as long as you do it gently and carefully! Getting rid of dead skin cell buildup helps to refine your skin texture and prevent clogging.

Chemical exfoliation is one of the most helpful solutions I’ve found for making my pores look smaller! I use a mild AHA almost every day (usually First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads or The Ordinary 7% Glycolic Toner), and a low percentage of retinol as well.

enlarged pores

Retinol is especially helpful. Not only does it build up collagen production but it also helps to basically “resurface” your skin with long-term use, and this effectively makes your pores appear to shrink. It’s great for acne as well, and less acne means fewer chances for your pores to become enlarged.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, and then hydrate some more

I’m not kidding! The more moisture you can add to your skin, the smaller your pores will look. Dewy, plumped-up skin that’s full of moisture helps you look younger and more radiant, and it also diminishes the appearance of your pores considerably.

For me, several layers of watery toners combined with nightly sheet masks has become the go-to combo for juicy skin. While my pores definitely still get congested and sadly are still more noticeable than I’d like, the boost in hydration helps make my skin look much smoother.


Bonus Tip: Prevention!

Like I said before, things like sun damage and popping pimples can cause long-term issues with your pores. While you can’t change your genetics or your past, you can start preventing future damage right now!

First, make sure that you’re wearing sunscreen every day, no matter what the weather is. This will help stave off fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation, too.

Second, try your best to keep your hands away from your face. If you have pimples, use warm compresses to bring them to a head and then apply a hydrocolloid patch (like the CosRx Pimple Master patches) to safely drain them. If you struggle with congested pores, instead of squeezing out blackheads with a magnifying mirror and your fingers, I strongly recommend trying the Fiddy Snails pore-clearing method. It’s easy, effective and damage-free!


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What Do You Think?

I’ve made peace with the fact that my pores are always going to be noticeable. Rather than stressing about how I’ll never be the Snapchat filter version of myself, I’m focusing my energy on keeping my skin as healthy, hydrated, and happy as I can. It makes my pores look smaller, AND it gives me a chance to distract everyone with my blinding, radiant glow. Win-win!

How do you shrink the look of your pores? Tell me your secrets!



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