Anti-Aging Skin Care

The Best Ways to Minimize Facial Pores

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: December 11, 2017
best ways to minimize facial pores

Let’s talk about pores

best ways to minimize facial poresDo you ever notice your pores? I’ll bet you do—especially if you use a magnifying mirror which most of us do (What are we, masochists?) as we get older and more farsighted. As you age, you might be so focused on wrinkles and even sun damage repair that you neglect another area of your skin: the size of your pores.

Pore size does indeed increase with age and contributes to the “older skin” look which you are trying to avoid. Groan—yet another thing to deal with! Relax, the “dealing” helps the look of pores, fine lines, and overall skin texture.

It’s not a big deal to deal with. There are techniques and products you can use right at home. You can even check the results in your magnifying mirror. To feel the best about your “real life” results, just look before and after in a regular mirror. If you want to get scientific about it, have someone take a magnified set of snapshots of your skin. I promise you’ll see a visible improvement. You will even see some diminution in pigmentation, too.

There are a number of misconceptions about pores. It’s truly a myth that you can “open” them with steam and “close” them with ice water. While you can’t really change the size of your pores, if they are something you feel self-conscious about, you can take steps to make them look considerably less visible. This article will reveal everything about pores and, specifically, how to minimize them.

What Are Pores?

Pores are small openings on the surface of your skin. They contain oil glands and hair follicles. The skin releases oil through the pores. In a perfect skin-world, the amount of oil the glands produce would be just enough, so that it spreads evenly on your skin, without making your skin look or feel oily.

What Makes Pores Larger?

The size of your pores is determined by the location of the pores as well as your innate genetics. Some people just have larger, more noticeable pores than others. Also, some areas of the skin have larger pores than others because the oil glands leading to the pores are larger. If the issues are genes or the size of the oil gland you can’t do as much to minimize them. (Everyone can benefit so keep reading!) People who naturally have oily skin sometimes have larger pores, since the increased oil production increases the size of the pore.

Some external factors can make your pores larger as well. The breakdown of the skin’s building blocks, elastin and collagen, can enlarge pores. So, natural aging of the skin will make pores appear larger. The loss of collagen and elastin which occurs as we age, accelerated by sun exposure and smoking can indeed enlarge pores. Why? Because, as you age, the loss of collagen means that your skin and pores don’t have the support structure to keep your pores their natural size.

Going to sleep with makeup on or not cleansing skin properly can also make your pores look bigger. Oil builds up and combines with any dirt, makeup or even dead skin cells, clogging the pores and making them bigger. I use a Clarisonic for the times (rare) that I use makeup. If you must use a liquid, the mineral powder based liquids give the best coverage; I use Bare Minerals. As we age, less is more when it comes to make-up.

Stimulating collagen and elastin (learn how by reading about the best anti aging skin care regimen) and keeping your hyaluronic acid content up is “the ticket.” Always remember the age of your skin and your pores is first and foremost dictated by eating foods to help you look younger because health inside shows on the outside.

The best ways to minimize facial pores at home

While you can’t get rid of your pores (you need them), you can do some things to make them less visible. First, you might want to review the products you are using on your skin. Look for noncomedogenic makeup or moisturizing products, as they won’t clog your pores. It’s a good idea to avoid heavy, oily products such as petroleum jelly, at least on your face.


First, you might want to review the products you are using on your skin. Look for noncomedogenic makeup or moisturizing products, as they won’t clog your pores. It’s a good idea to avoid heavy, oily products such as petroleum jelly, at least on your face.

How Exfoliation Seems to Shrink Pores

Exfoliation is the most important step when it comes to minimizing the size of your pores because it removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. There are a number of ways to exfoliate, including at home options and in-office options.

At home make easy changes to your skincare routine by adding products which contain an alpha or beta hydroxy acid. I suggest that, unless you have seriously oily skin, you do not use a topical product which contains both alpha and beta hydroxy acids because you’ll dry out the top layer of your skin. I recommend a beta hydroxy cleanser (a great way to increase the removal of makeup, pollution, and oil) and an alpha hydroxy acid lotion or gel topical product.

A beta hydroxy acid, such as a good salicylic acid cleanser, cleans inside the pores and helps slough off dead skin cells. Salicylic acid is a part of a class of medications called keratolytics. Keratolytics soften the top layer of the skin (epidermis), making it easier to remove dead and shedding skin cells. Salicylic acid also breaks down blackheads, whiteheads and other types of acne. It then prevents pores from clogging up again by constricting pore diameter and creating room for new skin cell growth. Due to its desirable effect on skin cells, several shampoos contain salicylic acid to treat dandruff.

An alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic lotion, helps exfoliate the top layer of skin, making skin look smoother, with tighter appearing pores. Glycolic acid contains small molecules which easily penetrate your skin. Once it penetrates the surface, it then loosens up the glue-ish substance that binds skin cells together allowing the skin to shed the old dead cells. Old skin cells make your skin look dull as well as making your pores look bigger. Once the skin is rid of old cells, it “glows” and looks less “pore-filled” giving you the easiest way to tighten skin.

If you use a glycolic lotion daily, you will notice your pores appear smaller. Also, you will have less acne and most types of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. Hyper-pigmentation will fade, and the overall texture of your skin will improve! There will be a noticeable improvement each week. Depending on how much pigmentation, fine lines, sun damage and acne scarring you have and how large your pores appear to be, most women see a huge difference in about 3 months.

Glycolic also acts as a water-binding agent, helping to plump the skin. Further, using a glycolic lotion nightly as a part of your skincare regimen will help de-age your skin. It will also give you that “glow” we all love. While it is medically impossible to shrink pores, pores do appear larger when your skin is not properly exfoliated. The reason is dead cells build up and clog the pore. When this happens, the pore (follicle) opens up by trying to “breathe” which makes it look larger.

When you use glycolic lotion, it acts as a constant, gentle exfoliant, allowing pores to shrink to their original size. Also, when you remove the top layer of dead skin cells, other products in your skin care regimen are able to penetrate deeper. Other exfoliants I love are our Vitamin C mask and our kelzyme which both tighten your skin as they “de-pore” you.

how to shrink your pores
Stem Cell Peptides

Recently parthenogenetic stem cell peptides, growth factors and cytokines which are a part of every top anti aging skin care regimen of the “stars” have been demonstrated to work wonders on “shrinking pores.”

Additionally, you reap the benefits of fewer lines, wrinkles, better skin texture and firmer skin while you’re at it! These Lifeline Proplus products have the honor of being called the Truth in Aging’s best anti aging products 2016. 

 What can Medical experts do?

A facial plastic surgeon or aesthetic dermatologist can perform skin resurfacing. How deep the exfoliation depends on two things. The first is the treatment itself and the second is what you expect for results. One option is a chemical peel which will exfoliate the top layers of skin. As a result, your pores look less noticeable. A chemical peel can provide a number of other benefits too. This includes minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles and making your skin tone more even. If the increased size of your pores is related to a loss of collagen from aging, treatments such as Fraxel laser skin resurfacing or a noninvasive Ultherapy skin regeneration treatment can help.

The heat and energy during a treatment session with Ultherapy (or Titan) help stimulate the production of collagen beneath the surface of the skin. This, in turn, increases the support structure and can help your pores return to their original size. One of the benefits of microdermabrasion (professionally) is that it is a great instant exfoliation and therefore pore-minimizing, skin-brightening procedure. If you are human growth hormone deficient, you’ll benefit from fewer wrinkles and smaller pores with the addition of this hormone to your regimen.

Final Thoughts

Now, you have an arsenal of the best ways to minimize facial pores. The easiest thing for you to do is to start exfoliating. Further, consider adding some new products to your regimen. If you’re going to spend money in a professional office, opt for a good microdermabrasion first. Lastly, step away from the magnifying mirror!



  1. If you were to recommend one product for me (normal skin, no zits, some fine lines, T zone oily, pores look too big) what would it be? Thanks!

    • The glycolic lotion would be my #1 pick for you German. The Lifeline Proplus day and night ALSO are great picks and would do the same as the glycolic but would do more in the anti-aging dept so if that is as much of a concern as the pores- then those two. I picked the glycolic as the first-try item because it’s great to “shrink” pores and is less expensive than the LLPP. You can always ADD the LLPP products for a double-whammy to pores, texture and lines.Best, Dr.Kim

  2. I personally love your glycolic lotion THE best for this- what a difference when i run out!

  3. Dr.Kim-I’m 62 w/ normal to dry skin-can I use the Moorspa salicylic cleanser and the glycolic lotion for my pores?

    • HI Ida!
      I would suggest that you ease into using both products ‘together’ as follows:
      Use your regular cleanser in the morning (such as the Moorspa foaming or milky cleanser) followed by your regular “products” such as the Lifeline Day serum you’re using, then a very thin thin layer of the glycolic lotion. Let that dry, apply your sunscreen and makeup and you’re good for the day. At night, use a wet facecloth or a clarisonic with the salicylic acid cleanser to do a deep cleaning of your face, then apply all nighttime products with a thicker coat of the glycolic at night. You can put the platinum supreme cream OVER the glycolic lotion at night. (This is what I do also! :-) ) This all does work so let me know how you like these products. Oh, and if you get any “drying” (which you should not using the products this way) the main culprit is the salicylic acid cleanser. Usually people with DRY skin have issues with this but sometimes people don’t assess how dry their skin actually is or how dry the air is where you live. Just keep an eye on your skin. Thanks for following! Dr.Kim

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