No matter how clear or tiny your pores are, they can always be smaller, right? Well, do not worry, that is the thinking of many people. The reality is that we all want smaller pores. Why? Because of the smaller the pores, the clearer your face looks.

Now, when it comes to ways to shrink large pores, there are many that work, and even many that do not work. For example, harsh treatments and serums can sometimes be counterintuitive, as they can clog your pores. Even worse, some harsh treatments can cause acne breakouts.

So, with that in mind, and with a slew of blackhead products on the market that claim they can do everything, we want to give you a dermatologist’s opinion. Dr. Derba Jaliman is the author of the book Skin Rules, a concise and practical instruction manual from a renowned Fifth Avenue dermatologist. The book itself deals with topics like how to attain beautiful skin, sculpted body, and how to appear younger than you are.

Before we get to her take, let’s explain what pores are, and what is causing large pores.

What are pores?

Love them or hate them, pores are an essential part of your body. You cannot get away without them. Pores are actually small openings that allow sweat to travel to the surface of the skin from the dermis. They protect you from overheating. Pores also allow the skin to produce natural oils, sebum and keep your skin moisturized.

The pore size is genetic. It is based on how your glands are made, and you cannot change much about the structure of your pores.

What causes large pores?

While the size of your pores cannot be changed, the appearance can be. With that in mind, while genetics determines what size are your pores, lifestyle and environmental factors can determine whether they appear large or not.

Damage, acne, and hormonal imbalance can make the pores appear larger, bigger, and worse on your skin. Some factors that contribute to large pore size are:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Acne breakouts
  • Clogging of pores due to excess oils, dirt, dead skin cells
  • Environmental factors like pollution
  • Sun damage

How to shrink pores?

Now that we know what pores are, and what causes them to grow in appearance, let’s talk about what dermatologists recommend for shrinking them. According to Debra Jaliman, there are products that work, and products that do not work when it comes to pore shrinking.

She recommends products that contain retinol, which is a derivative of vitamin A. Retinol is a well-known acne fighter, and can also make pores appear smaller. How do retinol works? All prescription strength retinoids work by increasing cell turnover. This way, they unclog pores and make them appear smaller.

Now, bear in mind, the important takeaway is that the pores appear smaller. There is not anything you can do to physically reduce the pores. If you are on acne treatment, you can use prescription Accutane. This is a prescription medication for severe acne. And it will shrink pores physically during the time you are on the medication.

How? Well, prescription Accutane shrinks the oil gland and dries the skin out. But when you stop using it, the pores will go back to their original size.

If you want something permanent, there are ways for that as well. Non-ablative laser treatment can shrink pores, and increase collagen production in the process.

Now, let’s be realistic in terms of what are you doing to shrink pores. And what are we doing in order to increase their appearance? As mentioned before, sun damage can cause pores to appear larger because sun rays damage the collagen and elastic tissue. This issue is the structural support for your skin, and without the support, your pores will expand.

We also have habits of popping pimples here and there. And popping a pimple can damage the pore and enlarge it. If you absolutely have to pop a pimple, make sure to use a sterile needle after steaming, clean with alcohol before, and use a comedone extractor with even pressure. And afterward, apply a topical antibiotic.

Natural remedies for pore shrinking

Retinol products are recommended by dermatologists for reducing pores in appearance. But if you do not have a severe problem, you can probably get away with some natural remedies as well. You can try natural remedies first, and if they do not work, opt for some prescription and medical treatments.

Here are some natural remedies that work.

  • Rice as a gentle physical exfoliator on a daily basis
  • Papaya, lemon juice, and honey mask for deep cleansing
  • Honey on its own is a great remedy for cleansing your skin
  • Apple cider vinegar works as a moisturizer and balances the pH value of your skin
  • Vitamin C, an antioxidants that can protect your skin from any damage
  • Aloe vera, one of  the most soothing ingredients for skin care

Tea tree oil, a natural antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal remedy