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How To Make Large Pores Less Obvious: 6 Essential Tips

Oily skin and large pores often go hand-in-hand. Here, learn how to visibly minimize pores and discover the best Kiehl’s products for the job.

If you look into the mirror and notice that your skin doesn’t look as smooth and even as you’d like, large pores may be the culprit. These openings in your skin connect to hair follicles and secrete sweat and sebum, your skin’s natural oil. Though everyone has pores, they’re not always visible to the naked eye. Those with oily or blemish-prone skin, however, tend to be more vulnerable to enlarged pores—a common concern that can contribute to skin with a rough, uneven appearance.

While you can’t actually shrink pore size, you can make them appear smaller. Here, we’ll teach you how. You’ll also discover our top skincare products and treatments for managing large pores. Keep reading to learn how to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores for smoother-looking skin.

What Causes Enlarged Pores?

There are a few things that can contribute to enlarged pores. The most well-known factor associated with large pores is your skin type: As noted above, those with oily skin typically have larger pores than their drier-skinned counterparts. Excessive oiliness may also contribute to blemishes, which can stretch the pores and make them appear more prominent (picking at your spots can also make your pores more noticeable, so hands off). But your skin type isn’t the only factor that can influence how large your pores appear: Your genetics also play a role, as does your age. As you get older, your skin loses its youthful elasticity. Over time, this loss of elasticity can cause your skin to sag, making your pores appear more prominent.

How To Minimize Pores: 7 Essential Tips

While you can’t change the actual size of your pores with skincare alone, a proper routine can help keep your skin balanced, which in turn may make your pores less visible. Ahead, learn how to reduce the appearance of large pores with our top pore-minimizing tips.

Tip #1:

Keep Your Skin Clean

As noted above, congestion and oiliness can make your pores appear more prominent. To help keep clogged pores at bay, we recommend cleansing twice daily with a face wash suitable for oily skin, such as Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. This purifying face wash with Amazonian white clay and aloe vera provides a deep clean, removing dirt and excess oil without stripping the skin. With regular use, the gentle cleanser helps to visibly minimize pores for smoother, healthier-looking skin over time. To use it, dispense a small amount of the creamy cleanser onto clean fingertips and massage the formula over your skin, avoiding your eye area. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel before continuing your skincare routine.

Kiehl’s Tip: If desired, you can use a microfiber towel to help massage the cleanser onto your skin. The towel will act as a gentle mechanical exfoliant to help remove pore-clogging debris.

Tip #2:

Use a Mattifying Toner

Toner isn’t just for prepping your skin for the rest of your skincare routine: The right formula can also help you address your skin concerns, including enlarged pores. If your pores are more noticeable than you’d like, we recommend reaching for Rare Earth Pore-Refining Tonic, which contains witch hazel and allantoin. The mineral-rich toner for oily skin helps remove impurities left behind after cleansing while balancing the skin’s moisture levels. It also helps diminish shine and reduces the appearance of large pores, leaving your skin looking balanced and healthy. You can apply the lightweight toner with a cotton pad or splash a palmful directly onto your face after cleansing—just be sure to pat it in to get the most out of the pore-minimizing formula.

Tip #3:

Reach For Retinol

Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum

There’s a good reason for retinol’s holy-grail status in the skincare world: This powerful ingredient can help with a wide range of skin concerns, from fine lines and wrinkles to unevenness and, yes, enlarged pores. If you’re looking to address large pores with retinol, reach for Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide. The gentle formula delivers a precise daily dose of pure retinol and helps firm the skin with minimal irritation. In fact, the serum is suitable for all skin types and safe for daily use—even for retinol newbies. Apply it to your face and neck once daily to help reduce wrinkles, firm the skin, and visibly minimize pores with regular use.

Kiehl’s Tip: If you’re using any retinol products, SPF is a must. Look for a lightweight, non-comedogenic sunscreen to help reduce the risk of clogged pores and breakouts.

Tip #4:

Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Oftentimes, people with oily skin skip moisturizer out of fear that it’ll make their skin look (and feel) greasier. But this concern isn’t entirely rooted in fact. While it’s true that heavier, oil-based moisturizers may be too rich for those with oily skin, hydration is still necessary. When your skin becomes dehydrated, it may actually become extra oily to make up for the lack of natural moisture. This, in turn, can contribute to blemishes and make large pores more obvious.

The key is to find a moisturizer that provides lightweight hydration without weighing down your skin. We recommend Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, a gel moisturizer made with glycerin and micronized amino acid. The weightless, non-comedogenic formula absorbs quickly and softens the skin with 24-hour hydration. It also helps visibly reduce shine and minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores over time, giving way to a fresher, more balanced appearance.

Tip #5:

Use a Pore-Cleansing Mask

To help visibly reduce large pores and simultaneously pamper your skin, consider deep-cleaning with a detoxifying face mask, like Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask. Our award-winning formula with kaolin and bentonite clay draws out dirt, oil, and other pore-clogging impurities from within the skin. It’s clinically-demonstrated to reduce surface oil by up to 46% in a single application, while regular use helps visibly minimize pores for a smoother, more refined appearance over time.* We recommend using this mask at least once a week, though you can use it more often if your skin is very oily or congested.

*Results based on a two-hour instrumental test vs. untreated skin on 24 subjects.

Kiehl’s Tip: If your pores are enlarged in one area and not the other (large, visible pores are common on the T-zone, for example), consider multi-masking. This masking method allows you to address multiple skin concerns on different areas of your face. Learn more about multi-masking and its benefits in our article What Is “Multi-Masking”?

A product shot of Rare Earth Set

Tip #6:

Exfoliate Regularly

One of the easiest—and most effective—ways to address large pores is by exfoliating. Regular exfoliation helps remove the excess oil, dirt, and dead skin that can contribute to clogged pores. It also helps reduce existing congestion, promoting a smoother, more refined appearance. As with anything, though, balance is key: Over-exfoliating can leave your skin dry and irritated and may make existing skin concerns worse.

To reap the benefits of exfoliation without damaging your skin, we recommend incorporating Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion into your weekly skincare routine. This powerful face scrub contains micronized shells (also known as diatomaceous earth) suspended in a creamy, shea butter-infused formula. It immediately smooths and refines the skin, while continued use helps visibly reduce enlarged pores and skin discolorations for a more even appearance over time. You can use this highly effective facial scrub up to three times per week on your face, neck, and chest—just be sure to replenish your skin with a gentle moisturizer after each use.

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