Find out how to minimise them here
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with having pores. In fact, we need pores to – amongst other things – cool us down (by releasing sweat) and to rid ourselves of toxins. But having pores so large that they’re visible to the naked eye can be a bit annoying. After all, if you have oily skin in particular, large pores can very easily become blocked pores and, as entertaining as blocked pores can be, we don’t always want our skin to be full of them.
So, what causes large pores in the first place? What's the best skincare routine for large pores? And what makes large pores worse? We spoke to Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London, to find out.
What causes large pores?
“It's natural for pores on the face to be visible and they can vary in size,” Dr Borysiewicz says. “Whilst large pores are primarily genetic, there are several factors that can affect the pore size: high sebum content (an oily, waxy substance found on almost every surface of the skin produced by sebaceous glands), acne, hormonal differences, sun damage, smoking, reduced skin elasticity and vitamin A deficiency,” she explains.
“People with cystic acne might suffer more with larger pores as cysts may cause the pores to stretch,” she continues. “And large pores are more common on the nose and cheeks due to the large sebaceous glands beneath the skin.”
What's the best skincare routine for large pores?
“It’s important to address the cause of large pores in order to properly treat the condition,” says Dr Borysiewicz. “Decreasing sebum production is key to minimising or treating large pores.”
Here are the steps that the best skincare routine for large pores should follow, according to Dr Borysiewicz:
1. “It’s important to thoroughly cleanse the face in order to remove dirt, oil and makeup which can clog the pores, and cause breakouts and the accumulation of bacteria,” she says. “Double cleansing is recommended in the evening to remove makeup, as well as dirt and bacteria, which accumulate throughout the day. And use a clay mask once a week.”
2. “Gentle exfoliation with products containing AHA/BHA (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) can help unclog pores and is recommended once or twice a week.”
3. Use a retinoid product (such as a retinol serum), as “retinoids accelerate cell turnover and remove the excess sebum from the pores,” Dr Borysiewicz explains. “An oil-free moisturiser can also be helpful.”
“Remember to use sunscreen to protect the skin,” she adds. “Sun exposure can cause the skin to dry out and increase the appearance of pores.” Last but not least, “a healthy lifestyle is also recommended – drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated and your complexion clear, eat a healthy diet and exercise to increase blood flow to all parts of the body.”
Is there anything you should avoid doing if you have large pores?
“Using oil or alcohol-based products can irritate the skin and increase oiliness,” says Dr Borysiewicz. “Avoid the use of comedogenic products as these can clog pores – skincare products that won’t clog pores will be labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’.”
Then, there’s the fact that “not properly cleansing the skin will cause a build-up of dirt and bacteria and accentuate large pores,” she says. “It’s so important to protect your skin from UV exposure by wearing facial SPF,” she advises. “Remember, it’s ideal to prevent damage in the first place.”
Discover more top tips here.
The best skincare products for large pores
From cleansers to toners, here are 8 of the best skincare products for large pores (and oily skin, for that matter) to put Dr Borysiewic’s wisdom to good use!
For more great skincare for blackheads and large pores, check out more options here.
The best toner for large pores
Try: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Lotion (£12.50)
• Size: 200ml
Clarifying toners can often be quite harsh on the skin – not this one though! It’s formulated especially for sensitive skin types with oily skin that’s prone to blemishes.
The best mask for large pores
Try: Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Mask (£23)
• Size: 75ml
Formulated with green clay and zinc, this mask is said to purify pores in just five minutes. Perfect if you’re pushed for time and want your skin to look immaculate for party season.
The best exfoliator for large pores
Try: Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub (£13)
• Size: 75ml
Salicylic acid is the best skincare ingredient for blackheads and large pores, so it’s great that this scrub contains it along with 3% glycolic acid to help improve skin texture. It’s perfect for when your complexion needs a bit of a boost.
The best SPF for large pores
Try: Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer SPF30 (£32)
• Size: 50ml
All respectable morning skincare routines end with SPF, but this is an SPF that’s especially good for people with large pores: it makes them less visible while brightening your complexion as a whole (both instantly and over time).
The best retinoid for large pores
Try: Kiehl's Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum (£62)
• Size: 50ml
If you’re ready to introduce it into your routine (and it might be a good idea if you’re approaching your 30s or older), a retinoid product (which would most likely come in the form of a retinol serum) can work wonders to reduce pore size - not to mention boost collagen production and refine skin texture. Plus, this one has the added benefit of being suitable for those of us with sensitive skin.
Shop more top-rated skincare for large pores here.