You may not be able to shrink your pores, but you can make them look smaller, thanks to these hard-working pore minimisers
Holiday selfies and the obsession with supernaturally flawless skin is enough to have the pore-paranoid swiping on an Instagram filter, because the hard truth is you can’t actually shrink your pores in real life.
The average adult has approximately 20,000 of them on their face, which exist as an outlet for sweat and excess sebum to leave the body. Everything from genetics to skin type and sun exposure affect their size, but being concave in shape means they are also at risk of filling up with the bacteria, gunk and other unmentionables you transfer from your hands to your face every day.
But it’s not all bad news. You can make them appear smaller with effective pore minimisers. ‘First, double-cleanse with an oily cleanser to keep your pores clear of congestion,’ says Nichola Joss, Decléor’s skincare expert and Megan Markle’s facialist.
‘Oil attracts oil, so sebum, sunscreen and grime dissolve better with an oil-rich cleanser than in water.’ Second, exfoliate once or twice a week as dead cells can get trapped in those little holes, causing acne and making them swell.
Also, try salicylic acid, which can penetrate deep into pores. ‘By removing rough dead cells, it immediately makes skin smoother. It also helps prevent oil production for tighter pores in the long-term,’ says Joss.
Or, opt for quick-fix products, otherwise known as ‘under make-up Spanx’, which make enlarged pores virtually invisible.
Finally, the general skincare advice of using sunscreen still applies, as UV rays can damage the support structure around the edge of pores, eventually stretching them out.
Here’s all you need to know…
This gel leaves a breathable film on cleansed skin for a smoother texture. Even better, clay and zinc capture excess sebum before any pimples pop up. Perfect for humid days and emotionally demanding times.
Get the edge on oily skin with bacteria-targeting monolaurin. Eau Thermale Avène’s formula also contains BHAs to break down oil, and kaolin clay to suck it out like a vacuum.
There’s been a resurgence of clay masks for removing pore gunk. This one uses enzymes in the white clay to break down keratin in dead skin cells. It rubs off with your fingers for less mess, too.
These aloe vera-infused dry cloths, activated by water, are destined for your gym bag. They remove make-up, exfoliate and tone, all in just three minutes.
Use Caudalie’s serum in place of your regular one or strategically patted onto blemishes. Either way, the results are pretty impressive, as salicylic acid draws out debris from open pores and organic rose water regulates sebum production.
A cleanser that smells good and does good? Decléor has cracked it by combining micellar oils (sweet-scented almond, jojoba and hazelnut) with cornflower and peppermint waters to dissolve congestion – all without stripping the skin. Clever stuff.
Pollution’s dirty little secret? The particles are 20 times smaller than the diameter of a pore. Detox the grit and grime with this peel-off mask powered by astringent tree mushroom extract and resurfacing polymers.