Many people, especially those with oil or acne-prone skin, complain about large, visible pores. Pores can become stretched from being clogged with dirt, oil and dead skin cells, causing them to stretch and sag. Pore size is nearly impossible to change, says Richard Glogau, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco. While it’s difficult to permanently change the size of your pores, there are ways to improve the appearance of pores and make your skin appear more flawless and smooth.
Practice good skincare habits. The more dirt, oil, makeup and grime that accumulates in your pores, the larger they will look. Always remove makeup and wash your face thoroughly before bed every night to keep pores clean and clear. If you get pimples occasionally, never squeeze or pick at them -- this can stretch and damage the pores and cause scarring.
Try retinoids. Retinoids, which are topical forms of vitamin A, have varying particle sizes to penetrate skin at the deeper levels to improve its appearance. With daily use, retinoids can not only reduce pore size, but also keep each layer of your skin hydrated and toned, according to Nerida Joy, founder of Nerida Joy Skincare. The most effective retinoids are only available with a prescription, but there are also available over-the-counter. Look for products containing retinol, retinoid acid, retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate.
Apply vitamin C topically. Ingredients, such as vitamin C, applied topically can increase levels of collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to a firmer, smoother appearance. Causing the skin to appear plumper makes pores appear to shrink and contract. Use a serum containing vitamin C after you cleanse your face at night and before you apply moisturizer.
Use products with salicylic acid. Leslie Baumann, MD, author of "The Skin Type Solution," recommends using products containing salicylic acid for those who have oily skin or are prone to acne. Salicylic acid targets excess oil and sebum in the skin and clears it out to reduce the appearance of pores and give skin a fresh, matte appearance.