I’ve noticed the pores on my skin are getting bigger. Why is this?
Updated 3/15/18. Many people will complain about their pores looking larger as they get older and are confused as to why this would be happening since the skin gets less oily with age. In this post, I share the reason why your pores look bigger along with my expert solutions for helping them look smaller again.
The truth is, your pores aren’t technically getting larger, but with age, they can appear bigger for these TWO reasons.
1. Gravity loss and weakening of the elastin fibers. In your younger years when the skin is firm and taut, large pores won’t be very noticeable due to the tightness of the skin. With age, the skin isn’t pulled back as tightly so the pores appear larger because they indent further into the skin.
2. Collagen loss. When the skin’s natural cushion starts to deflate with age (mainly due to sun exposure in your younger years), the pores sink deeper into the face and look more enlarged.
So there you have it. Age and the changes of the skin that go with it are why your pores are looking larger. However, the good news is that you really CAN make them look smaller, so keep reading for my expert solutions.
What causes someone to get large pores in the first place?
Pore size has to do with how much oil you produced in your teenage years. If your skin was oily (determined by genetics), the pores got continually stretched as the oil was coming through. On the flip side, if you were someone who didn’t produce much oil then your pores didn’t get enlarged and are probably fairly small to this day.
How can I shrink my pores?
There are THREE ways to make large pores look smaller.
1. The most immediate way to reduce the appearance of large pores is through exfoliation.
Simply one use of a gentle facial scrub or leaving on a gentle acid exfoliator like Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum on the skin overnight will give instant improvement since they remove surface dry cells that build up around the pore opening. A good analogy for explaining how exfoliation works as it relates to large pores is this. If you were to take a piece of wood and hit it with a hammer, you would make an indentation in the wood. To smooth out this dent, rubbing with sandpaper would make it less noticeable, right? The same rules apply to the skin. Large pores (along with lines, wrinkles, indented acne scars and chicken pox scars) are all considered to be indentations into the face. By “sanding” down the skin with exfoliators, you’re reducing the distance between the top dry layers of dead skin and the opening of the pore. The end result is the pores appear less deep and therefore, less noticeable. With regular, consistent exfoliation, the pores will remain looking smaller.
Depending on your skin type, these exfoliating products will make pores look smaller.
(As well as offer many other skin benefits like clearing clogged pores, lifting discoloration and more. Read about the benefits of exfoliation here.)
- Triple Berry Smoothing Peel
- Mint Buffing Beads
- Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum
- Ultra Gentle Smoothing Serum
- Pro Results Power Serum
- BHA Clarifying Serum
- Dual Enzyme Softening Peel
- Sonic cleansing brushes (like Clarisonic or Foreo)
To find out which exfoliant is best for you, choose your skin type or take the Skin Type Quiz.
Want to learn more about how to best exfoliate your skin? Read my complete guide to exfoliation.
2. A long-term approach for shrinking pores (and the most effective one) is to use a prescription retinoid or product with retinol.
Consistent use of these types of products (containing vitamin A) will dramatically change the appearance of the skin’s surface and make pores look smaller and less noticeable. It is truly the most scientifically proven ingredient to re-texture the skin to reveal smoother skin with less visible pores, as well as lines and wrinkles.
My very favorite product for getting large pores to look smaller is Advanced Resurfacing Serum with pure retinol. Seriously. Start using a product with retinol now and you can learn more about it in my beginner’s guide to using retinoids and retinol.
3. Use a makeup primer formulated to fill in pores and make them look smaller.
Fake it til’ you make it is the name of the game with a primer. There are many available but I think Benefit ‘Pore’fressional makes a nice one for use under foundation makeup. (By the way, if you’re someone who wears makeup, you should stop doing these 12 things to your skin.)
In summary, if you’re consistent about using the right type of products at home, you can definitely make your pores appear smaller. If you want to increase the results, consider getting professional chemical peels and certain laser treatments.
Need personalized advice? Schedule a virtual consultation with a licensed esthetician.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Her hands-on experience as an esthetician and trusted skin care expert has created a real-world solution — products that are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get exactly what it needs to look and feel its best. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”