How to Reduce the Size of Enlarged Skin Pores

by Stephanie Crumley Hill ; Updated July 18, 2017

A woman is wearing a facial mask.

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Skin pores become enlarged for two primary reasons. Pores may become enlarged because they are clogged with a mixture of oil and dead skin cells; that mixture of oil and dead skin cells appears as blackheads or whiteheads. Pores also become enlarged as part of the aging process. How you age is largely determined by your genetics, but as your skin loses elasticity, your pores will tend to stretch out and become enlarged. While you can't permanently affect the size of your pores, you can reduce and minimize their appearance.

Clean your skin in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. Aesthetician Robert Scott recommends using a cleanser containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are derived from plants and exfoliate the skin, removing dead surface skin cells. Check product labels for ingredients such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid. Follow label directions, and pat skin dry after cleansing.

Exfoliate your skin once each week after cleansing. Choose a gentle exfoliating scrub or a home microdermabrasion kit. Follow product directions for application and removal. Pat skin dry after exfoliation.

Apply a facial mask with antioxidants once each week after cleansing. Antioxidants will be listed on the product label and may include vitamin C, blueberry and green tea. Antioxidants help prevent the breakdown and aging of skin cells, helping your skin retain its elasticity. Follow product directions for application and removal, and pat skin dry after use.

Apply a noncomedogenic moisturizer for your skin type after every cleansing; if you are exfoliating or using a mask, apply the moisturizer afterward. Choose an anti-aging moisturizer to support your skin's elasticity.

Apply sunscreen daily to prevent sun damage and photoaging. Wait to apply sunscreen until after the moisturizer absorbs into your skin. Remember to apply sunscreen to your neck and upper chest as well as to your face. Sunscreen is especially important when you are using alpha and beta hyroxy acids because they make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.


  • If home treatments do not produce the results you desire, consult a dermatologist or consider professional microdermabrasion, chemical peels or laser resurfacing. You may want to choose an anti-aging moisturizer with built-in sunscreen protection to minimize skin care steps. If you find using a cleanser with alpha or beta hydroxy acids twice daily makes your skin dry, sensitive or irritated, try a cleanser with a lower acid content or substitute a gentle cleanser for your skin type.

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About the Author

Stephanie Crumley Hill is a childbirth educator who for more than 20 years has written professionally about pregnancy, family and a variety of health and medical topics. A former print magazine editor, her insurance articles for “Resource” magazine garnered numerous awards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia.