No matter your age or skin type, you can make a noticeable difference in the way your pores look. The most important thing to know is that pores don’t actually shrink—but they can appear to. When a pore appears enlarged, it’s actually being temporarily stretched out, usually by dead skin cells, dirt, oil, or other gunk on the surface of the skin.
Skin that looks smooth and practically poreless is well-exfoliated skin (our skin very expertly exfoliates itself when we’re children but becomes sluggish at it sooner than anyone would like). Physical exfoliation, with something as simple as a washcloth or with any number of face scrubs made with grains and crystals, can help. But chemical exfoliants, whether they’re alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or fruit enzymes, supercharge your pore-minimizing efforts. Beyond that, a gentle, consistent routine can have an incredible impact long-term.
Here, the seven steps to your smoothest, softest,
practically poreless-looking skin.
Exfoliate with AHAs
Sweeping away what naturally gets stuck in pores—dead skin cells, oil, dirt, makeup—and revealing the fresh, unclogged skin beneath can make an enormous difference in the way your skin looks and feels. Regular exfoliation also keeps pores from getting clogged in the first place.
GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic
Overnight Glow Peel goop, $125/$112 with subscription
- The Organic Pharmacy FOUR ACID PEEL goop, $55
Tone your skin
Toner gives skin a gentle extra bit of physical exfoliation, and it deposits skin-friendly ingredients at the same time.
Keep skin clear
Clogged and irritated pores can become breakouts, and breakouts and their aftermath can also cause pores to look enlarged or rough. The benefits of a faithful routine are fewer breakouts—and less-visible pores.
PORE CLEANSER goop, $26
MATTE TONER goop, $29
Treat with vitamin C
Just about every skin type, whether it’s dry or oily or both, benefits from topical vitamin C, once or even twice a day. We love to boost our vitamin C (and get a power shot of other antioxidants) internally, too.
The right moisturizer sinks into skin without clogging pores and soothes skin as it hydrates. Finding your perfect formula involves some trial and error, but choose clean, mineral-oil free options and avoid any spots where you tend to break out.
Collagen is what gives your skin much of its structure, so it can contribute to minimizing the appearance of your pores. We’re believers in stimulating collagen production topically (through proper skin care, especially exfoliation) as much as we can, and we love the results we see when we combine those efforts with ingestible collagen.
One of the least charming consequences of sun damage is collagen breakdown, which contributes to the way your pores look and function. Wear clean, physical SPF every day (if it takes a moment longer to rub in, know that it’s made with inert minerals that won’t clog your pores, whereas the invisible, chemical SPF formulas can contain some of the most irritating and even comedogenic ingredients in the beauty industry). Your pores, not to mention the rest of your skin, will look better for it.