We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

A person’s pores may be more or less noticeable depending on their skin type. Some home remedies may help improve the appearance of large pores.

There are two types of pores. One releases the body’s natural oil, called sebum, and the other releases sweat. Sometimes the oil-releasing pores may appear enlarged.

It is not possible to get rid of large pores, but there are ways to reduce their appearance, such as:

  • using water-based products
  • applying a clay mask
  • avoiding too much sun exposure

This article explores how to make large pores less visible. It also discusses how to promote skin health and what further treatments are available.

Share on Pinterest
Danil Nevsky/Stocksy United.

Tiny hairs cover a person’s skin, except on the palms of the hands and on the feet. Each hair follicle has a pore at the top of it.

The hair follicle has a gland inside it that produces oil. This gland is called the sebaceous gland. When the sebaceous gland releases oil, the oil rises to the top of the skin and collects in the pore.

According to a 2016 study, the main causes of enlarged pores are:

  • Excessive sebum: This is when a person’s sebaceous gland produces a lot of oil, leading to oily skin.
  • Decreased elasticity around the pore: This is when the skin becomes less supple.
  • Increased hair follicle volume: This is when the pore at the end of the hair follicle becomes clogged.

When oil collects in the pore and combines with dirt or makeup, the pore can become blocked. This blockage stretches the pore, making it look bigger. If the pore remains clogged, a pimple may develop.

Genetics and the size of a person’s pores help determine how active a person’s sebaceous glands are.

Having large pores is not a health concern. As one 2015 study noted, pore size is purely an aesthetic consideration.

It may not be possible to get rid of large pores, but there are ways to make them look smaller, including keeping the skin supple and stopping the pores from becoming clogged.

Here are eight effective ways to reduce the appearance of large pores:

1. Choosing water-based products

Moisturizing products contain various active ingredients, including oils. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend using oil-free products, including water-based makeup.

People with oily skin will benefit from products that are high in humectants rather than oils. Honey and urea are examples of humectants in skin care products.

Oil-based products contain petrolatum, coconut oil, and other kinds of oil. They effectively moisturize the skin but may not be suitable for people with oily skin and large pores. The excess oil that collects on the skin can make pores appear larger.

2. Washing the face both morning and night

Washing the face is basic skin care. The AAD recommend the following:

  • washing the face up to twice a day, or more after sweating a lot or doing sports
  • using lukewarm water and gently applying a cleanser with clean fingers
  • choosing a gentle cleanser that is nonabrasive and does not contain alcohol
  • avoiding scrubbing or rubbing the skin
  • patting the face dry with a clean towel

Washing the face every morning and evening helps wash away oil and dirt from the pores. This can help make them less visible.

3. Choosing gel-based cleansers

A gel-based cleanser is suitable for people with oily skin who want to make their pores less visible. It is best to avoid oil-based or alcohol-based cleansers, as these can irritate the skin.

A moisturizing cleanser may leave residue in the pores and increase oiliness. A gel-based cleanser helps clear oil from the pores, reducing their appearance.

4. Exfoliating

A person with oily skin should exfoliate once or twice a week to remove matter that can clog the pores, such as:

  • dirt
  • dead skin cells
  • excess oil

Suitable products may contain:

  • beta hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid
  • polyhydroxy acids, such as lactobionic acid and gluconolactone, which help strengthen the skin’s barrier function
  • mandelic acid, for sensitive skin

Over-the-counter (OTC) products usually contain 7–10% of the active ingredient. Too high a percentage may aggravate the skin, although a dermatologist may prescribe a stronger formulation than OTC options.

It is important not to exfoliate more than twice a week, as this can dry out the skin. Although exfoliation helps keep pores unclogged, pores can look bigger if the skin becomes too dry.

5. Moisturizing daily

The idea of moisturizing oily skin may be counterintuitive. However, an oil-free moisturizer can help reduce pore enlargement.

A person should first wash and pat the skin dry, then gently apply a moisturizer to help hydrate and soften the skin. That allows the oil from the sebaceous glands to penetrate more deeply into the skin, rather than staying in the pores on the surface.

In this way, moisturizing prevents pores from becoming clogged with oil, reducing their appearance.

6. Applying a clay mask

Using a clay mask once or twice a week can help remove additional oil from the pores. This is because clay absorbs sebum.

Removing that oil can help prevent pores from becoming enlarged and make them less visible.

It is advisable to do this on a different day than exfoliating, as overtreating the skin may cause irritation. Irritation can cause pores to appear enlarged and can lead to blemishes.

7. Always removing makeup at night

It is essential always to remove makeup before going to sleep.

Sleeping in makeup overnight can cause the pores to become blocked due to a buildup of makeup, oil, and bacteria.

Cleansing wipes are useful for removing makeup in a hurry.

8. Wearing sunscreen

It is crucial to care for the skin when in the sun. Sun exposure can dry the skin, making pores appear larger. Many moisturizers contain sunscreen. People should choose one with an SPF of 30 or over.

Keeping the skin protected from the sun keeps it supple. The best ways to do this are:

  • wearing a wide-brimmed hat
  • wearing sunscreen every day
  • staying in the shade when the sun is strongest

Share on Pinterest
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water may help improve the overall complexion.

While home treatments and a regular skincare routine can help reduce the visibility of pores, the following can promote the overall health of a person’s skin:

  • Eating well: Getting the right balance of nutrients, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates helps improve overall health. A healthful diet can enhance a person’s skin health.
  • Drinking plenty of water: Water hydrates the skin from within. This helps improve the overall complexion.
  • Exercising regularly: Regular exercise increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including the skin, and encourages sweating. One study found that sweat contains a natural antibiotic substance that helps protect the skin from bacteria.

Although sweating is beneficial for the skin, leaving it on the surface may clog the pores. Therefore, a person should always rinse the skin after exercise.

If a person has ongoing problems with their skin, such as acne, they should speak to their doctor.

A doctor can refer them to a dermatologist, or skin specialist, who can recommend an appropriate treatment.

A dermatologist may recommend microneedling to improve the appearance of pores.

This noninvasive skin treatment uses a dermaroller (a handheld roller with tiny needles on it) or a microneedle pen (a device with a motor that pierces the skin with tiny needles).

Piercing the surface of the skin causes micro-injuries, which prompt the skin’s healing response. This can reduce the appearance of large pores as well as improving acne scars and other skin problems.

If a person is interested in these treatments, they should speak to their doctor.

Many treatments are available to reduce the appearance of large pores and prevent breakouts. Many people may find that sticking to a good skin care regimen helps improve the skin’s overall look and health.

If at-home treatments are ineffective, a person can see a doctor or dermatologist for more advice.

Shop online for the home remedies listed in this article: