You can get a deep-cleaning facial or derm procedure to clean out your pores, but unless you take a proactive approach at home, those suckers will just keep getting bigger and blacker.
Your plan of attack:
Wear sunscreen every day: Blocking those damaging rays on a daily basis is key to keeping pores looking better. “It’s one of the few things you can do preventively to help keep the skin’s support structure strong and pores minimized,” says Joel Cohen, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology, University of Colorado. Look for a daily moisturizer that contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen and an SPF 30 or higher.
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Exfoliate gently: Light exfoliation—with a mild scrub or a brush such as Clarisonic—can help the appearance of pores by getting rid of the dead skin cells that clog them and cause them to dilate. “But there’s a delicate balance,” warns Jocelyn A. Lieb, M.D., of Advanced Dermatology in New Jersey. “If you scrub too much you’ll cause inflammation, and when the skin around the pores is inflamed more oil and debris can get trapped inside them.” Doing it once or twice a week is plenty.
Use salicylic acid: You’ll find this ingredient in cleansers, lotions and masks (we like Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash). It works to minimize pores by keeping them clear. It penetrates pores and helps to dissolve and dislodge oil, dirt and dead cells.
Apply a retinoid: Whether it’s an over-the-counter retinol or a prescription-strength Retin-A, the active ingredient is one that’s shown to help stimulate new collagen production in the skin. More collagen means better skin structure, and that means pores don’t sag and look larger.
Minimize pores with the right makeup: “Start with a primer to help smooth out the appearance of the skin and fill in pores so that foundation goes on flawlessly,” suggests Michael Moore, a Denver-based makeup artist. He likes Laura Mercier Foundation Primer and OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel. Mineral powder foundations can give an airbrushing effect to the skin, he says. For the most pore-minimizing coverage, apply it with a dry makeup sponge, pressing the powder firmly into the skin, and then buff off any excess with a large powder brush.