When on vacation, my number one beauty travel tip is to avoid the hotel bathroom’s 5x magnifying mirror at all costs. (I even cover it up with a towel, so I’m not tempted to look.) There’s something about seeing my pores up close and personal that turns my relaxing getaway into a beauty conundrum. This always leaves me pondering one of skincare’s biggest mysteries: can we actually shrink our pores? I have wondered about this for years. To get some clarity, I reached out to Emily Trampetti, master licensed esthetician and founder of Skin Property Virtual Esthetics, for her expert insight.
The Truth About Pore Size
Can you actually shrink your pores? Welp, the hard truth is not exactly. “Pores don’t work like muscles; they don’t expand and contract,” Trampetti explains. She likens them to a wool sweater: once stretched out, it’s challenging to return to its original form. Trampetti identifies key factors that contribute to pore “stretching,” including unprotected sun exposure, picking at blemishes, and using unsuitable skincare products.
The Reality of Pore-Shrinking Claims
While the market is rife with products promising to shrink pores, Trampetti asserts that there’s no scientific evidence supporting permanent pore reduction. “However,” she adds, “various skincare ingredients, formulas, and treatments can temporarily reduce the appearance of pores.” These methods primarily focus on enhancing skin hydration, stimulating collagen and elastin production, and minimizing factors like excess oil and acne. Trampetti’s preferred ingredients for these purposes include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin C, retinoids, and alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids.
Importantly, Trampetti emphasizes that pore size is largely genetic, urging a shift in perspective to normalize pores of all sizes. She expresses concern over the unrealistic standards set by social media filters, photo editing, and certain makeup products, which fuel the desire to eliminate pores. “Pores are human and natural,” Trampetti reminds us, stressing that nothing can make them disappear permanently.
As much as I yearn for a perfect, pore-less palette to start with, I know that will never be the case but I have found a few tried-and-true ways to deal with pore-tion control. Since we can’t shrink pores permanently, we can certainly make them less noticeable. My favorite DIY face mask for this purpose? Mix natural, unflavored Greek yogurt, honey, and a squeeze of lemon. Apply for 10-15 minutes, then rinse. It’s a refreshing treat for your skin! Remember, loving your skin, pores and all, is the real beauty secret.
The Best Pore Minimizing Products: Editor’s Picks
Looking for products to help minimize the appearance of pores? Here are my top picks:
Deep Clean: A home microdermabrasion tool can buff away dead skin cells and clear the way to radiant skin. My go-to is the The Auria Vita Solo ($74) because it helps clear out my clogged pores pretty quickly.
Smooth and Refine: For a lightweight facial serum that refines the appearance of pores, I suggest Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Refining Serum ($68). This top-notch treatment helps keep those bothersome blackheads at bay.
Primer Perfection: A silicone-based primer can blur the look of enlarged pores. Try the Benefit Porefessional Primer ($23.80) for a smooth, poreless finish.
Foundation Favorite: Opt for a foundation with a matte finish. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup ($49) provides excellent coverage without clogging pores.
Setting It Right: A translucent setting powder, like the Joah Beauty Glow Perfecting Powder ($14.99) helps reduce shine and refine the look of pores.