How to Clear Pores & The Best Products to Use

Pores - for many, they’re the bane of our existence. It just doesn’t seem fair that some people have flawless skin with barely-there pores, while for others, the pores in our skin and on our noses are super noticeable! 

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However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that you can do about minimising the appearance of your pores. Meaning, using the right skincare and beauty techniques for when your pores are clogged can help refine skin and minimise their look! Here is our guide to how to clear pores and reduce their appearance.

What Causes Enlarged Pores in Skin?

Woman examining pores in skin

Knowing how to deal with larger pores starts with understanding what causes them in the first place. There are several factors that come together that cause larger pores - you might experience all or just a few of them. 

There’s one important myth to bust about pores before we start, though - and it’s that you can’t ‘open and close’ your pores. Meaning, most skincare tips about using steam or warm water to ‘open pores’ and cold water to ‘close’ them are actually bunk. However, what you can do is clear pores to make them look smaller than they really are! 

Before we get started on how to clear pores, let’s go through some of the reasons why pores can appear larger than they actually are. 

dermalogica clear start micro pore mistDermalogica Clear Start Micro Pore Mist
This pore-refining mist from Dermalogica uses the power of Witch Hazel and Niacinamide to shrink the appearance of pesky pores.

1) Skin Type

Some skin types are more prone to visible pores than others - and this is especially true for those with oily skin and combination skin types. Why do these two skin types deal with larger pores, especially on the nose?

It’s because they both produce more sebum than the other skin types. When skin creates oil, it comes out of the pores - and these pores filling up with oil can make them appear larger. Managing oily skin with the right skincare will go a long way to reducing the appearance of pores in the nose and cheeks for more flawless, even-textured skin.

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear LotionSK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
Formulated with a blend of AHAs and BHas, this exfoliating essence from SK-II is perfect for refining skin and reducing the look of pores.

2) Lack of Exfoliation

One of the best ways to reduce pores clogged on the nose and cheeks is with regular exfoliation, especially with a skincare ingredient like salicylic acid. Exfoliation is important, especially when pores are clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. 

Physical exfoliation, like using a facial scrub can help too - however, for truly pore-shrinking results, it’s best to go with an exfoliating acid. Why? It’s because exfoliating acids can actually enter the pore and dissolve any lingering sebum for smaller-looking pores and more refined skin. 

Omorovicza Acid FixOmorovicza Acid Fix
Get your exfoliating fix for smoother skin and reduced congestion with this acid treatment from Omorovicza.

3) Damage to Skin

One of the unfortunate truths about enlarged pores is that they’re sometimes stretched-out pores. Meaning, they’ve been blocked or damaged in some way that their size is permanently altered. This type of pore damage can happen from using pore strips or forcefully squeezing out blackheads - which is why extractions are best left to the professionals, no matter how satisfying squeezing pores can be!

Pores in skin that have been enlarged in this manner are the hardest to reduce the appearance of with skincare and can take the longest amount of time to resolve.

Foreo Luna 3 for Combination SkinFOREO Luna 3 for Combination Skin
Deeply cleanse your skin and prevent clogs from forming in pores thanks to ultrasonic cleansing technology in the form of the FOREO Luna 3.

Best Skincare Products to Minimise Pores in Skin

Now that we’ve gone over the possible causes of larger-looking pores, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of which skincare you should be using to minimise their appearance. All of these are amazing additions to your skincare routine to help clear pores.

1) Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

The number one product to reach for is salicylic acid toner. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning it can dissolve away any excess oil - remember how we said that pores can appear larger due to excess sebum hanging around?

Pores are clogged by excess sebum, dead skin cells, and even some makeup ingredients. Salicylic acid helps to reduce the look of visible pores and get rid of congestion that could stretch them and cause permanent damage - making this a valuable skincare product for any skincare routine! 

Dermalogica Active Clearing Skin WashDermalogica Active Clearing Skin Wash
Formulated with Salicylic Acid, this cleansing wash helps to sweep away dead skin cells and mattify skin.

2) Clay Masks

If you want to know how to clear pores instantly, keep reading. A clay mask is one of the best skin care products that lends an instantly pore-shrinking effect on your skin. How? Clays are able to effectively adsorb any oil on the skin, including pesky sebum that’s hiding in pores and making them look darker and larger. 

While clay masks work instantly to shrink pores in skin, they aren’t a permanent fix. It’s best to use a clay mask once or twice a week to help manage sebum levels and keep pores clean and clear! 

Minenssey Deep Cleansing Clay Mask
Minenssey Deep Cleansing Clay Mask
Deeply purify pores with the power of Australian clay.  

3) Cleansing Oil or Balm

I know what you’re thinking - didn’t we just say that pores can look enlarged because of skin producing too much sebum?! 

However, that’s exactly what makes a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm so effective at reducing the appearance of clogged pores on your nose. Remember in chemistry that like liquids dissolve in like? Cleansing balms and cleansing oils are well, oil-based so they’re able to grab onto any oils and other lingering residues on your skin, which is what makes them amazing at clearing away facial sebum for smaller-looking pores. 

When you use a cleansing oil or cleansing balm, it’s able to rinse away all excess oil once you add water and emulsify the oil formula - revealing deep cleaned smaller-looking pores.

Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing OilSulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil
This cleansing oil from Sulwhasoo whisks away every trace of grime for clear, poreless-looking skin.

5) Niacinamide 

Another skincare ingredient that’s perfect for reducing the appearance of pores on your nose is niacinamide. It’s a powerful ingredient that works on the skin in so many ways, but one of the biggest reasons it’s a standout is how it regulates sebum production - an ability that’s backed up by studies, by the way!

Niacinamide could help keep pores looking clear and small by reducing the amount of sebum produced by your skin, which in the long-term results in fewer clogged pores and refined skin.

Dr Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass MistDr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Mist
Hydrate skin and refine pores with this lightweight mist from Dr. Jart+

Key Points: Clearing Large Pores in Skin

There are so many approaches you can take to reduce the size of pores on your nose and cheeks. We’ve outlined some great skincare ingredients like salicylic acid and niacinamide that are perfect for reducing sebum production for smaller pores, as well as a handy beauty tool that’s worth adding to your beauty arsenal to minimise pores and future proof your skincare routine.

Now that you know how to clear pores for a refreshed, revitalised glow, you’re one step closer to getting your beauty affairs in order!

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Products Mentioned:

  • Dermalogica Clear Start Micro Pore Mist
  • SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
  • Omorovicza Acid Fix
  • FOREO Luna 3 for Combination Skin
  • Dermalogica Active Clearing Skin Wash
  • Minenssey Deep Cleansing Clay Mask
  • Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil
  • Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Mist
  • Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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