How to Minimize Enlarged Pores and Blackheads
When skin produces too much oil it mixes with dead skin in the pore, forming a clog that causes it to enlarge. If the oil becomes trapped by dead skin, it oxidizes, forming a blackhead.
Fear not:. Using the right products consistently can help minimize these issues, but you need to know exactly what works and what doesn't, as well as how enlarged pores and blackheads form in the first.
Tips for Large Pores
Harsh Scrubs & Stiff Bristles
Sleep with Makeup on
Why Do I Have Enlarged Pores?
It all begins when your oil glands make too much oil. This excess oil mixes with other substances (such as dead skin) in the pore, causing a clog. Not surprisingly, this clog makes it difficult for the oil to flow freely, which causes the pore itself to enlarge.
Even though the pore enlarges to provide extra room for the oil to flow out, the oil still can become trapped (especially around the nose) by dead skin. Once this occurs and the oil and dead skin at the end of the clogged pore is exposed to the air, it oxidizes, forming a blackhead. Yuck!
Enlarged Pores Dos and Don'ts
Knowing which parts of your skincare routine could be making the problem worse, as well as which products are going to deliver the best results is your best defense against blackheads and enlarged pores. Follow this guideline to get the smooth, clear complexion you want!
- Don’t use bar soap or other skincare products that clog pores. The ingredients that keep bar soap it in its solid form can clog pores. You should also avoid products that are overly emollient (meaning thick or greasy creams)—especially if you have oily skin.
- Only use gentle, water-soluble cleansers and avoid products with drying, harsh ingredients. Surprisingly, these can make oiliness worse.
- Avoid harsh scrubs and cleansing brushes with stiff bristles. You can’t scrub away blackheads and the harshness just makes skin dry and flaky, creating more dead skin that can block pores.
- Never go to bed without washing off your makeup. Neglecting to thoroughly, but gently, remove all your makeup can make clogged pores worse.
- Exfoliate with a completely non-abrasive, leave-on salicylic acid liquid to shed built up surface dead skin that would normally gather in the pore, stretching it out, and risk turning into a blackhead.
- One more point about BHA, because BHA is able to exfoliate inside the pore, it can help return the pore to its normal shape and allow for a more even flow of oil. It really is amazing how well this works.
- Use products loaded with niacinamide. Once a pore has stretched beyond its normal size, niacinamide can help provide a "tightened-up" look by boosting skin’s healthy natural quality. The research about how niacinamide benefits skin is truly impressive.
What Else Helps Enlarged Pores?
For particularly stubborn blackheads, consider the following additional measures to see if they can get you even better results:
- Absorb excess oil with a clay mask can temporarily help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores due to their oil-absorbing properties (as long as they do not contain harsh ingredients). You can also try an oil-absorbing product meant to be worn under makeup.
- If stubborn blackheads won’t go away, consider extraction from a well-trained aesthetician. An aesthetician who knows what they are doing can extract blackheads without damaging your skin. You can also try it yourself with an extracting tool, but follow instructions carefully.
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!